thyssenkrupp Steel Europe
- thyssenkrupp Steel Europe
- Location: Duisburg, Germany
- Approx. 9,5 square kilometres
- Approx. 19,500 employees
- Manufactures high-quality steel products for innovative and demanding applications in various industries
- One of the world’s leading suppliers of carbon steel flat products
The FACTS4WORKERS solution at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe
Context of use
- Cast: about 20 workers
- Repair of HVAC units
- Maintenance of HVAC units
- Operational active across the whole location
- Approx. 3000 HVAC units
- No standardised fault report procedure
- Unit information only exists as offline paper documents
- Unit information are spread across several sources
- In most cases the fault location is not known beforehand
- Depending on the fault location protective equipment is needed and/or special entry and exit procedures must be executed
Room for improvement
- Easier and faster access to context-specific information for workers
- Improvements of maintenance process by providing relevant procedures and guidelines
- Faster decision making and response times
- Better individual and collaborative problem solving
- Increased participation
- Increased worker satisfaction
- Reduced downtime due to machine errors
- Increased participation of workers and thus the possibility of contributing to innovation
- Higher performance
The FACTS4WORKERS solution
@ thyssenkrupp Steel Europe
@ thyssenkrupp Steel Europe
The FACTS4WORKERS solution provides the workers with all relevant information for the fault repair and maintenance processes. Additionally, it encourages the workers to actively share knowledge and improves the teamwork by connecting them.
Field of application
- Repair of HVAC units
- Maintenance of HVAC units
The maintenance list contains all tasks a team has to perform during their shift. Based on their knowledge, their equipment, and their current location they can choose freely which tasks they want to tackle first.
In case of an error all active teams are notified. The workers then have the possibility to review the assignment and decide if they are qualified to resolve the issue. If so, a team accepts the assignment and starts fixing the error.
The unit information represents the heart of the FACTS4WORKERS solution. Using it, the workers can gather all the data they need to perform their daily tasks.
- Unit data: Master data
- Photos: Photos of the unit
- Navigation: Maps that show the location of the unit on the premises and inside a building. Additionally, important points are marked on the maps
- Logbook: Descriptions of former maintenance and repair tasks.
- Tips: Textual hints the workers can record to help their colleagues during future operations
Chat & Video-Chat
The chat and video-chat application enables to interactively exchange information between the workers. If a team gets stuck fixing or maintaining a unit, they have the possibility to get in touch with another team and exchange knowledge, so that the issue can be solved in a team effort.
As most activities are performed in teams of two, the teambuilder allows the team leader to easily form them using drag & drop. Additionally, the tasks can be assigned to the different teams using drag & drop.
TKSE – Information acquisition
At 6 a.m., the morning shift begins. Craft master Harald is already in the tool shop from 5:30 a.m. and starts dispatching the maintenance list and defect reports to the workers at 6 a.m. Harald seldom has the time to prepare all work packing as he wished, because he does not receive all the information he requires. As a result, Kim and Roland sometimes lack crucial pieces of information about the unit of equipment:
1. Has this fault arisen before?
2. Who was the last person to maintain or patch the unit of equipment?
3. Which tool and which protective equipment is necessary?
4. Are there plants that should be handled as a priority?
The workers spend most of their time discussing how to get the needed information instead of talking about priorities and the problem itself. Often Kim and Roland have to take double ways because of missing spare parts or an unexpected situation at the plant. When Karl sees Kim getting frustrated, he says: “It was always like this; get used to it!” Craft master Harald occasionally thinks about a better solution to distribute the work and information, but daily life does not provide the time or material that is required.
6 a.m.: Morning round. Craft master Harald discusses the working packages briefings which he has already prepared and sent to his colleagues’ smart devices. He uses the F4W solution to prepare the working packages, for example by adding the needed context information to the fault messages. Among other things, the briefings include the following information:
1. Required tools and protective equipment
2. Maintenance history
When logging in to the F4W solution with one of the tool shop tablets, Kim sees his personal dashboard. His craft master just uploaded all the relevant work packages for Kim’s shift. Kim downloads the work package briefing, which is essentially a list of places where he and Roland will have to fix specific issues. When the craft master comes by to talk to Kim and Roland, they go through all the problems and think about how to solve them. By setting priorities, Kim and Roland can optimally prepare themselves for the work day. Thanks to the F4W solution, Kim and Roland can see which spare parts are needed or important during their shift and put them inside the transporter.
In conclusion, this less paper-based process gives Kim and Roland enough time to discuss the problems themselves and not how to get the needed information. Kim says: “Now we have the required information at our fingertips.” Roland knows most of the facts, but from time to time he is impressed with what the “modern telephone” knows.
TKSE – Navigation
Kim and Roland just finished their plans for the shift and are on their way to a planned maintenance assignment. The phone rings: Emergency! A defective air conditioner at a production plant has caused a complete standstill. Right now, between 20 and 30 workers are unable to work. Every minute is precious, and the company is losing real money. Besides this time pressure, there is one more challenge: Kim and Roland are not very familiar with the air conditioner and its plant, even though Roland tends to know almost every corner of the TKSE work premises.
