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Spectacular Savings at Barriere

In 2001, when Barriere Construction, one of the largest highway pavers in the state of Louisiana, decided to reduce its operating costs by improving equipment reliability, they approached Marshall Institute of Raleigh, North Carolina for assistance.

Marshall Institute provided guidance to set up Total Process Reliability (TPR) for the company’s rolling stock (construction equipment). The process involved the use of an information management system, planned maintenance activities, emphasis on preventive maintenance, assessing equipment utilization to eliminate non-essential assets (reducing numbers of equipment), operator and mechanic training, decentralizing asset responsibility, and operator-ownership of equipment through basic care. Total Process Reliability is based on the successful Total Productive Maintenance process, used throughout the world to improve equipment efficiency.

The results have been staggering. By the first quarter of 2003, Barriere estimates the labor savings to be over $1.2 million per year and they have seen a $50,000 per month reduction in parts usage. Mechanical breakdowns have dropped from 25% in 2001 to less than 9% in 2003. Field emergencies, which were 45% in 2001, have dropped to a low of 17% in 2003. Preventive Maintenance (PM) compliance has soared from a low of 30% in 2001 to 90% in 2003.

An examination of three pieces of equipment that underwent the pilot TPR process of Autonomous Maintenance (Basic Care), displayed the results at a micro level. HB-31 Excavator had an improvement of 32% in Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) while SA-25 Asphalt Paver saw a decline in failures of 44%. Concrete Breaker TR-45 saw 58% reduction in failures during the year and a half since the process started. Operating costs per unit have reduced as well, ranging from 35% to 43%.

When asked how TPR had impacted his job, Barriere’s Equipment Superintendent, Ben Tucker, laughed and replied,” It’s great. It is having the cell phone bill go from 4000 minutes per month to only 1500 minutes per month (field calls). It gives me more time to focus on other things…more planning.” Ben went on to say, “I am seeing less stress on the body. Its nice to see the “iron” coming back in good condition.”

Brian Cooney, Chief Financial Officer, said “My focus is the numbers, but the overall impact has been extremely positive in changing the culture.”

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