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  • 11 March 2010 12:07

ABB Loss Map achieves global gains for industry

Mindjet MindManager tool drives industrial efficiencies

The ABB Group, global leader in power and automation technologies, has developed a Loss Map in New Zealand that is enabling major industrial clients in more than 20 countries to work more efficiently and cost-effectively.

During 2009 the map was designated as mandatory training for all ABB management teams in Europe, and for all sales, site managers, maintenance managers, engineers, planners and supervisors in North America, Australia and New Zealand. Swiss-based ABB’s technologies enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The group operates in around 100 countries and employs 120,000 people.

The ABB Loss Map was created by Barry Kleine, an engineer with ABB Process Automation Service, of Rotorua, New Zealand, who is the group’s Global Reliability Manager. It is based on the Mindjet MindManager tool that provides collaboration and personal productivity solutions which visually connect ideas, information and people to save time, improve business processes and drive innovation.

According to Barry Kleine, the ABB loss–mapping process allows plant management to understand all the factors limiting achievement of their business objectives. It considers personnel factors as well as equipment, and is used across all industries. Sites using the tool soon recognise that the issues they are focusing are not necessarily the most important sources of loss at their site.

He says: “ABB Loss Map has been rolled out in more than 20 countries and at every site has resulted in a better understanding of plant issues by personnel and a refocusing of the site improvement plan to achieve faster gains.”

Use of the map has enabled one of New Zealand’s biggest companies to increase overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) by 22.4 per cent, reduce maintenance costs per unit produced by 35 per cent, and increase employee satisfaction from 66 per cent to 78 per cent.

The Manager who has used the Loss Map process for more than three years says it has given him a better understanding of the cause of losses as well as guidance in building an agreed plan between maintenance and operational teams.

He said that through using this process they identified that some planned process improvement projects had no bottom-line impact, or had a negative impact on overall productivity. By removing these, the company freed a lot of resources. Customising the Loss Map process to the company’s site has management to focus on better priorities.

The ABB Loss Map had its inception nine years ago after Barry Kleine joined ABB and found that operational methods differed across the company. He sought a more logical way of operating.

He says: “I began trying to document all the company’s invaluable knowledge and know-how in a format where it could be taken to client sites for presenting information in a clear and easily understood way. After evaluating a number of alternatives I discovered Mindjet MindManager, which provides the most visually clear and simple way of breaking up a mass of information and presenting it effectively. Using MindManager, I developed the Loss Map, which allows us to work more systematically.”

The Loss Map, used by ABB as a global template for root cause analysis, is comprehensive in size and content with more than 4,000 factors detailed.

Barry says addressing problems as they occur is time-consuming and costly since there a risk that the root causes of problems are not addressed. Plus there is insufficient time to fix problems one by one. He says prevention is the only way to achieve long-term sustainable improvement. ABB investigations show two major contributing factors why customers run out of time and money when implementing pro-active action plans at their plants: not knowing what the real problems are, and having insufficient or incorrect data on a problem.

Loss mapping enables key performance indicators ( KPIs) critical to plant performance and business objectives to be detailed and understood in depth. It allows the KPI (or ‘branch’) of the map with the largest potential improvement to be identified and focused on at an early stage of a loss review. As each branch is opened, a list of factors capable of causing poor performance of the KPI is revealed, and site data will identify which factors are contributing most to losses. When the data is compared to benchmark figures, personnel can focus on those factors that deliver the fastest returns.

Loss mapping also helps to determine plant strategy. If data reveals KPIs such as production rate or quality to be the largest source of loss, the customer’s maintenance and operations department can focus on these.

Employee efficiency also plays a significant part in a plant’s performance, so the Loss Map poses questions like: Are issues of communication slowing down personnel? Are people the contributing factors behind those losses? The answers allow personnel to determine the most cost-effective measures to take.

Barry Kleine says ABB usually looks after a client’s entire maintenance architecture, including equipment, health and safety, stores etc, which can be confusing in light of the scale and complexity. But using MindManager to group information in the Loss Map, increases clarity of thought dramatically – looking at a single branch of the map allows staff to focus on what is most pressing and most relevant.

The Loss Map is also used for collaboration between maintenance (carried out by ABB) and operations performed by the plant’s staff. The map enables everyone to evaluate processes, state their priorities, add, change, or select elements that don’t apply. They reach a consensus and formulate a customised plan. So the map improves understanding of what is happening at a site and compares factors such as equipment losses with personnel losses. The agreed maintenance and operational plan that results achieves better teamwork and improves levels of confidence between disciplines.

As well as providing the foundation for ABB’s Loss Map, MindManager helps Barry Kleine with day-to-day and long term planning. Each new year he agrees work objectives with his manager, and breaks these down in MindManager into sub-daily sections.

“Each day I know exactly what I need to do and sign off, track priorities and processes,” said Barry. “Each year that I’ve done this I have achieved 98 per cent of my performance criteria, and it’s taken less than 15 minutes to show my manager. Once I show him a print of the MindManager map, he can see this at a glance.”

Barry Kleine presents his Loss Map maintenance program to colleagues in 100 countries. Personally he has shown the Loss Map to more than 500 ABB training representatives from more than 20 countries. All agree that the MindManager-based Loss Map makes their life easier. For more information Barry Kleine, ABB Engineering Phone: +64.21.229 3329 Email:

Mindjet distributors in Australia are: Aquion (; Mindsystems (; Lifeboat Distribution (; and PICA Australia ( In New Zealand, MindManager is distributed by MindLogik (

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