Total Productive Management has long been verified for assisting to catapult the production levels, as well as the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) activities of a firm. After attesting to the reliability and efficiency of TPM in other manufacturing companies, Shell embarked on devising strategies which are perceived as having to improve on the success of the Company’s operations. Shell possesses vast experience in the drilling of oil and gas business. After successful drilling of both of these products, Shell sells them to refinery companies located in many parts across the globe (Hongyi, Yam, Wai-Keung 2003, p.225-227).
In the course of inception, the top most management should start by identifying a formidable TPM office within the main buildings which are to be led by reliable departmental manager reporting to the top-most management directly. Given the fact that Shell is controlled through a horizontal form of structure, there should be a substantial number of representatives to cover the entire operations’ activity of the firm. A minimum number of 5 years plan should be formulated to cover the entire implementation process.
It should be noted that the rationale behind the decision to adopt a TPM program was based on the assumption that it could assist to attain high-levels of drilling oil, as well as gases at high quality standards due to the fact that it allowed for efficient utilization of fire-tube-drilling pipes and immediate human labor (Hongyi, Yam, Wai-Keung 2003, p.228). The key function of the TPM office was to foster promotions within the numerous departments in Shell by the way of providing up-to-date training models. This process should lead to effective and efficient trainers, as well as project-supervisors. Furthermore, the TPM project benefited from the services of an external consultant expert dealing with matters pertaining to TPM implementation strategies. It should be noted that the information analyzed in this paper is qualitative enough to allow guidance in companies interested in implementing the similar TPM program in their operations.
The Process of Focused Improvement
TPM showcases are a complete form of interaction among a firm’s functionalities: especially between the operations concerned with production and maintenance activities. These correlations of the two functionalities allow for processes of improved production rate, efficient operations, as well as workers’ safety to be guaranteed. It should be noted that the primary output of any production processes is premeditated products, while the subsequent output is the need created for maintenance purposes. This need for maintenance is considered to be the main input for all maintenance functionalities of the firm at hand (Jostes and Helms 1994, p.18).
Notably, most of the team members assigned with FI functionalities composed of specialized oil and gas engineers who were considered enlightened enough to use their technical know-how in order to provide relevant and reliable solutions to impeding equipment issues. Thus, it is safe to assume that their respective key role was to devise ways of eliminating possible losses in the effort to increase on the efficiency of the oil and gas equipment at hand. On the other hand, the maintenance functionality is translated to the secondary form of input to the production processes, which is later referred to as the firm’s production level (Jostes and Helms 1994, p. 20).
Thus, it is safe to assume that in the process of drilling oil and gas, the fundamental process of production generates products, while the maintenance functionality generates the desired level of production. It should be noted that the Focused Improvement was performed in order to cater for cross-sectional functionalities of the TPM project at hand. The FI team was composed of specialized oil and gas engineers, maintenance staff, as well as competent operators who were assigned with different roles which were useful in minimizing the possible losses.
Autonomous Maintenance (AM)
This refers to maintenance team set-up by the TPM-office. It consisted of competent operators who were expected to conduct day-to-day maintenance of the fire-tubes, as well as the efficiency of the steam-engine generators. Furthermore, the AM team was expected to participate wholly in activities related to processes’ improvements which posed the risks involved with catapulting deterioration situations, making sure that contamination of both oil and gas drilled were not contaminated, as well as ensured that the process of drilling for these products was conducted at an optimal level suitable for maximum production capacity, while maintaining a low-cost profile (Jostes and Helms 1994, p.18-19)
In this case, the process of oil and gas production undertook a round-the-clock system which was divided into three major shifts. It should be noted that the aforesaid shifts were alternative in nature and affected the whole AM team with an exception of the oil and gas engineers who partook the regular shifts. These teams were divided into three, with teams A and B shift-operators being assigned the task of ensuring effective operation of the steam generators, as well as the fire-tubes. Furthermore, TPM project supervisors, as well as project coordinators, were included in the AM team to facilitate the process of production maintenance.
Another crucial feature to note about Autonomous Maintenance exercise is the contribution made by an external oil and gas expert who was involved in each and every step of the process. The expert expounded on the possible occurrence of issues related with such equipment as steam-engine generators, as well as fire-tubes drillers to the shift operators, whose knowledge about the process was limited (Womack and Jones 2003). Moreover, the expert provided fundamental exploitative facets which were necessary for the enlightenment process of the Focused Improvement team as a whole.
