Archive | 1997


2:30 am
December 2, 1997
Print Friendly

Reinventing The Wheel

A new look at the maintenance work management process

The Wheel - Work Management ProcessThe goal of work management is lowest cost reliability, which has two parts: equipment reliability and human reliability. Equipment reliability is the final result–where the bottom line is improved by increased production output and lower operating and maintenance costs. Human reliability is the set of activities that leads to those results. Success is measured in terms of equipment reliability, but it is human reliability that is actually managed.

The wheel is the story of work management, not maintenance. Many departments work together to create reliability; the maintenance department is just one of them. Production, engineering, materials, and administration departments are all vital members of the work management team. The wheel needs to be reinvented to help the team understand its role in the process and the goal of the process as a whole.

The pain zone
Work management begins with work identification. Suddenly an alarm is raised! Production (or safety or the environment) is threatened and an emergency is declared. The pain zone hurts because it costs money. Production output is lost. Labor and materials that could have been used on other jobs are lost.

The ability to declare an emergency is a big hammer for the production department. The problem with having a big hammer is that everything starts to look like a nail. Emergencies are declared for pet equipment, for spare equipment, or just to make production feel safe. A big red nail on the wheel signifies the pain zone.

In terms of human reliability, the pain zone hurts for two reasons. First, the schedule is interrupted. Second, the production department makes this decision alone. When the production department is forced to decide by itself that work needs to be done, the advantage of joint prioritization is lost Decisions are not made in the best interest of the whole plant.

Joint prioritization
The large crescent on the right side of the wheel illustrates that teamwork must be an underlying theme of the way work is planned, scheduled, and accomplished. It also points out the difference between priorities and prioritization. Priority is an initial code for work urgency, while prioritization is the process of deciding the actual order in which work will be done.

In the work identification step, an initial priority identifies the urgency of the work. The value of the priority code is to separate emergencies from nonemergencies. Though a priority code can help organize work in the backlog, it does not determine the actual order in which nonemergency work will be performed.

Once work passes through the pain zone and into the backlog, the process of joint prioritization begins, and it does not end until the work is accomplished. Prioritization takes into account the impact the job has on output and the availability of labor, materials, and equipment to do the job.

Joint prioritization means that departments make decisions together. Production, maintenance, and engineering departments should meet weekly to decide the order in which jobs will be done. Decisions should be documented in published schedules. Then, schedules should be kept by tagging out equipment on time, completing a design for a scheduled job on time, or starting jobs on time and doing them well so they do not require rework. Joint prioritization goes all the way through the work accomplishment step because the real importance of a particular job is determined by when the job actually gets done.

Productivity zone
Money is made in the productivity zone. Planning and scheduling are the primary sources of productivity in the work management process. They are tightly linked but entirely separate. Planning answers the “what” and “how” about a job; scheduling answers the “who” and “when.” Jointly answering these questions in advance provides a powerful machine for doing exactly the right work in exactly the right way at exactly the right time.

Productivity means that:

  • Jobs are worked according to schedule
  • Crafts and foremen do not have to chase parts or prints
  • Production equipment is tagged out and cleaned for maintenance workers
  • Multiple crafts on a single job are sequenced and coordinated
  • Cranes, scaffolding, and transportation are ready when needed
  • Job steps and permits are part of the work order package.

Productivity is the result of good planning and scheduling. The planning half of the productivity zone anticipates common obstacles to work accomplishment. Key activities include job scoping and assuring parts availability. The scheduling half of the productivity zone smoothly combines prioritized jobs and resources such as crafts, extra shifts, permits, and access to production equipment. Key activities include labor availability forecasting and long-range and daily scheduling.

The best way to define productivity is doing exactly the right work in exactly the right way at exactly the right time:

  • Choosing jobs that have the biggest impact on reliability in the long run will lead to “exactly the right work” being accomplished.
  • Working from a plan and allowing time to do quality work rather than slapping on Band-Aids is the way to do work “exactly the right way.”
  • Matching labor and equipment availability, and scheduling the job just when the equipment condition or performance will be affected, will result in doing work at “exactly the right time.”

Productivity is often associated with the work accomplishment step, where the job is actually done. But the amount of productivity gained in that step is small compared to planning and scheduling. Some time is lost due to late starts, early quits, poor training, or incompetence. But most lost time is due to job obstacles such as missing parts or unavailable production equipment.

Daily schedule compliance Daily schedule compliance, the most important measure in work management, is the percent of actual labor hours devoted to scheduled work. Complying with the daily schedule is the payoff for being good at all the steps on the wheel. If the steps are done well, daily schedule compliance must improve. Plus, if daily schedule compliance improves, then exactly the right work is being done in exactly the right way at exactly the right time, and that generates productivity, reliability, and dollars for the bottom line.

