The Tri Delt Sundial and MacCracken Hall

June 2015

Just Do It Projects Make a Real Impact

The Physical Facilities Department’s involvement with Lean began in 2011 and Just Do It projects have been a large part of this initiative. These projects tend to be quick wins that can often be implemented by a small team or even one person. Below are three examples of Just Do It projects recently completed in the Physical Facilities Department (PFD). 
  • The reverse osmosis system in Pearson Hall is critical to supplying the purified water required for the Biology Department’s ongoing teaching and research experiments. Before improvements were made, reverse osmosis filters required annual cleaning which took three days to complete and required harsh chemicals such as chlorine. The use of these harsh chemicals and the down time associated with the annual cleaning was a concern to those working in the labs year-round. Trades Shop Assistant Manager Phil Bowling was determined to find a more affordable and environmentally friendly way to perform this cleaning. With the assistance of Senior Operations Manager Steve Feck, PFD chose to contract with Evoqua Water Systems to clean Pearson Hall’s reverse osmosis system. Evoqua uses more environmentally friendly cleaning methods which require cleaning only once every two years and only two days of downtime. Total savings? Over $10,000 in a three year period.
  • Another Just Do It Project began when the Building Automation System team noticed an inconsistent process for the installation of filter feeders in the hot water systems. Proper installation of these filters is not only essential to preventing corrosion, but inconsistencies with piping, valves, pressure gauges and filters can also result in increased maintenance, added troubleshooting costs and accelerated corrosion within the heating systems. Engineer Jason Underwood developed a standard process for filter feeder installation that is helping to avoid these problems. With the support of Jesse Horn, Maintenance Planner Scheduler, every filter feeder is now installed in exactly the same manner. This has resulted in reduced maintenance and troubleshooting time. 
  • Finally, did you know that Miami has a geothermal plant that uses the earth’s internal heat as a source of renewable energy? Because water is circulated throughout buildings and the well fields on Western campus and returned to the geothermal plant, this water must be filtered to prevent corrosion and the build-up of microorganisms. System back flushing is required at least every five years and when water quality drops to unacceptable levels. Larry Davidson, Geothermal Systems Operation Manager, is responsible for the plant’s complex operation and he noticed that the maintenance of this system wasted clean water and staff time. To improve the process, PFD needed to spend money to save money. With a $6,000 investment in new equipment and a new process, over $800 is now saved each time the system is flushed. In addition, the new process is more environmental friendly with hundreds of gallons of water saved and the quantity of cleaning agents reduced.
These are just three of the many Just Do It projects that have been completed by PFD since we began tracking Lean projects. To date, 86 Just Do It projects have been completed avoiding almost $700,000 in costs and reducing the budget by an additional $25,000. Much appreciation goes out to Phil, Jason and Larry for submitting these Lean ideas.
This clearly shows how YOU can make a difference everyday here at Miami. We encourage you to submit ideas on how to make your job work more smoothly and efficiently. As you can see from the examples above, small changes can have a huge impact on your work and the University.