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Using communication, culture and cooperation as tools

Twence produces raw materials and energy from waste and biomass, in a sustainable and efficient way. Thus, the company contributes to the saving of fossil fuels and the reduction of CO2 emissions. The Maintenance Department of over thirty employees ensures that the reliability and availability of the systems is always at its best. In order to achieve this, efficient communication between Production and Maintenance about faults and their solutions is of great importance.

It could be done better

The notification and rectification of faults at Twence's installations was not badly organised, but it could be improved. As a first step in that improvement, all the team leaders in the Maintenance and Production departments took part in a one-day workshop on fault analysis, using the CoThink RATIO approach, at the end of 2011. Then steps were taken to improve the process.

Berto Prinsen is a maintenance engineer at Twence. He explains how the benefit from the process was achieved: "It turned out that a weak link in our process was the communication of faults and their surrounding circumstances. That has been dealt with thoroughly. Now, when the fault is being entered in our SAP system, four basic questions are asked. These questions are derived from the CoThink  RATIO-model. In this way, the Production people can fill in valuable information on the fault and the circumstances around it. And after the fault is resolved, the person who created the message according to the process gets feedback through an email where Maintenance gives information about the actions that have been carried out. Thus the circle is closed."

Complete reports in SAP by asking the right questions

At Twence, SAP is used to manage the installations. It was hard to attach additional information like photos to a fault report. It was also not easy for less trained users to get information from the system, for example with a specific query. Berto Prinsen: "We were looking for a way to get complete notifications by means of specific questions from the system, while allowing attachments to be added as well. This could not be done In the standard SAP environment. Fortunately, we have found the solution by working with our IT partner Ideo. They have built an Internet application on our existing SAP environment, using  the standard SAP tools. That functionality was already in our latest version of SAP and therefore there was no cost for new licenses. CoThink helped by using the RATIO approach to create a structure of questions for 95% of the common faults and Ideo has built that into the app. By using the four basic questions derived from RATIO, amongst other things, it can now be considered whether the problem is clear, whether the cause is known and if, for example, conclusions are not being drawn too quickly. Also, it is now easy to link attachments a message and the reporting system works much better and more easily."

Safeguarding the improvement process

When the web portal was being implemented, it was decided to organize a training course for all fault reporters in collaboration with CoThink. In this, a great deal of attention was paid to the importance of first properly identifying and analyzing a fault. Only then we can think about a solution. A culture of cooperation between Production and Maintenance is very important. The Web portal is a particularly helpful tool in this regard. In this way, the improvement process will be embedded in the working procedures at Twence.
The system has been in use for almost two months now and the quality of fault reports and fault sign-offs is greatly improved. Although it is still too early to see a change in the number of faults, the focused approach of the fault reports has been shown to work well.

Would you like to know more? Call Bert Visser on +31613140970 or e-mail him.

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