Shift Turn-Over System

1 - Background
2 - Features of the System
3 - Motivational and Organizational Benefits

Related Matters
4 - Emergency Systems
5 - Standard Operating Systems for Start-Up and Shut-Down

1 - Background.        

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  • The most sensitive issue in operations and production is that of "accountability".

  • In a 24-hour operation, one 8-hour shift takes leave; another one takes over; and yet another, down the line.

  • If it happens that an equipment breaks down during the tour of duty of one shift, it is not inconceivable that this shift would find something to blame blame the other about. This is often unresolved and builds up, especially if the policy of the company is to reward a shift in accordance with the volume of its production.

  • "Baseline". We thought that if a "baseline" is established from one shift to another, many of the accompanying human resource issues would vanish into thin air.

  • Moreover, we thought that positive reenforcing behavior would develop as a result, leading eventually to better motivation and team-play.

2 - Features of the System.        

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The system itself runs as follows

  • Major Equipment - A list of major plant equipment is drawn-up. An equipment is qualified to be on this list if it can cause a plant outage.

  • Range of Parameters - On this list is a column containing the values of parameters within the "normal range".

  • Actual Value of Parameters - Actual values of parameters are written on this column.

  • Comments and Recommendations - This column is filled out by the outgoing Shift Superintendent, concerning the specific parameter.

  • General Comments - Other comments which are general in nature are entered at this location. It could be that the outgoing shift felt minor vibrations whose source they could not pin-point on account of their intermittent nature.

  • Joint Inspection - Both the Outgoing and the Incoming Shift Superintendents, together with at least one assistant each, go to each of the plant equipment on the list, to agree about their respective conditions.

  • Signatures - The Outgoing and the Incoming Shift Superintendents both sign here, if they both agree about the state of the plant. If there is doubt about any item, the group goes back to verify.

  • Accountability - This process becomes a covenant that accountability transfers from the Outgoing Shift Superintendent to the Incoming Shift Superintendent.

  • Records - This Turn-Over Checklist is put on file for future reference.

  • Next Shift - The same process is undertaken at the time of turnover to another Shift Superintendent.

3 - Motivational and Organizational Benefits.        

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  • Cards on the Table - face up - There is nothing more refreshing at my level (at the time) to possess the certainty that if something goes wrong, it is definitely not on account of a culpable oversight. The institutionalized openness and the lack of ambiguity is simply difficult to replace in an organization.

  • Human Resource Issues - The level of trust among the operating crew has developed to contribute to a healthy organizational culture.

  • Friends and Friendly Competition - In many cases, friendships have deepened and evoked a healthy competition between the shifts. The shift that generated the highest amount of energy wins. On another instance, the shift that is able to have the least amount of down-time wins.