Equipment failure is a known evil in the manufacturing world. But unplanned downtime carries a significant cost and hurts overall performance. This week Brian sits down with Alek Zelnins, a Maintenance Manager at Gay Lea Foods, to share his tactics and tools to improve performance and prevent equipment failure on the frontline.

In this episode, learn:

  • How to adapt material from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to create training and maintenance programs for new machines
  • The three most common sources of equipment failure
  • How operators are essential to good preventative maintenance (PM) programs 
  • Why employee training is so important for preventative maintenance 
  • How technology will impact the future of machine maintenance (spoiler: people are still essential)

A full transcript along with additional resources are listed below.

apple_podcasts google-podcasts-logo YouTube-Almost-Black-Logo
Spotify Logo Black stitcher-logo-1 PngItem_2302896

Additional Resources

Sign Up For Our Free Frontline Digital Transformation Masterclass


Episode 9: The Voices of Manufacturing

Brian Sallee: Welcome to the voices of manufacturing podcast. I'm your host, Brian Slee. And joining me today is Alex. Alex. sorry, Alek. I got your name mixed up there with Alex. It's funny, cause we were talking about this before we started on how to pronounce your name, but Alek is a maintenance manager for daily foods. Welcome to the podcast, Alek.

Alek Zelnins: Thanks Brian. It's a, an honor to be part of your podcast.

Brian Sallee: I'm doing great. I'm excited today because we're going to talk about a topic maintenance that we haven't hit on yet with our podcast. And I know this is an area for a lot of manufacturers where there's big opportunities for improvement. So let's dig in. We're gonna cover quite a few topics today related to maintenance, but before we get too far into it, I want to understand, how did you get into manufacturing and specifically, how'd you get into maintenance.

Alek Zelnins: My initial thought when I was thinking about the education was to become an engineer and I graduated from university with a mechanical engineering degree. And when I arrived to Canada from Europe Uh, understood that the market wasn't there. So I started as a mechanic. I worked to in different facilities in my career, started at an injection molding facility that makes all kinds of plastic things. Then I got a job at a. Facility that makes laundry detergent and bar soap. And later the opportunity came and I switched to food and stayed with food since then. I found a job at Gay Lea Foods, where I currently work as a Maintenance Manager. And, I like the job because it exposes you to technology, to people. You make sure that you look after the equipment and the people to be able to make safe food for the consumers.

Brian Sallee: Yeah. And that's interesting that you had an engineering background. And got into maintenance. How helpful was that for you, especially early on in your career? When you were working as you mentioned as a mechanic, did you grasp a lot of the fundamentals of maintenance? Really well because you had that engineering background, is that in, is that I guess really necessary for someone looking to get into me?

Alek Zelnins: Yes and no, you can start, being an apprentice and then grew and grow into an electrician or a maintenance mechanic or a controls engineer. But you do need to have a skillset of being in technical fixing things, right? When I was a kid, I was always playing. Things, and it was always interesting for me too. See how they work and try to fix them. And, during the time I probably broke a couple of toys, but a couple of them were fixed and this is grew up into, to the vision, be in an engineer to design things.

Brian Sallee: So you've always had, even as a kid, you've had that kind of tilt towards taking things apart, seeing how they work and trying to repair them. Well, I want to shift in, we're going to dig a little bit deeper into understanding, maintenance programs and why some of the reasons equipment fails and how to prevent those. But before we do let's start at the top, how would you define maintenance? Cause I know for a lot of our listeners and for me personally, I always think of maintenance from more of the preventative aspect, but I know there's so much more to it. So how would you define maintenance?

Alek Zelnins: The goal of maintenance is to raise the company's productivity by lowering the total cost of its equipment. Over every stage from design and fabrication through the operation and maintenance including the initial cost of the equipment itself maintenance and other running costs and losses due to equipment. The the goals of the maintenance that equipment performs its functions whenever required and at minimal cost. And you have to maximize the goals and minimize means of attaining goals, meaning that you have to spend less money to make equipment more.

