Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Machine Breakdowns

The automotive manufacturing environment is not for the faint of heart. However, with demand vaulting beyond pre-2009 levels, extensive retooling for new product lines, and significant plant expansions in North America, all signs point to a North American automotive industry that is poised for another year of record production. This is wonderful news for those who’ve managed to survive the years that nearly toppled three of the world’s largest auto makers, but the fickleness of markets has left many suppliers unprepared to catch the current wave.

Tier 1 suppliers are continually asked to do more, faster, better with an ever-shrinking slice of the pie as economic recovery has not necessarily meant profit recovery for many in the industry. In fact, the downturn of 2008 gave major manufacturers every incentive to push costs down the supply chain and keep them there for good. Operating in an ultra-lean environment—as many automotive suppliers have in the past 5-7 years— is sustainable at moderate levels of production. Machines are operating below max capacity, generating less overall wear and tear. There is adequate time for Production to coordinate with Maintenance; therefore, planned downtime is available for Maintenance Technicians to perform PMs and PDMs even in the midst of an undermanned Maintenance Department. Under these circumstances, machine breakdowns are often forgiving of high MTTR and undisciplined follow-through. As many participants of the industry have come to the realization, however, the same practices that kept your equipment operational at 75% capacity are not guaranteed to withstand the strain of 100% (or more than 100% in many cases).



Achieving high levels of production— levels that put your equipment and your people to the test— is when a spark can truly start a spectral fire that sends a whole supply chain into a tailspin. We at K & K have seen such troubles first-hand on numerous occasions: suboptimal machines are operating above maximum capacity to meet customer demand, planned downtime has evaporated into thin air with production running on all shifts, and an expensive game of roulette is played with each completed part. Eventually the spark ignites, an undermanned and unprepared Maintenance Department is thrust into firefighting mode, and from that point forward it becomes increasingly difficult to implement best practices and break the vicious cycle of machine breakdowns. However, we at K & K Technical Group can help you break this cycle with our proven systems and techniques, or we can help you avoid it altogether. We will review your current systems, training, and tools; and provide industry tested, comprehensive solutions to help get your organization healthy and on the right track. K & K’s standard process can be outlined as follows:

  • Understand the Client’s Desired Outcomes
  • Perform Initial Assessment
  • Make Recommendation for Immediate Improvement (additional technical resources, improved resource planning, machine modification, etc.)
  • Provide Resources to Implement Immediate Solutions
  • Conduct Ongoing Assessment of Resources
  • Make Recommendation for Long-Term Improvement (associate training, visual systems, management systems, etc.)
  • Provide Resources to Implement Long-Term Solutions
  • Achieve Initial Desired Outcomes and KPI’s
  • Handover Ownership of Deliverables to the Client
  • Make Ongoing Resources Available


Thank you for reading. If you would like more information or are interested in partnering with K & K Technical Group to develop a unique solution for your company, please contact us at or visit our solutions page.


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