Collect and use data
The black hole is where data goes to die. Craftsmen provide data that will make jobs easier to plan or execute, then never see it again. They write parts lists, readings, or equipment condition notes on the current work order, but do not see them print out on the next work order. Finally they give up and provide perfunctory data or no data at all.

Climbing out of the black hole requires using data to measure performance and analyze root cause, showing the results to crafts and foremen, or making sure relevant history prints out on the next work order. When data is visibly and productively used, crafts will provide it willingly.

Proactivity zone
Going out and finding work instead of waiting for it to find you is proactive. Any technique to identify work early is useful whether it is technical (for example, vibration analysis) or human (work history analysis). This connects the last step on the wheel with the first step and leads to continuous improvement.

Proactive programs such as preventive and predictive maintenance, condition-based maintenance, reliability-centered maintenance, and total productive maintenance help identify work early and perform work just in time. The results of being proactive are:

  • Preventive maintenance frequencies make sense
  • PMs are done on critical equipment, not all equipment
  • Many predictive maintenance techniques are used–especially vibration, lube oil analysis, and thermography
  • Predictive maintenance procedures successfully predict failures just prior to occurrence
  • Critical systems are identified first and critical equipment follows from that
  • Work is done according to actual equipment condition, not because of calendar or run time
  • Operators routinely perform minor maintenance.

The proactivity zone is about avoidance rather than repair. In the proactivity zone, the cycle of emergencies is broken. In its place is a cycle of failure prevention. Proactive maintenance skips the pain zone, starts prioritizing jointly, and taps the power of the productivity zone.

Problem solving
The back half of the wheel is designed to solve problems. Information is discovered in the work accomplishment step, recorded in the documentation step, and used in the analysis and measurement step.

The second crescent is a reminder that the wheel needs the lubrication of problem solving to turn fast and smoothly. It also says that problem solving makes the wheel solid. If problems are not solved, the wheel disintegrates. Each step of the wheel is connected with the next. Each zone is dependent on all the others. The entire work management process must be strong at every step and in every zone to achieve lowest cost reliability.

Work culture
The work management process is surrounded by an organization’s culture. Culture is pervasive and powerful; it influences every action and every decision. It exists whether management actively cultivates it or not.

Culture is people. It is the person making the decision and the people taken into consideration as the decision is made. People make decisions for technical reasons (the process) and for personal reasons (the culture).

Process and culture are equally strong. If they are not aligned, they pull people in different directions. People want to do the right thing, but are confronted with limitations. Do not force them to decide between process and culture–the company will always lose.

  • When process and culture are not aligned, people are:
  • Torn, and they compromise their decisions
  • Impeded, and they have to take the long way around
  • Blocked, and they stop and wait.

Each of these interferes with work management. The static and noise of culture starts to obscure the process picture. Eventually the interference becomes so strong that the process is barely visible. Technical reasons for decisions are lost and decisions are made for personal reasons. That is not good for work management, for management credibility, or for the business as a whole because this same culture affects all the processes in the business.

If the work management process is done well, lower cost reliability can be achieved, but only by aligning process and culture. MT

Michael Stephens is a principal with Reliability Management Group, a maintenance and management consulting firm, 151 W. Burnsville Pkwy., Suite 224, Minneapolis, MN 55337; (612) 882-8122.

Continue Reading →


1:32 am
December 2, 1997
Print Friendly

Condition-Based Maintenance Program Shows Results

Pending deregulation of the electric utility industry presents new challenges for companies. Southern Company, originally a single source provider, saw the trend toward competition and decided to take a proactive stance.

Its goal is to be the most reliable low-cost producer. “The keys to achieving a competitive advantage are reliability and lower capital and operatingmaintenance costs,” says Ed Holland, vice president of generation and transmission for Gulf Power. Randy Jones, senior engineer, explains, “We strive to use the lowest-cost equipment to satisfy demand at all times. All our plants must be as reliable as possible so that we have the flexibility to operate the plants that satisfy demand at the lowest possible cost. We needed the ability to monitor equipment, determine repair needs in advance and then plan maintenance only when needed and preferably when demand for electricity is low.”

Southern Company supplies energy to a 120,000 sq mi service territory spanning most of Georgia and Alabama, southeastern Mississippi, and the panhandle region of Florida. It is the parent firm of five electric utilities–Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power, and Savannah Electric.

