7 Forms of Waste: Transportation

Transportation as a form of Waste in Lean Maintenance and How to plan for it with CMMS

Last week we discussed waiting as a form of waste in lean maintenance. This week, we discuss transportation – what it is in the context of maintenance, why it occurs, and how to reduce and plan for it using CMMS. In this week’s case study, David Riseborough shares a story about a time when a simple repair became 3 days of ‘lost and found’.

What Does Transportation Look Like in Maintenance?

Finding parts in a large facility can be frustrating. “I know we have it somewhere,” is a common phrase used far too many times. In general, transportation is the movement of parts in an industrial process in order to produce a finished product. In maintenance, transportation is the activity required around maintaining a piece of equipment; the ‘product’ in this sense is the good running piece of equipment. The transportation of parts is a combination of technicians travelling back and forth, and the spare parts that are used on a piece of equipment.

Being able to locate a spare part in a breakdown, especially a large and heavy one like a motor, will reduce the time to travel retrieving it. A CMMS on your smart device with stock item locations can save you a lot of time (and a pair of shoes) each year walking the vast distances around a greenhouse facility looking in sheds and outbuildings.


Case Study

David Riseborough, VP of Project Management at ALPS, recalls a time in a greenhouse when a part needed for a repair couldn’t be found anywhere. This ultimately resulted in 3 days of downtime and issues with transportation:

“Most maintenance departments have a storage room, but larger replacement parts (such as motors) are often kept in an offsite facility or warehouse. Usually, a very limited number of people know where the larger replace parts are kept, and they’re never around when it comes time to need those parts. I’ve been in some situations where a part was never found. In this case, the part we needed was relocated to the storage warehouse where it wasn’t discovered until days later (someone had mentioned its location after the fact).

Before we had a CMMS, a misting system motor went down in the greenhouse. We knew we had a spare motor, but we couldn’t find it anywhere. Several people thought they knew where it was; they were walking back and forth throughout the greenhouse, checking outside, and looking in offsite buildings. All weekend, no one could find the motor. Meanwhile, the zone where the misting system was down had zero humidity control.

It wasn’t until Monday that someone came in who knew where it was; turns out, it was in an offsite storage building across town. Finally, we sent someone over in a truck to retrieve the motor and bring it back to the greenhouse so we could perform the repair. So much time was lost searching for this motor that would have just been a 2-hour repair. As it turns out, before we needed the motor it didn’t have a select location to be stored and was always being moved around because it was in an awkward place. At one point, someone put it on a truck and drove it over to the offsite storage location where it just sat until we needed it – this was before we had CMMS so it wasn’t logged anywhere. After we found it, someone needed to go over there with another truck to bring it back over to the greenhouse, where another vehicle was needed to transfer it to the repair site.

If we did have CMMS at this point, it would all be a non-issue. This situation is the sort of thing we can plan and prepare for so that when the time comes, we know exactly where the part is located and we have its transportation coordinated.”

This case highlights a very important element of lean maintenance; so often, there is a domino effect of the wastes. As we’ve seen here, inventory was an issue which then affected motion, ultimately affecting transportation. Imagine the time and effort that could be saved with a lean maintenance program. CMMS makes that possible.

Join us next week as we take a deeper look into the waste of over-processing.