Brian Sallee: Yeah let's break that down a little bit. Cause I there's something in there that you mentioned, when it comes to even just designing and building the equipment that's going to play a huge role in the lifespan of that equipment and how well it works. And it's going to play a big role in achieving the company's goals of maximizing productivity. Is it common for a lot of manufacturers to work closely with their design engineering firms that they're working with to design, to support.

Alek Zelnins: When you think about new equipment and it probably would come from. The request from R and D that you want to run this product. And it could be a completely new product or a variation of what you already have, but you either need to modify the existing equipment or build something new. Yes, a major role in. In the equipment installation and fabrication and all the design and the project is done by engineering department. But they do use maintenance a lot because especially if it's a variation of the product, something that you already have in place engineers come and install and they don't stay with the equipment. And it all has to be done by maintenance staff.

So the knowledge gained over the years is very valuable for them. And for example, the equipment has been installed and it's making this carton of liquid product. And over the years he found that. The forming and filling of the product has its flaws due to several factors. So this information is very vital for engineers when they design the new equipment. So they always consult with maintenance and the maintenance team is part of the new equipment installation, or even new product launch

Brian Sallee: Got it. So a lot of the feedback, as you're saying is coming from maintenance, feeding back to R and D engineering on that new D new equipment design. This is what we've seen over the years where the equipment is failing. We want to make sure we have a better design, so this doesn't happen. So there's that aspect of collaboration. And then it sounds like there's this other aspect of collaboration where you've got the new equipment designed and built and it's being installed. At that time, how do you pass on the knowledge from, the folks who were building it, the, whatever from you hired and the engineers to the maintenance team, that's going to be responsible for maintaining that equipment?

Alek Zelnins: When the new equipment arrives the. Training is a kind of created in parallel for, to make sure that the operators that will run the equipment and maintenance that will make sure that equipment runs they're getting the training material. And it basically starts from the OEM training whatever the. Original equipment manufacturer recommends and they create manuals. So these manuals could be turned into a soapy for a deeper understanding. And the time, after the installation, the equipment starts and several things could be discovered that. Change the behavior of the equipment so that could be, captured again and SOP could be modified to to improve the training for the upgrades.

Brian Sallee: Yeah. Yeah. So this idea that, maintenance, and that I'm coming from my perspective, which is so much of maintenance in my head is preventative. There's a lot more going on here in this kind of cycle of the feedback, and then the preparing new equipment to be used for a new product launch. That's fascinating. I want to shift into another question here and something you already started to hit on is, what role did the operators play and, other non-maintenance employees. And the manufacturer's maintenance strategy.

Alek Zelnins: great question. Operators are the main, people who run the equipment, they start the equipment, they stop the equipment. They, most of the facilities or majority of the facilities operators are used to do the changeovers. So it's their baby. Maintenance is only to make sure that equipment. Runs, like you mentioned, do preventative maintenance. And if equipment stops, breakdown or whatnot, then maintenance is getting involved. But the majority of the tasks done on the machine are by the operators. They know how to run it. They know where the problems are and the operators are the best resource for maintenance staff to understand what is wrong in case of a breakdown. If operators gives a mechanic, a clear description of the problem it's 50% right there. Mechanic knows already. This vital information and then they'll be able to fix the machine quickly. And if your operator is calling you and he says, oh, the machine just stopped. Then you know, that mechanic will have to ask the operator to restart the machine and see what's happening. So operators are very critical in terms of equipment performance.

Brian Sallee: Yeah. And that collaboration between the maintenance technician and the operator, that seems really critical for them to be able to communicate well together. And, it sounds like the maintenance technician, do they have a standard set of questions that they're usually running through with the operator, understand and try and diagnose where issues might be coming from or the issue might be coming from?

