How does your team respond to downtime incidents? One plant required operators to fill out a form and drop it off at the maintenance office. Random people would handle these on either a first-come, first-serve basis or on the "what’s-easiest-to-do" basis, depending on which way the wind was blowing.

Critical equipment response times were measured in hours and even days. During the long wait, operators were idle, orders shipped late, and revenue was lost forever. Because there was no coordination, no single tech was ever on any equipment long enough to build depth of experience and expertise with it. A new plant engineer changed the system to address these issues.

On each shift, a designated person took all trouble calls. This enabled other techs to stay focused on their particular repairs, rather hopping from one unfinished repair to the next.

Each production supervisor of critical equipment received a radio, courtesy of the maintenance department. This facilitated immediate contact with a real person for any critical equipment problem. A maintenance tech arrived not days later, but usually within a few minutes.

Each piece of critical equipment had two specific maintenance people designated as its resident experts. These people leaned that equipment thoroughly and reviewed every repair incident. The problem of critical equipment being down for several days while waiting for a factory tech rep disappeared within a couple of months because onsite factory techs were no longer needed.