Around 1991, Southern Company deployed a task force to look at how it conducted business and to compare the company with the best practices of other utilities and industries. The task force identified predictive maintenance as one of its top four priorities. Several plants quickly embraced the technology as a means to achieve their goals. Based on this positive response and to realize the maximum benefits, the task force sought a unified approach to predictive maintenance. It recommended standards for the company that have resulted in significant savings and benefits for each plant and for the company as a whole.

As a result of the recommendations, Southern Company established a two-year pilot program to apply predictive maintenance best practices, investigate technologies, and develop cost-effective implementation approaches. The group selected the Entek IRD Emonitor for Windows and Motormonitor software as company standards for vibration analysis and motor current signature analysis.

Company-wide monitoring
Today, Southern Company uses the software at 20 sites, 17 of which are connected via a wide area network. Jones adds, “At some sites, we also interface our oil analysis data into the database so that we can analyze all condition-based monitoring information for a piece of equipment on one screen. We get a complete picture of equipment performance, so that we can diagnose negative trends and potential problems.

Individual Plant Results From Condition-Based Maintenance
  • $1 million savings and avoided costs across five-site pilot program
  • Reduced planned outage maintenance hours 54 percent
  • Reduced costs of oil changes by$70,000 in 6 months
  • Saved over $400,000 in maintenance deferrals and avoided failures in first year of condition-based program
  • Vibration analysis saved $4,000 in annual electric charges for one 200 HP service water pump
  • Reduced system costs by using a wide area network implementation
  • Reduced start-up and training costs
  • Improved communication and equipment trouble shooting across plants

The wide area network has also allowed Southern Company to implement its condition-based monitoring program effectively. “We have implemented 20 sites for about the cost of four stand-alone plants,” estimates Jones. ìNot only do we get the benefits of integrating all sites which facilitates communication, but we also reduce our systems costs significantly.

According to Holland, “The general impact of condition-based maintenance is that it makes us more effective at identifying and planning required maintenance.” Jones adds, “In slightly more than one year, potential savings and avoided costs of about $1 million resulted from deferring planned maintenance on healthy machines and from identifying problems in time to schedule repairs and avoid equipment failures.

Eliminating preventive maintenance
Condition-based maintenance has had a significant impact on our philosophy toward preventive maintenance,” says Holland. “In areas where we have implemented condition-based maintenance, we have virtually eliminated the need for time-based maintenance.” Jones continues, “Instead, we collect vibration and motor current signature data, take oil samples, perform infrared scans, record bearing temperatures and other operating parameters, and make a visual inspection. If the equipment is running fine, then we don’t perform any work. If a problem is detected, we plan and schedule the required maintenance. This saves us a lot of money and time, as it allows us to plan required maintenance only as it is needed.”

For example, time-based preventive maintenance has been eliminated for major plant fans. Technicians now rely on vibration, oil, motor current, and temperature analysis techniques to determine which gearboxes and motors to change. In one planned plant outage, this saved 340 man-hours because fans did not have to be individually tested because of condition-based monitoring. Jones states, “That’s a tremendous savings in man-hours and wear and tear on perfectly good bearings compared to our traditional time-based processes.”

Reduced costs, improved reliability
Predictions of a more competitive environment have forced the company to reduce costs and personnel. Condition-based maintenance processes allow the company to run more effectively and to use the work force in other areas of importance. According to Jones, “In one of our plants, staffing levels have been reduced by 30 percent in five years. We are performing the same amount of work, if not more, but we are able to do it with fewer people. These reductions are fairly typical for many of our plants.”

Jones cites a few examples of where condition-based maintenance has paid off:

  • Oil changes reduced. At a single plant, $70,000 has been saved on oil changes in 6 months. All changes are now performed based on the condition of the lubricant and the machine. Oil analysis is performed onsite using a desktop analyzer for quick and accurate results.
  • Rapid return on investment. During its first year of operation, the predictive maintenance team at one plant documented more than $400,000 in maintenance deferrals and failure avoidance. This was slightly more than the salaries and overhead for the predictive maintenance team personnel, as well as the program start-up costs of analyzers, hardware, software, and computers. Future benefits are expected to be even greater.
  • Equipment efficiency improved. Following an upward trend in axial vibration, a service water pump alignment was checked. Laser alignment took less than 1.5 hours. Vibration was reduced, equipment operation was improved, and electrical requirements of the motor were reduced, resulting in annual station electrical savings of $4,000.