Alek Zelnins: It depends on the team usually. Usually, it's a shift that runs together. The operators and mechanics are the same and they either rotate or stay on the fixed pattern. And when the operator pages maintenance and they will come to the machine, the operator will deliver the best. Knowledge of the problem to the maintenance guy. And if he, if the tandem is is a. Is working well, then the operators will have to say just one sentence. I have a jam, at the flat part. And the mechanic will know exactly what to do.

Brian Sallee: So it's the experience of working together. The more time they've spent together, the easier it is going to be to diagnose some of these issues and really recover from maybe a downtime event.

Alek Zelnins: Yes, that's and if that's right and the, if the operator is knowledgeable and he, or she will have basic set of skills then it will help them to deeper understand the problem and. Provide, 50% of his solution to the mechanic or an electrician to fix that issue.

Brian Sallee: Got it. Again, another question here. When I hear, we work with a lot of manufacturers and oftentimes I always hear about downtime is this common thing that occurs, unplanned downtime, something happens to the equipment, the machinery, whatever it may be. And then you've got, Sometimes multiple hours of downtime and you're not producing product. And, so what role does maintenance play in achieving the company's production goals, especially when you're dealing with, like you're in food manufacturing? It seems like the equipment is key to making sure that you're continuing to produce.

Alek Zelnins: Yeah the breakdowns are the, the biggest problem. That creates an equipment downside. There are two approaches that company can take and they can go into firefighting mode and, don't do any preventative or predictive maintenance or condition-based maintenance or, other types of maintenance that you can do on the equipment. And they just choose to stay on the breakdown. But that's not a very sustainable model because you're gonna have firefighters basically not the mechanics or electrician that are attending your equipment, then your equipment will be breaking often fail. So they're the best strategy is to use plan maintenance predictive maintenance and other. Approaches that will help you to prevent the failure from happening or even predict that, your condition is being changed. The vibration levels on this particular bearing are starting to creep up. You need to do something that's the best approach to, and to deal with the issue.

Brian Sallee: With companies you've worked in, and you don't have to get into specifics about which companies, but have you seen both sides where you come into an organization and they've got a really great maintenance strategy in place already, and they're doing a lot of the preventative maintenance. And then have you joined other companies where there's just no strategy and it is more of the firefighting.

Alek Zelnins: I've seen both. I've seen companies that have a great PM program and all it needs is a bit of a tweaking, right? It's a continuous process to improve. For example, if you have this particular. Program set up to replace the seal on the pump and you need to do it. Your PM program says you need to do it every nine months and you do it every nine months and everything is fine. You have no breakdown so that equipment, you can even look at the extending, 10 months or maybe even more, maybe you're replacing that seal too often, or on the other hand. You will see that the seal will start leaking seven and a half or eight months prior instead of nine. You will need to look at this PM program and. Just the us to let's say seven months and then it's, as I said, it's a continuous process in order to make a perfect PM program everything needs to be reviewed and analyzed.

Brian Sallee: That's really interesting. So there's this idea that once you have a PM program in place, then it's dialing in for each component or each machine, when's the right time to actually do that PM because it might not be what's recommended by the OEM. It could be longer. It could be shorter based on the way you're using the equipment.

Alek Zelnins: As I said earlier, you start with OEM. OEM is going to say replace that seal every. And this is where you going to start. One year passed, you replace that seal and it's fine. Then the second year you replace the seal and you look at the seal and it's in good condition. And you, put the team together and, or maybe send the seal for analysis. And the seal manufacturer will tell you it's in perfect condition. You can get another half a year out of it. So you adjust your program to be instead of a one year, a year and a half, and then you continue monitoring. On the other hand, they recommended you a year and then it failed. Five months after. And you will need to then understand why did it happen? You can have multiple reasons why the breakdown on that seal could have.

Brian Sallee: Let's transition here. I know we're hitting on some high-level topics. I wanted to get into some real specifics here. What are the common reasons equipment fails? And I think you mentioned, there's typically about three common reasons. What are those reasons?

