Align Your Ultrasound Team
Creating a world-class ultrasound program requires a team, and teams function best when they have balance and a common vision.
There are many things we can accomplish individually. Deciding who will make up the team roster requires thoughtful consideration. With the selection process completed, getting everyone on the same page is the essential first step.
Here are five questions that map out your first ultrasound team-planning meeting. These questions identify your purpose and cultivate unifying debate. Prepare for your first team meeting by distributing the questions to each team member leaving adequate spacing for note taking.
1. What are we setting out to accomplish?
2. What are we attempting to change?
3. Who do we need on our side?
4. What are our primary pain points?
5. How will we measure success?
Let’s start at the beginning.
What Do We Hope to Accomplish?
“World Class” ultrasound programs provide a better understanding about the health of our factory. We are better equipped to predict failures and plan the maintenance solution. Maintenance is planned so it doesn’t interrupt production. That translates to better uptime stats and a stronger bottom line. Now we have everyone’s attention.
Ultrasound offers compelling applications that promote energy cost savings and environmental sustainability. Steam system surveys ensure efficiency from the boiler room to point of use. Compressed air leak surveys help cap the cost of one of the most misused utilities in modern manufacturing.
Question one defines the real reason for embarking on a world-class ultrasound program. It helps to get a greater understanding about the health of your factory while reducing energy waste and improving product quality.
What Are We Attempting to Change?
Seek change when change makes us better. Confront the ways we act, react, and interact with each other. An ultrasound program breeds a culture of awareness that infects everyone involved. The infection spreads beyond the team members and to all levels. I’ve seen it happen. So what are we attempting to change by starting an ultrasound program?
We are trying to change the culture of Reactive Maintenance. When we do things on the spur of the moment as a response to a sudden and unexpected change we are in reactive mode. Reactive culture prevents us from doing meaningful work. If the entire day is spent responding to interruptions, when do you get time to start something new?
When do you get to be creative and take initiative? How can you offer real value to your company if all your creative energy is zapped by reactive requests? How can you go home feeling fulfilled and satisfied by your work?
To eliminate many of the problems that cause reactive interruptions companies turned to Scheduled Maintenance or PMs. PMs can be visual inspections, lubrication tasks, changing or cleaning filters, tightening or re-aligning a belt drive.
They are routinely scheduled based on either a calendar or time in service. The question to ask: “Is a time-based schedule the best solution for the given task?” When the answer is “no”, chances are its condition can be monitored with ultrasound.
Who Do We Need on Our Side?
This question accomplishes two things. It identifies the stakeholders and defines their roles and expectations. Who are the Stakeholders?
Upper management, middle management, front liners, and your ultrasound supplier all have a stake in your success. Successful implementation gives an equal voice to each stakeholder.
Upper Management is normally concerned about how much the program can save. Middle management is a go-between voice for the front liners and upper management. Front liners carry the heavy load and need to know how things work, and the supplier has the wisdom and experience to guide the entire team.
What Are Our Primary Pain Points?
Identifying your early pain points is a good starting place. Create a list of the small day-to-day problems that continually erode productivity and profitability. There are things that bite you hard every hour of every day and cost you more money in the long run. The problem is that most of those problems are now almost invisible to the business. They are just considered the cost of doing business.
Typical examples are:
- Compressed air leaks
- Steam leaks
- Defective steam traps
- Inspection of electrical systems
- Over-lubricated bearings
This list represents five huge daily drains on resources. Targeting each of these will yield almost immediate justification for additional investment in Ultrasound and Condition Monitoring.
How Will We Measure Success?
To give meaning to a measurement requires a benchmark for comparison. What do I need to give meaning to this single static measurement? History. Virtually every ultrasonic application is trendable. Air leaks can be measured in energy consumption. Bearings can be measured in grease used and failed bearings.
What is critically important for your ultrasound program is what you do with the success you generate. All significant wins must be documented.
Go one step further. Captivate your colleagues (and your boss) and infect them with your cultural change by creating posters celebrating your savings. Place the posters in prominent locations (on the wall outside your bosses office or in the cafeteria) where your successful world-class ultrasound program can be celebrated.
Allan Rienstra has over 20 years leading SDT’s experienced team of implementation specialists. SDT creates world-class results oriented ultrasound programs all over the globe.