How to Fight Complacency

Complacency affects everything from individuals to organizations, society, and even manufacturing locations. The Merriam Webster definition of complacency is: self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies; an instance of usually unaware or uninformed self-satisfaction.

Complacency encourages the absolute minimum effort and makes us less likely to take risks. Complacency can lead individuals and organizations to be average and “settle” for mediocrity. Successful individuals and organizations are not complacent. They strive for continuous improvement.

If complacency exists within your organization it can affect the performance of the facility – safety, quality, cost, delivery, innovation, housekeeping, and morale. For example, equipment failure can result from leaving deterioration unrepaired, non-observance of use conditions, and inadequate basic conditions which negatively impact performance on all levels.

Combatting Complacency

To combat complacency, we must always have a goal and a true purpose that includes others.

“A person is not like a thing that you put down in one place and leave, a person moves, thinks, asks, questions, doubts, investigates, probes, and while it is true that, out of a long habit of resignation, he sooner or later ends up looking as if he has submitted to the objects, don’t go thinking that this apparent submission is necessarily permanent.” ― José Saramago, The Cave

We must encourage and support individuals to utilize these inquisitive skills and actively participate in the performance of the facility.

If we want to prevent complacency, it is important to be on the lookout for behavior cues.

  • Disengaged Associates – Do associates show excitement about responsibilities? Do you have a dirty and unorganized plant environment? Is plant morale and job satisfaction declining?
  • Associates Not Thinking – Are associates asking challenging questions or simply going with the flow? Do associates spend time pointing out problems or identifying solutions?

To change a complacent culture an organization must improve the skills and capabilities of operators and maintenance. Once skills and capabilities are enhanced, the organization must support and encourage operators to maintain basic equipment conditions by conducting cleaning, lubricating, and tightening at required intervals; understanding usage requirements; restoring and preventing deterioration; and improving design weaknesses.

Performance Solutions by Milliken believes the best way to achieve success with equipment and eliminate complacency is through Daily Team Maintenance (DTM). The core of DTM is a group of operators and maintenance working together to improve equipment, associates, and the workplace. Through Daily Team Maintenance the expectation of how we treat equipment is changed creating new goals and standards.

The 7 Step Implementation of Daily Team Maintenance

The implementation of DTM provides associates the ability to understand and engage in the process. Step 0 provides the general education and preparation of the equipment to ensure a safe and efficient process. When the education and preparation is complete the team moves to inspection and restoration – Step 1. The key element during the first stage is cleaning equipment to inspect and detect abnormalities. As defects are defected, they should be flagged to indicate the need for a fix or improvement. Step 2 requires the team to address the solutions to prevent them in the future. Now that you can see and understand the equipment, the team creates operator cleaning, inspection, and lubrication checks to verify conditions are maintained – Step 3. This creates accountability for operator ownership.

Step 4 consists of training operators to detect and correct abnormalities. Evolution of key roles is critical through the DTM process. Operators must evolve from operation to caring for equipment. Promoting operator ownership is critical because operators:

  • Are most familiar with machine operations and the defects created by those machines
  • Must deal first-hand with malfunctions when they occur
  • First to notice when a machine is not running correctly
  • Are always present

Maintenance must transition from breakdown repair to breakdown elimination. As operators transition from operations to care of equipment, maintenance has more time to use their advanced skills to:

  • Troubleshoot major problems
  • Improve equipment by correcting complex design weaknesses before problems occur
  • Engage in education on the latest technologies
  • Increase time spent on activities contractors are currently executing
  • Increase time spent on researching new equipment

Step 5 requires operators and maintenance to apply the new skills they have learned on a day-to-day basis. The 6th step is to confirm and standardize the DTM process created in all work areas throughout the plant with Step 7, the final step, leading the sustainment and continuous improvement of the system.

Daily Team Maintenance creates an environment of continuous improvement for operators and maintenance. This culture provides an expectation of challenging the way we do things today versus how we could do things in the future. As improvements are made the goals will progress and change ensuring complacency does not exist.

Through DTM, operators and maintenance become actively engaged through problem solving creating a sense of accomplishment. This pride of ownership will improve communication, job satisfaction, morale, and equipment results. Associates will gain excitement about “their” equipment and ensure it runs high quality product in a safe and efficient manner.

The environment of continuous improvement that is created through Daily Team Maintenance generates trust and respect with associates appealing to the hierarchy of human needs. By allowing associates to be part of something bigger than themselves, encouraging teamwork to generate respect of others, and engaging associates to generate solutions the stage is set to ensure complacency does not gain a foothold in your organization.

How will you fight complacency? Contact us today for more information about implementing Daily Team Maintenance into your organization. Or, sign up to learn more tips about changing your workforce culture to drive performance from our eBook.

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