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Management Side
Week of 29 April 2024: Wash, rinse, repeat

Email Jim at jim.thompson@ipulpmedia.com

This is exactly the same column I delivered up to you for the last week in March. At that time, I was talking about housekeeping and how it relates to maintenance. Housekeeping is strongly tied into safety, too. Read it again, please.

This is the column I promised you last week. Your reaction will be either scoffing at it or believing it--there will be no middle of the road reactions. If you decide to believe, contact me and I will help you, at no charge, to get started.

Maintenance starts with cleanliness. You don't have to study how to troubleshoot drives, how to ensure there are no mechanical vibrations or any other important maintenance specific skill. You must start with cleaning the place up so you can see what you have.

Your housekeeping must be a daily devotion and your first devotion. You do your job as you understand it and as you are directed in between doing housekeeping. Housekeeping is first and your job breaks into your single-minded approach to housekeeping.

Eventually, what I am going to describe here extends fence-to-fence and covers every surface in your facilities--basement, operating floors, roof, grounds, etc.

How you start is in the space you personally occupy. It may be an office, a cubicle or the corner of an operating control room or maintenance shop. It is key to start with your identified space for you cannot expect anyone else to follow you if you are not at a high standard yourself.

Concerning your space, the first thing you ask yourself is this: What do I need in this space in order to function at my job today (not tomorrow, not next week)? This applies to your entire volume of space. The floor, the walls, the ceiling. Examine what might be stuffed above the ceiling tiles. Pull all the drawers out of your desk, go through every single one. Take a flashlight and look inside your desk where the drawers were and see what might have spilled over the back of the drawers. The best thing to do ultimately is to pitch your desk, get a table with no drawers, and pitch any side chairs. Meetings belong in meeting rooms, not your office.

Pictures of hobbies, families, etc.? I recommend one diminutive picture of a personal nature.

There may be things you have in your office now that belong to others. Take them to their rightful owner, they are responsible for them, not you.

There is the matter of baseboards. I am serious--I have seen people who get with the program rip the baseboards out of their office because they are not necessary to function at their job. Drapes and blinds have met the same fate. I have seen one person rip the wallpaper off their office walls for it was not necessary to function at their job.

When you think you are done, "flashlight" the walls for nails, screws and other items. By "flashlight" the walls, I mean shine a flashlight parallel to the walls so that any protrusions cast a shadow so you can see and remove them.

Then, when you think you are really done, invite a colleague to thoroughly go over your office with a flashlight and a coffee cup. This will take a couple of hours to do properly. When done, there should be no more than a coffee cup full of deleterious material if your office meets the standard.

Now you are ready to move on to the rest of the facility, at least the part under your control.

If you are a department manager or the mill manager, you start with maps or drawings of the areas which you control. You gather your subordinates, and you assign everyone an area to clean up. This is key--you do not leave one square inch unassigned. Every surface, every volume, has an owner all the way out to the property line (which may extend beyond your fences). And don't forget hallways, meeting rooms, restrooms, breakrooms, shower rooms, and guard shacks (some of the nastiest areas in facilities). And again, don't forget any cabinets or shelving in these areas. Nothing is exempt.

Once again, everyone starts with the space where they work--office, cubicle, corner of a control room, etc. Then they expand out to the rest of the area for which they have control.

Around your paper machines--nothing is on the floor that is not going to be used to make paper in the next 24 hours. The operating paper machine floor is not the place to store bags of starch, drums of lubricants, ropes, doctor blades, etc. All these things have owners, and the owners are to keep them in their own organized spaces. When they are needed, the operators go to the owners and fetch what they need and only what they need. Operators do not keep their own stashes because the rightful owners are negligent--address that problem with the rightful owners.

By the way, in the machine, housekeeping includes inside the hoods, floor cross beams (currently draped with broke, just waiting to catch on fire), etc. No space, vertical or horizontal, is exempt from housekeeping.

What's the cleanliness standard for an operating floor, basement or mezzanine? After flashlighting, there should be no more than a five-gallon bucket of deleterious material.

In most mills, it will take six months to a year to meet this housekeeping standard. This is with diligence (for every meeting held in every department, after opening with comments about safety, participants report on what they have thrown away that day) every day from now on. I don't care what department they are in--housekeeping is everyone's responsibility, just like safety.

This will cost you nothing to implement--it is impossible to see on the P & L. However, you will notice that you start having more uptime and less unplanned maintenance. Why? Because you can now see what is important. And that you can see this on the P & L in a positive way.

Then there are electronic files. Sigh. This is a bigger job than all the physical space you possess when it comes to cleaning them up. We'll save electronic files for another day.

Again, if you want to get with the program, contact me and I will help you get started.

By the way, I cover this to some extent in the book, "The Osage Mill" available on Amazon.

Be safe and we will talk next week.

________

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