Now Kim and Roland have to find the way to the plant and of equal importance the right person for security check-in and detailed information. While Kim tries to find the production site with a work plan, Roland picks up the phone and calls some colleagues. The expert for that specific unit of equipment is not available, because he has the day off. Roland calls different colleagues to find out who knows the right person. Information problems like these are very annoying for Kim, who can do nothing but wait. It takes over 15 minutes before Roland gets the number of a colleague who can help – at first, however, he only reaches his voicemail. Another 15 minutes later, the colleague phones back – he was in a basement room without a connection – and explains the way to the production site and where to find the contact person. It is not so easy to get all the information via telephone, so at the production site Roland calls the colleague again to get information about the last 100 meters to the exact location.
Finally, about 45 minutes later, Kim and Roland can start to repair the air conditioner, but an important spare part is missing. So, they have to drive back all the way to the tool shop.
Kim and Roland just finished their plans for the shift and are on their way in their company team car to a planned maintenance assignment. The mobile phone rings: Emergency! A defective air conditioner at the production plant! Standstill! …
Thanks to the F4W solution, Kim can easily find all the important information about the air conditioner, its location and the contact person for security check-in. Kim tells Roland where to go. Meanwhile Kim takes a look in the air conditioner’s logbook to see where he can find the information about the last maintenance and repair action that was carried out on the air conditioner. He gets a rough overview and advises Roland to stop at the tool shop to take some special fuses, because the last three times these fuses were the cause of the problem. Within 20 minutes, Kim and Roland arrive at the site, get a quick briefing by the contact person and can fix the issue with the fuses they brought with them. All in all, it takes 45 minutes from fault message to resolution – that is the way Kim likes to work. Roland says, “the new map view solution of the plant is really good” and smiles.
TKSE – Cross-team support
It is 1 p.m., and Kim’s and Roland’s shift is almost over, but there is one last issue on their list: An air conditioner at an important production site is not working reliably. Kim puts off the coverage and quickly sees what the situation is: “Roland, that is a case for an electrician.” Roland says: “Well, I will try to get one on the phone, but their shift is also almost over…” A few minutes later, Roland talks to Bert, the electrician. He would like to help them, but he is working on an emergency issue at the company headquarters and cannot assist right now, even if the device requires only a quick look.
So, Kim and Roland leave the plant without having achieved anything and go back to the tool shop.
It is 1 p.m., and Kim’s and Roland’s shift is almost over, but there is one last issue on their list: An air conditioner at an important production site is not working reliably. They need an electrician.
The first electrician whom Roland wants to call, Guenther, is on holiday. But thanks to the newly introduced F4W solution that made the Yellow Pages available on the mobile devices of the maintenance crew, Roland notices that one of Guenther’s colleagues, Bert, who is also an expert in this field, is online. Roland talks to Bert, who tells him he would like to help them but he is working at the headquarters and cannot assist right now on site. Bert has a few minutes time, however, because he is waiting for his trainee to pick some spare parts. So, Roland starts a video call, and shows Bert the problem that Kim discovered. Bert smiles and says: “That’s an issue that we can solve remotely! Kim, please replace the fuse on the left-hand side, disconnect the yellow sensor and restart. That should solve the problem for today; I think the sensor is defective, but it is only an add-on – the air conditioner will run without this sensor; tomorrow I will replace the entire plug connection, so that the problem is solved for good.” Kim follows Bert’s instructions, and it works. They wish each other a good afternoon and stop the video chatting. Kim and Roland clean up and leave the plant with a good feeling of having gotten things done.
TKSE – Unit history
Kim and Roland are on site at a crane. The air conditioner has been broken for an hour. The working temperature is about 60 degrees. Roland tries to get an overview of the situation, but he has to take a break every 15 minutes. After 45 minutes, he has found the problem, and it concerns the compressor. What he does not know is that the same problem occurred last week already.
Kim tries to get an electrician on the phone. A few minutes later, he knows where he can pick up Guenther. He fetches him and drives to the tool shop to pick up the needed spare part, which takes around 30 minutes. After losing a lot of time, they are back at the plant and can start working. Roland is already a bit annoyed and says: “Things are so unnecessarily complicated. I have just called Ralf. He said he knows about the problem already, and if we had asked him in the morning he could have assisted us.” Finally, they solve the problem, but with the uneasy feeling of having lost two or three hours.
In the morning round, when the shift starts, Kim has a look at one issue with a crane. He sees that Ralf was there one week before and consults him about that issue. Ralf is 100% sure that the issue is with the compressor. With that piece of information in mind, Kim asks Roland who is the best available electrician for that kind of issue. Roland is sure that Guenther can assist. He writes him a text message with the F4W solution and asks Guenther whether he would have time to help today.
With this progressive planning, Kim, Roland and Guenther go to the plant together and fix the issue very quickly by changing the compressor and doing some small adjustments. The work in the crane is still not easy with a working temperature of 60 degrees, but thanks to the F4W solution they do not need much time to research: They can just fix the problem.
Roland enters the completed work in the logbook with the F4W solution and sees that the issue is always with the same kind of compressor. He sends another text message to the shift manager with the suggestion to switch to another type of compressor.
Improvement with regard to influencing factors.