Alek Zelnins: All the equipment deteriorates with time causing its design strength to dissipate. And eventually, it may become unable to, hold the stress placed on that equipment during the operation. And then it fails. So that would be uncorrected deterioration. The number two is and check stress. Equipment sometimes fails, even though it maintains the specific strength and when the forest is, are applied to it our greater that we're, designed by the engineers. And the third reason could be that it's not strong enough. And the equipment may fail under normal stress. And the weakness the weaknesses as a design again. So the original equipment manufacturer inside that this particular seal that we talked about would live for a year, but something else is causing it

Brian Sallee: Yeah. And with the equipment, as you mentioned, one of the top reasons there is it just natural deterioration, it's getting older or the equipment's getting older and it's reaching its end of life span essentially is a really any way to prevent that from happening. And it just seems like it's part of the journey of a piece of equipment. Eventually, it's old and it's going to fail. Is there anything you do to prevent that from happening?

Alek Zelnins: Yeah, like you said, natural deterioration is when it wears normally under normal conditions. And we kinda talked about is already, it's you receive the instructions from OEMs that replace that pillow block bearing every two years then you make this a part of your time-based maintenance. We checked as a rolling calendar of parts replacement or adjustments. Another way to determine the cycle of replacement is to use the data from breakdown analysis. If the part or assembly fails before it reaches end-of-life. Reduce replacement time and edit time-based maintenance for this particular part.

Brian Sallee: Got it. So if something were to fail Prior to its expected lifespan, you're going to do an analysis of why it failed. But what's that analysis look like? Who's typically involved in that analysis.

Alek Zelnins: The team usually is one person from production when for maintenance if the issue, is complicated, then you can involve more people. But it's down to the same people from the floor the person who runs the machine and the person who fixes the machine, they're the best their best source to understand why. Because it's, it could be related to something that the operator did, or it could be related to what a maintenance guy didn't install correctly. Or, the parts that we are receiving are the quality declined of the parts or they started to buy parts made a, like a knockoff. That I've seen that happening all across the industry and that's the people they will sit down with. They will quick. It's not, if you think about it, that would be, a big meeting. No, it's not. It's quick, it's a quick question, answer. Decision-making why, why, why?

And 80% of the time the reasons are clear and what to do with them is clear as well. When the problem became complex, then you need to involve, controls engineers, maybe even OEM you need to contact them and see is the part that you supply. Did you change the quality of the materials? Cause I've seen that happening to, especially now. With all the supply chain issues that the entire world is facing suppliers, they just changed the material. Let's say. Plastic that has been used for this particular part. They decided to replace with something similar without telling us, and then we put this part on and it failed didn't even work 50% of its lifespan. Complexity could go very high and deep, but usually the 80% of the time, it's just people from the floor maybe. Maintenance supervisor or parts guy. Yeah, it's people from the floor who are doing the most of the analysis.

Brian Sallee: Yeah. And do you recommend for most companies to have a, a structured way to assess why a Parkfield is there like a, I'm thinking of a five whys type of analysis, something, some sort of framework that you typically use or see companies using and these analysis that they're doing.

Alek Zelnins: You need to use from, what we discussed earlier, like these three three main reasons, right? Why is it happening? Like you said, the five, why analysis would be the best of the. It is more complex. You can use something like a Chicago diagram or a fish bone diagram that is, known to the general population. You have to determine whether it's natural deterioration, forest deterioration is the lack of knowledge is a design issue. Is it a weak point design and it, or it simply is out of operating conditions and based on your findings, you will either train people. Contact OEM or start conversation with engineering department to look at that assembly how to make it the working reliably.

