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Quality Improvement

Jolene Williams

University of Phoenix

Quality Improvement

The equipment department of Washington Group International has a large task of purchasing, maintaining, tracking, transporting and selling of all large company equipment of more than $5,000. While all of these processes are manual intensive and can be improved upon, this paper will address the maintenance process. Included with a "As-Is" flow chart will be a process relationship, customer impact, key items to be monitored, helpful quality management tools, and opportunities for improvement. Finally, proposed improvements, level of improvement, and relevance to UOP simulation will be discussed.


Currently, the maintenance process of Washington Group Internationals equipment department is in a reactive mode and would like to be in a predictive mode. The reactive mode consists of a piece of equipment breaking or having a part wear out and then a series of events being set in motion to get the equipment back operational. In the mean time, a scramble is taking place to get a replacement for the equipment to the job site to keep the job schedule on time. A reactive mode is stressful and costly. Many times the equipment breaks down due to a lack of proper maintenance.

Process Relationship

"Relative to Performance, The Washington Way means a single, consistent and company-wide approach to project execution that achieves operational excellence through cost and schedule control, quality, efficiency, safety, productivity and application of best in class processes and procedures." (Washington Group International, 2006) According to the "Washington Way", the equipment maintenance process does not support the performance section of the strategic plan. By the costly reactive mode of the maintenance process, Washington Group International must find other means to keep costs down and stay on schedule.

Customer Impact

The equipment department of Washington Group International has many customers, both internal and external. The primary internal customers that are impacted by the current process is the jobsites. By moving the maintenance process to a predictive process, the job sites would be able to forecast and plan for things such as routine transmission repairs and engine repairs among other timely and costly routine repairs. By being able to predict the timing of these repairs, the job site can budget for costs, have parts on hand, and replacement equipment on hand to fill in during the repairs.

External customers of the equipment department would be the parts vendors, repair shops, and equipment rentals. Since Washington Group International likes to maintain and work with National Accounts, Washington Group International works with preferred vendors, repair shops, and equipment rentals. With a reactive mode, undue stress is places on these vendors to have a faster turn around time on their products. In the case of parts and repairs, this faster turn around time means a larger bill for Washington Group International.

Key Items

Several items that could be monitored in order to validate the process improvements are the amounts of express shipping due to time pressures, the amount of data being tracked through the maintenance database, and equipment down time decreasing. Due to the reactive nature of the process, the company pays unnecessary express charges on freight in order to get equipment back in working order. Currently, and effort is underway to get jobsites onboard with tracking meter readings of equipment in order to predict maintenance issues. Finally, once at a predictive state, parts will be ordered ahead of time and repairs will be much easier and faster to schedule. This will lead to a decreased down time of equipment.

Quality Management Tool

Failure Modes and Effect Analysis (FMEA) would be a good tool for collecting and presenting data on this process. An FMEA is a process that helps to identify the possible failure modes of a process or product. This determines the effect on related sub-items and on the function of the product or process (Enterprise Solutions Competency Center, 2006).

Improvement Opportunities

An FMEA would show how all the pieces of the process effects the other pieces of the process. The analysis would show how the data tracking of the meter readings would benefit the maintenance process and allow for predictive measures and forecasting. The tracking of the meter readings allows for a predictive maintenance schedule to be produced and followed. Once on a predictive maintenance schedule, equipment is taken care of and remains in operating condition. A maintenance schedule also helps to retain the resale value of equipment. By having a predictive mode and forecasting



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