It should be noted that the AM and FI processes were somehow interrelated in this project, since they provided formidable grounds which were effective for the process of even communication. Notwithstanding, these two processes were dependent on each other in the course of carrying out TPM. Therefore, both of these teams were allowed to communicate freely using such tools as e-mails, board meetings, as well as daily sessions. Both of the AM and FI teams were expected to channel their observations through project coordinators and their respective supervisors.
5 S (CANDO) Method
It refers to the methodology used by firms to develop, as well as maintain fairly-structured, neat and efficient job place for the immediate work force. This approach is focused on checking on the levels of work quality, equipment and machine operational activities, as well as the efficiency of the immediate processes and procedures deployed in the course of operation. For the case of Shell, implementation of TPM program took the fundamental rationale of SMED, Single Minute Exchange of Die: an approach used in minimizing the length of production line switching time (Williamson 2010). At Shell, the approach was conducted by the experienced project coordinators who observed and recorded the entire procedure of machinery switching. Subsequently, the team reviewed the fundamental material as used in the process, while the new standards for the certain production line were developed. The 5S were then launched to the steamy engine generators. The entire process embraced three phases in which their application was initiated with introduction of precision fire-tubes, which were later pursued by the introduction of primary drawing equipment, as well as drilling units (Sherwin and Jonsson 1995, p.118-19).
With the launching of the program, workers were expected to clean their workplaces, as well as organize them. It should be noted that the fundamental role of 5S is to increase the underlying workers’ knowledge through broadening of their respective skills. Given that fact, they are placed at an upper edge upon which they can execute decisions wisely and with precision. In this case, the Company introduced a parallel program named “innovation of the month”, in which workers were awarded for their creativity aimed at providing relevant and reliable solutions to the organizations’ manner of arrangement. In particular, taking a closer look at the application of the individual components of the 5S approach, in the drilling section of the Company, a winch used in lifting steam engine generators was put-off, the immediate ground at the assembly section which was refurbished, while the collection point underwent fastening procedures with an oil form of covering for ventilation purposes which, in turn, assisted in checking on the health of the oil workers (Sherwin and Jonsson 1995, p.16-19).
Planned Maintenance (PM)
This refers to the level of duties assigned to the maintenance section of the Company at hand, and is usually determined by the very first few days after inception of the TPM program. However, it is expected that the increased immediate need for Planned Maintenance reduces, especially when the operators embark on emulating the subsequent stages of Autonomous Maintenance. The PM team is also tasked with the responsibility of providing relevant training to operators of oil equipment with fundamental maintenance skills and abilities (Sherwin and Jonsson 1995, p.19).
It should be noted that with Shell, the PM exercise involved formulating a maintenance schedule which was later used for comparison purposes. This maintenance schedule was formulated in a manner which allowed for distinction of roles and duties of both the operators, as well as that of the maintenance team. This distinction in roles and responsibilities was further presented to the two teams in the meeting which provided a clear-cut on where the responsibilities of these two teams were to converge. Furthermore, the maintenance schedule was devised in a manner which discouraged possible gaps, as well as other over-lapping activities within the equipment operational activities.
One-Point Lesson Analysis
This approach was taken by the firm’s oil technicians and specialized engineers in order to come up with standardized workplace policies and procedures which, in most cases, assumed the roles of training for oil and gas operators working with the Company. The analysis tool checked on the different methodologies used in communication, as well as documentation of activities. It should be noted that the fundamental role of the OPL analysis tool was to check on the level of interpersonal skills, as well as technological know-how of the oil and gas operators within the Company. The OPL analysis tool used the Mean-Unit- Between- Assist formula to work-out on the level of efficient production process (Sherwin and Jonsson 1995, p.15-17). Thus, the formula for calculating MUBA is provided below,
MUBA= Total number of units produced/ total number of stoppages.
For instance, if in a day the total number of units produced amounted to 500 units and the equipment experienced a stoppage frequency of 4 then MUBA would be analyzed as follows:
MUBA= 500/4= 125 efficiency level
To sum up, it is fair to assume that the TPM program worked fairly well, given the fact that it proved to the existing workforce of its credibility and capacity in the course of production activities. The assumption that the model worked well increased the confidence level of both the specialized engineers, as well as other technicians working with the Company. Moreover, the success of the TPM project was attributed to such facets as immense level of commitment by the top most management team, arrangement of operators, maintenance staff, as well as supervisors into formidable teams, as well as the provision of an effective training model to all workers of the oil and gas Company.