7 Forms of Waste: Defects

Defects as a form of waste in greenhouse maintenance and how to manage with CMMS

Over the last several weeks, the ALPS blog has been dedicated to uncovering and analyzing the 7 forms of waste in the context of greenhouse maintenance. The final installment of our 7 forms of waste series, defects, takes an introspective approach to understanding how defects can arise in greenhouse maintenance and how to eliminate this form of waste using a CMMS. This week’s case study, Failure to Launch, illustrates the damage that defects in maintenance can cause on a large scale.

what is the waste of defects in maintenance?

Often work performed incorrectly can result in even larger repairs and cost. Examples of the waste of defects in greenhouse maintenance include missed inspection items, incorrect installation of parts, different processes performed by different operators, wrong diagnosis, and more. The costs associated with defects go beyond a faulty repair – the unseen costs from defects can be found in new parts and materials, rescheduling maintenance, extended downtime, transportation of parts, delivery failures, recalls, and the potential loss of crops.

The waste of defects is arguably one of the easiest wastes to identify, and similarly one of the easiest wastes to eliminate. Utilizing a CMMS to provide in hand work instructions will result in consistently successful solutions regardless of who is doing the work.

Case Study

Brooke Turner, Technical Sales Representative at ALPS, recalls a time he experienced maintenance defects while working as an electrical engineer at a hospital:

“Many large greenhouse facilities have onsite emergency generators that power the critical systems like boilers, chillers, and irrigation when the power goes out from the utility. I can recall a time when I was onsite testing a critical emergency power upgrade in a hospital. Testing power systems in a hospital involves a significant amount of coordination, planning, and maintenance activity before the testing can begin. One week before the test date was scheduled, the contractors responsible for the generators were onsite to perform routine services (such as oil and filter changes, replacing the engine coolant, among other things). The generator service technician from the contractor followed a standard factory checklist and not the specific checklist required by the hospital, which resulted in a small and unrecorded change to the programming of the machine.

Fast forward to the night of the power systems test: all operations were canceled, the critical care ward was emptied, and over 30 hospital administrators were onsite to coordinate the power transfers with their departments. Multiple tests failed, resulting in dangerous amounts of electricity being shifted around the hospital distribution system. The testing had overrun its scheduled time and patients had surgeries canceled, but the hospital could not be left vulnerable to power failures. 20 hours into the testing procedure, a representative from the Generator company was walking step-by-step through the programing of the emergency power generator and noticed that the programming had been changed during the routine service but none of the procedural documentation was completed.  

This defect in the maintenance activities cost a significant amount of time, money, and increased risk to patient safety.  Having the proper steps, procedures, materials, and reports available in a CMMS would have prevented this circumstance by ensuring that all of the work that took place was done to specification and recorded for future reference.”

Brooke’s experience demonstrates how devastating the waste of defects in maintenance can be. As companies work towards implementing a lean philosophy to their maintenance structure (or perhaps their overall structure), it is important to consider where the wastes in your structure are originating from. Once that is determined, utilizing a CMMS is the surest way to reduce and eliminate wastes, and manage a lean maintenance program.

For more resources, visit our APIS website.