Brian Sallee: Got it. And I'm really curious just on these frameworks now, when you're doing this analysis, it's, is there different types of failures where you're going to dig deeper? Is there any way to rate the type of failure in any type of system to where at this type of failure, it was catastrophic and caused damaged to the rest of the machine, like one part failed and it caused more damage. And so we're going to dig deeper and do a much deeper analysis. Is there any way to rate it equipment failures,

Alek Zelnins: You have to look at this from the view of equipment criticality is this equipment critical, right? They usually use, the industry kind of standard is, double a equipment, a B, and C the double a B in your critical pieces of equipment. If you lose that critical piece of equipment, Jeopardize the entire plant or a one department or shipping department or receiving department, something that will put a stop to production of the entire facility. If you're talking about the Equipment that is less critical. Let's say you have two or three similar lines and they're not all utilized. You can always transfer the production to the other line and fix this one while the other will be running. It's all the the value of Oh, the problem of, sorry, not the value of the problem. They, the criticality of the equipment will guide you how deep you need to go into this problem and trying to find the root cause.

Brian Sallee: Got it. So you're not even starting with, really what rating, the failure. It was. How critical is this piece of equipment to production? And then from there, we determine how deep we're going to dig into analyzing this problem and trying to figure out why it happens.

Alek Zelnins: We will certainly. I analyze every breakdowns that, put the, or created the major downtime, right? Whether it's critical equipment or not, but you would focus more on the critical equipment.

Sign Up For Our Free Frontline Digital Transformation Masterclass

Brian Sallee: Got it. Okay. I wanna transition now, one of the things you had mentioned, or one of the common reasons for equipment failure was around employee knowledge and really interested in this one because of what we see happening right now in the industry, we've got a lot of folks who are retiring over. We're losing a lot of our, most experienced employees. And at the same time, we have a lot of new people coming into manufacturing that, that don't have any experience. And so what are some of the initiatives that, manufacturers should be focused on to ensure their employees have the knowledge and skills to perform these critical maintenance tasks?

Alek Zelnins: You need to focus first on your team that the team has the knowledge. That doesn't require, third party to come in every other day to, to deal with the issues, right? You need to have a good set of mechanical skills. You need to have a good set of electricians and electrical knowledge the most important part now, because factories are automated. It's no longer. Manual creation, right? It's the machines that create everything. We have just operators that, start the machine load, the material, and the machine does the rest.

So controls engineer is a big one, right? And a lot of companies don't have a control engineers on site. They have, they outsource outsources and then if the problem happens, then they have to wait. Then the company needs to, invest in the younger labor force, like apprenticeship programs, right? So they need to either. Find the people from their floor who are just, general labor from production floor or skilled operators that you know, one or two advance into mechanics or technicians. And there is, a big, a bit of a labor shortage at the moment. So if it is a right time to invest now, In the, and promote the manufacturing jobs because, the way I see it all the kids, they want to be a YouTuber or Instagram

Brian Sallee: that's interesting. So the apprenticeship program is really interesting, is that, do you see that as mostly for inexperienced employees, your brain in the organization, you're gonna put them right into an apprenticeship program, or are you seeing companies that are taking their, maybe some of their production operators who don't have, some of the mechanical and more technical skills and putting them in an apprenticeship program as they're also doing their normal job.

Alek Zelnins: Can analyze what's happening with your talent on the floor, right? And that this particular operator calls, the rate of requests for maintenance department from this particular operator is less than the others. Meaning that this person is mechanically inclined. He understands how the stuff runs, whether he or she had a. Before in similar field where they had to work with things and fix the things, right. so you can focus on these kinds of operators and offer them the apprenticeship program. They still going to be working as an operator start going to college and over the time they will transition into maintenance department. By the time comes, they get the hours, they get the license there they're fully certified. The knowledge is there. They started working as a mechanic or even electrician I've seen during my career. It was happening more and. Now there was a gap I would say. I haven't seen a lot of apprenticeships program in places where I used to work. And I think now it's on the rise in manufacturing.

Companies are realizing that they will not do something now then we will lose these we'll have a big problem. We were talking about, we hear politicians talk about, let's bring manufacturing back to north America and that's , one of the things that needs to be done to be successful.

