As a manufacturer and supplier of high-precision CNC grinding machinery for the automotive industry, Fives Cinetic in West Yorkshire, UK, has a global reputation for leading-edge technologies and systems. Yet when Chris Hall took the position as Maintenance Manager in 2014, he was surprised to discover that those leading-edge systems had not yet made their way to the maintenance department.
“When I started, we used a sort of ad hoc card system for record keeping,” Chris explained. “Because we had only a sporadic paper record, we found ourselves constantly reacting to maintenance requests when something broke down; we didn’t have the tools or information we needed to proactively schedule preventive maintenance. Plus, it was difficult to do any kind of analysis.”
Chris soon realized that Fives Cinetic needed a system to help manage day-to-day breakdown issues as well as day-to-day planned maintenance and inspections. He wanted to be able to schedule his department’s workload and build up an asset history that would allow him to generate the kinds of reports and analyses he needed to manage the department proactively. In short, Chris wanted to bring the kind of leading-edge system Fives Cinetic is known for producing to the company’s maintenance management function.
While his previous positions had given Chris experience with expensive enterprise asset management systems, he knew that he was looking for a different kind of solution. Foremost, he wanted a system that functioned at the site level without the need for IT support to make it work. As Chris put it, in MaintiMizer BlackBox “I found a system that would do what I needed it to do. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, but I also didn’t want to go without the features I needed to develop a more modernized maintenance department.”
Today, Chris and his team use MaintiMizer BlackBox in a number of different ways. First, they’ve developed a preventive maintenance program that has resulted in fewer breakdowns and less unplanned downtime. The PM program also gives advanced warning when machines are to be taken out of service, which has helped smooth capacity issues within the plant. Second, they are able to design and run custom reports that help them manage their KPIs—reports on downtime, backlogs, adherence to maintenance schedules, and the like. Third, BlackBox gives the department’s internal customers the ability to generate and track work requests themselves, saving Chris and his team time and improving transparency.
Although Chris noted that it’s too early to see quantifiable improvements, he’s happy with the changes he’s seen since implementing the BlackBox solution. “The system has helped us grow and modernize as a department. We’re more transparent, and people are more aware of our value. While it’s still a work in progress, I’ve seen quite a marked improvement, and MaintiMizer has played a key part.”