Equipment that makes the most money per hour and/or has the tightest delivery schedule usually must be fixed under pressure-cooker conditions. How is your record on this?

If you look in the repair logs, do you see shorter repair times for the same types of repairs as you go from earlier repairs to more recent ones? Why or why not?

Urgency sometimes leads to counterproductive decisions. The palletizer is down, so the first available tech is sent there. However, that tech hasn't done a repair on this equipment before and isn't even familiar with it. After lots of head scratching and research, all of which have been done by somebody else on previous repairs, the tech begins actual troubleshooting.

A much better approach is to develop an equipment-specific repair strategy for your most critical equipment. Don't guess which equipment this is; review the revenue numbers with the operations managers.

For each piece of critical equipment, make a list of the 10 most likely failure modes. In our next issue, we'll discuss what to do with that information.