Brian Sallee: Yeah the apprenticeship programs and basically making sure that people are aware of these career paths is something that we need to do a better job of exposing people who are coming out of high school and secondary schools to these careers. Moving on here though you mentioned, know, team is really important, so making sure you have the right team. The other thing I wanted to hit on is knowledge is also really important, right? And you mentioned the apprenticeship program. How else do you support your employees with, making sure they have the right knowledge or the right information to do the job?

Alek Zelnins: We use outside resources for training. That's always been a good option. You use companies that Provide training for mechanical knowledge, electrical knowledge, controls. How to use these continuous improvement methodologies The local team as well has enough knowledge to become a trainer. For example, you take the most experienced guy and make him a trainer. You can bump up his salary a bit and ask him to develop the training program to share the knowledge that he or she possesses. And I've been doing it at almost all the jobs that I've been, since I started to work as a supervisor and the manager, you use the local talent to create the training, right? And then if you need to, get more into details and specifics, and that particular person doesn't have the knowledge, then you can bring the third party to Polish the training material.

Brian Sallee: That makes a lot of sense. So you're you, one of the things that you do when you come into a company, then as you evaluate, what does the training program look like? And then if it's not there you're leveraging the employees that you already have the experts, you already have to capture some of their knowledge and use the train, the new folks that are coming in.

Alek Zelnins: Yeah. Usually it's, it's a common approach when you hire someone a young or or new you pair them with the most experienced guy, right? Let's say if they would be a shift mates, you'd take the the best guy with with the most of the knowledge and you pair them with what, the person who just arrived to to transfer that knowledge, right? It's the same principles when you talk about deeper training, to and in the same way, you, when you ready to purchase the equipment or even in design stage, you enroll. The same people, they will be helping you to review the OEM training and make corrections in the future. When you know you start the new equipment and something will started to happen where the equipment you can use the same person to, to adjust the training manual for the. For the maintenance and say in a similar manner, you involve operators as well that will become a subject matter expert. It's a concept that is known as a train. The trainer. Yeah.

Brian Sallee: Yeah, absolutely. We'll move it on here. I know. We're I've got a few other questions for you wanted to hit on this one's more of the outlook for maintenance. Where do you see maintenance headed in the next five years? Specifically at manufacturing companies like yours?

Alek Zelnins: I see more technology coming in that's for sure. We already, use a lot of automation that runs the machines and some of the machines have self-diagnostics built-in. If you look at the manufacturing few years ago, everything was on paper. You give a new employee a binder with thousands of pages to go through, it's impossible to search through it. It was a nightmare. Since we have tablets and portable computers and mobile devices it's much faster and easier to learn. Instead of you going through the binder and looking for how to adjust this assembly, you now simply scan the QR code, and it takes you to the page where you see the instructions and it shows you what needs to be done and which not to loosen and rod-end to adjust and things like that. So I see more technology coming in and it will be easier to troubleshoot and resolve the problem. And I believe there'll be fewer problems because technology is involved.

Brian Sallee: Yeah, that's that's a good outlook, more technology getting away from paper. What about, and you mentioned apprenticeship roles is playing a huge role in this, as far as, bringing new people into the industry and kind of building up their skills are there other initiatives you see outside of technology and, obviously apprenticeships and things like that that are going to be critical for manufacturers to, to really have a successful maintenance program.

Alek Zelnins: Like we discussed earlier. Yes. You need to invest in people as well, because you can have the fully automated plan. Do you still need people who will work there who will fix the equipment? So we need people. Yes. It definitely training where people and I guess companies realize now that they need to invest in the training programs and apprenticeship programs to make sure that the the labor is available to run these missions.

Brian Sallee: Yeah. Do you see it as the technology gets more complex, we become more and more automated. The training is going to become more and more critical than because of the repairs, the maintenance, the PR, whatever it is that we're doing is just more complex, requires a different level of knowledge.

