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Pit Crews Aren’t Just for Racing

How GO Team is Changing Preventive Maintenance at PaperWorks

Go Team certification award

For a machine operator, there are few things as frustrating as coming to work ready to produce a quality product and being welcomed by a machine that will not run. Unfortunately, in most manufacturing facilities, this happens all too often and usually results in headaches for both maintenance and operations team members. Schedules are adjusted, parts are expedited, hair is pulled out, and the frantic rush to get the machine back up and running begins. The answer to avoiding these situations can be found in pursuing an organization-wide, cross-functional, reliability journey. While improving asset reliability is not achieved solely through a preventive maintenance program, when executed effectively, it can help avoid a catastrophic machine failure and the headaches that result from it.

PaperWorks has spent the past few years on a focused journey towards improving the effectiveness and efficiency of our preventive maintenance program. The unique methodology used at PaperWorks to execute an asset’s preventive maintenance schedule is called GO Team. The “GO” in GO Team simply stands for “Get Organized” and is a basic description of the intent of the GO Team methodology and certification. The goal of the GO Team methodology is to effectively plan, organize, execute, and evaluate each preventive maintenance event. By doing this, we aim to maximize every minute of the planned downtime, while at the same time promoting the co-ownership of the asset’s health amongst maintenance and operations team members. The process itself is fed through PaperWorks’ computerized maintenance management system, using a combination of routine preventive maintenance schedules, known corrective work orders, and operator-driven requests for process improvement.

The execution of the process can be time-intensive and requires the engagement of a dedicated GO Team leader to guide the team members and the asset through each cycle of the process. Executing a GO Team event also requires a team of people that are committed to improving the health of the asset. That team is essential in ensuring the right tasks are being completed, the right parts and materials needed to complete the work are available, and the time needed to perform each task effectively is understood. All these steps are accounted for during the various planning meetings for the event. Each meeting has a specific purpose in defining what work will be done, who will do the work, and what parts will be required to do the work. A Gantt chart is also used for each event, in order to ensure delivery of results that maintain and improve the asset’s overall health.

The day of the GO Team event is all about the team. The team members gather around the Gantt chart on the morning of the event and the GO Team leader reviews the plan of attack like a quarterback in the huddle. When the team members break the huddle, they clearly understand the role they are playing that day and will have all the tools, parts, supplies, and training necessary to fulfill that role. The event is considered successful if all team members are safe, all tasks have been executed in the time allotted, and the machine is ready to deliver on its intended value until the next scheduled event. The outcome of the event is discussed during a formal after-action review the following day. In the same way a football team analyzes the game film, the team will reflect on the event and audit itself on set criteria that focuses on delivering improvement for the next event, and the process repeats.

When GO Team was first introduced at PaperWorks in 2017, it was reserved for only the most critical assets in each site. Initially, the successes of each site varied greatly, and it was clear that the process lacked consistency across the network. To bring the standardization and sharing of best practices to the process, a certification audit was created and implemented. This annual certification ensures that GO Team events across the company are maintaining a high level of process discipline and execution in the GO Team methodology. Once a machine is certified in the GO Team process, the sites will each celebrate in their own unique ways. The GO Team leader and the team members who participate are presented with a plaque to commemorate their certification. This plaque is often displayed at the asset for all to see and is a visual reminder of how GO Team is used to care for that asset and how it plays a role in the overall PaperWorks reliability journey.

At the start of the GO Team Certification program in 2017, there were only 6 assets executing this methodology to the PaperWorks standard. Currently, there are 16 assets that have achieved their annual certifications in 2021 and many more that are in progress to obtain certification in 2022. The GO Team certified assets have all seen great benefit in having a solid preventive maintenance program and using the GO Team methodology. Through the implementation of this program, we have seen assets that have reduced unplanned downtime, increased run speeds, reduced the work order backlog, and increased overall throughput.

In addition to the gains in performance, the GO Team process carries with it a unique opportunity to develop our team members. The team members that have led our GO Teams are passionate about taking care of our equipment and understand the impact they have on the long-term health of our assets and ultimately the success of our business. These team members are true leaders, leading by example in asset ownership, process discipline, and communication of the reliability vision. The leadership of this process has been a building block for the development of many team members throughout the company. Several GO Team leaders have taken further leadership roles within PaperWorks, becoming team leads, supervisors, and department managers.

GO Team leaders and the team members that execute the GO Team process are essential in preventing those chaotic, frustrating, and often expensive days when the asset will not perform as expected. PaperWorks is excited to continue to see the growth of this process, the improvements to our assets, and most importantly, the development and engagement of our team members that comes from following the GO Team methodology.