Better Roads

October 2013

Better Roads Digital Magazine

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Page 15 of 82

Focus on the Process Photo courtesy of Pat Ryan Applications & Innovations How equipment improvement process saved company $500,000 in maintenance costs By Virginia Demaree Johnson N early five years ago, The Gorman Group's mechanics spent a third of its time fixing emergency breakdowns. That repair rate, while just a little more than the industry average of 30 percent, cost too much and created too much downtime for crews resurfacing and repairing roads in New England and the Mid-Atlantic. Now, more than four years after embracing a structured improvement plan called Total Process Reliability (TPR), Gorman's emergency repair rate has dropped to 1.6 percent at the halfway point this year, saving money and keeping crews on the job. To date, the company's maintenance expenses are running about $500,000 less this year than last. "We've gone through a huge transformation with accountability, morale and professionalism," says Mark Gorman, who owns the New York-based company with his brother, Tony. "The difference is night and day. We are much more professional with how we handle equipment." The Gorman Group gives much of the credit for its success to TPR, a business approach to improve equipment efficiency 14 and lower costs by changing how a company approaches maintenance and how it manages equipment. The goal is to get everyone in the company involved, standardize processes and collect information that will allow a company to reduce time and money lost on emergency repairs by engaging the organization in asset management. Keeping equipment working at its best becomes a companywide partnership instead of the maintenance department's "problem." TPR builds on the work of Japanese engineer Seiichi Nakajima, who studied American preventive maintenance and developed the philosophy known as Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). TPM puts emphasis on quality and efficiency and is associated with manufacturers such as Honda and Toyota. TPR is the next generation of that process. "Preventive maintenance is like following the manufacturer's recommendations for oil changes and car maintenance, but the detailed tracking of equipment failure allows a company to predict how long a part will last and find out how to extend the life of those components," says Preston Ingalls, president/CEO of TBR Strategies. This Raleigh-based October 2013 Better Roads Gorman_BR1013.indd 14 9/30/13 1:56 PM

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