Alek Zelnins: The best part now, Look at all the kids and the older generation, we all have phones. We know how to use the phone. We know how to use the tablet. We understand how the internet works. The majority of the knowledge is already there. If you're training is on the tablet, right? You don't need to invest in how to use the tablet. People know already how to use the technology. And they will receive something in their hands that they do otherwise. They will have the same. A mobile device that they use for entertainment, communication purposes. And they will use that to train themselves how to run the equipment, how to fix the equipment. I've seen people on the road when the car broke down, they open YouTube and they look how to replace the tire. Yeah, it sounds odd and it looks odd, but it is the reality people use social media platforms and mobile devices to learn on the go. They don't need, they don't need to. Spend the time learning one particular subject. If the training will be available for them at the moment when they need it.

Brian Sallee: That's really interesting. So it's that, that on-demand, at the moment of need having access to that information, that's gonna be. How we deal with, some of these challenges with getting the right people in the right roles. Even if we can't find the right people, we can equip them with the right tools then is essentially what you're saying.

Alek Zelnins: Yeah, but you need to have basic training, right? You have to have basic electrical training, mechanical training in terms of safety. You can't ask a person to that. They'd never done this before to go and work on the electrical system or do some troubleshooting, when it's live or asking a person that knows. Repair, replace the seal on the pump or a gearbox or a bearing or shaft, they need to know how to use tools and that, I was talking about the mobile devices and training on the mobile devices when you have that base. And you need to go in the. One because pieces of equipment are big, complex and sophisticated, right? You can't learn everything in one shot. And this, you working on the top seal of that particular machine could be once in a while. So you know how to undo the bolt, how to remove a component. But when you need to set this back, This is where you need to have that critical knowledge, right? You have to do it 15 and a half millimeters this way and a half a millimeter. That way you not necessarily need to keep it in your head, but you will have a device that is ready for you to tell you, please move this way, lock the bolt in and you're done, right? Yep.

Brian Sallee: Got it. It's what's you're pointing out here is that there's like a base level of fundamentals. That people have to have in order to do their job. And then from there, then we can equip them with the right tools, like a tablet or something to be able to diagnose an issue or make a simple repair. Alek, this has been great. I wanted to wrap this up with I wanted to hear what's your favorite business quote?

Alek Zelnins: I thought about this and I think the. The best one that comes to my mind is quoted by who is, the father of Toyota production system. He said without standards there can be no improvement, meaning that, the first step is to create standards. Then you start the improvement. If you are operator. And operator beads and not complete a work the same way. It will be nearly impossible to improve their process. And standard work will reduce variation and waste as well will lead to better quality and happier customers.

Brian Sallee: Excellent. Yeah. I love that quote as well. And then one last one last request here, for our audience, if you could leave them with one piece of advice, when it comes to, running their maintenance program or maintenance in general, what would that be?

Alek Zelnins: Invest in your people train them. They're your best resource? Have a robust PM program with analysis of the system, continuous analysis, the continuous improvement is the key. And the big one is now investing in predictive maintenance. Install these sensors that monitor vibration and temperature, and monitor the trend. Analyze it and it will tell you before your equipment will fail. It will give you an early sign. That's another one that I see happening more and more.

Brian Sallee: Excellent. Alek, I really appreciate you coming on the podcast with us today. If people want to reach out to you, I know you're pretty active on LinkedIn. Is that a good place for people to connect? If they have up questions for you to see.

Alek Zelnins: Yes, that's that's the best way to connect with me on LinkedIn. Yes.

Brian Sallee: Excellent. Again, Alex, thank you for your time today, and appreciate you joining us on the podcast.

Alek Zelnins: Thanks for having me, Brian.

Sign Up For Our Free Frontline Digital Transformation Masterclass

Corey Brown

Written by Corey Brown

With a background in technical writing and engineering, Corey leads content and research efforts for Dozuki; providing helpful information and insights for manufacturing industry professionals.