Improved communication
Jones says, “While each plant has implemented its predictive maintenance program in the way that works best for it, the cooperation between plants allows our predictive maintenance processes to be successful in a way that we don’t think would have been possible otherwise. We have seen benefits through the efficient use and sharing of company resources to reduce costs and increase effectiveness. The idea is if one part of our company knows something that will make us more effective, then every part should know.

“Since we can easily share information between locations, it is very simple to set up a new machine if there is a similar machine at another plant. We have also found it useful for two or more people at different company locations to be able to work together in solving a difficult problem. With the network installation, technicians from various plants can look at the same data as they discuss possible causes and solutions over the telephone.”

In addition, information sharing has resulted in the acceleration of implementations, as well as formal standards based on what is working well at other locations. Another benefit of unified efforts is effective training. “Since most locations are using common software, hardware, and processes, we have enough interest to host in-house training courses on many predictive maintenance subjects,” notes Jones. “We tailor the classes to our issues and topics and also save money on travel and expenses.”

The predictive maintenance efforts at Southern Company are benefiting from the cooperative efforts across the entire company. By approaching predictive maintenance and other areas as one company with common goals, Southern Company is realizing benefits that would have been much harder and more expensive to achieve through individual efforts. MT

Information supplied by Entek IRD, Milford, OH (513) 576-6151.

Continue Reading →


12:11 am
December 2, 1997
Print Friendly

My New Favorite Questions

bob_baldwinWhen companies shift their focus from maintenance and repair to reliability and maintainability (R&M), interesting things happen. Maintenance costs go down and equipment availability goes up. The need for capital and spare parts inventory decreases while production capacity and quality increase.

But most companies realize only a small portion of the potential return because they are applying R&M much too late, after the equipment is installed. By that time, 95 percent of the life cycle cost has been determined. R & M must begin, at the beginning, in the conceptual phase, before the equipment is built.

Members of one group are taking a proactive stance and are determined to drive the R & M process upstream into the equipment design process. It is the Maintenance Excellence Roundtable, a small group of maintenance professionals from Allied Signal, Alumax of South Carolina, Baxter Healthcare, Dofasco, DuPont, Eastman Kodak, Exxon Chemical, Ford, Novartis Crop Protection, Sunoco, U.S. Postal Service, and this magazine. The group meets annually at a member’s plant to discuss maintenance issues. This year’s meeting was hosted in November by Sunoco at its Sarnia, Ont., refinery.

A full afternoon of the group’s two-day conference program was devoted to reliability in design. Four members made presentations on their initiatives in this area, followed by an open discussion on the subject.

I thought one of the most helpful nuggets of R&M wisdom was voiced during the discussion by Hal Raffa of Ford’s corporate office for manufacturing equipment reliability and maintainability (and a major contributor to Reliability and Maintainability Guideline for Manufacturing Machinery and Equipment published by the Society of Automotive Engineers).

Raffa indicated that much can be learned about a potential supplier by simply asking its representatives to explain their reliability and maintainability process, and then following up with questions about the resulting improvements to the equipment.

When you ask this question, you may not get the answers you deserve, but you will be sending a message to the vendor that your company would rather produce product than maintain equipment.

I know I have some new questions for the next press conference I attend. I can hardly wait. MT

Thanks for stopping by,


Continue Reading →


12:08 am
December 2, 1997
Print Friendly

Breakthrough Strategy for Changing Behaviors

“You mean we’re going to have to work on the equipment before it breaks down?” That’s what one experienced mechanic asked after he heard about his company’s new proactive approach to maintenance. His statement points to the crux of one of the biggest challenges we face when moving from a reactive maintenance work culture to one that emphasizes equipment and process reliability. In many cases we are challenging the maintenance mindsets of the people at all levels in the organization. So, how do you go about changing the work culture?

The core concept that works for maintenance and manufacturing in North America is to focus on results, and change the culture along the way. One book that has served as a guide is The Breakthrough Strategy (Robert Shaffer; Harper Business, 1988). It is not a new book, nor one that addresses maintenance and reliability, but the approaches Mr. Shaffer describes are continually validated in many other writings and by other researchers and authors. Here are the key points of the Breakthrough Strategy as applied to maintenance and manufacturing improvement:

  • Top management must orchestrate the change and lead the way. It must establish the context and the challenge by setting increasingly tougher demands to meet the needs of the business and the needs of the people. The new directions should be tested through strategic projects. Make sure technology supports the desired improvements, and avoid becoming a slave of technology. Orchestrate the total movement process. Don’t just make pronouncements, then back away. Get involved, listen, and pay attention.
  • Identify “zest factors” to help accelerate the new ideas. Is there a true sense of urgency? A challenge to meet? Is there an opportunity for a clear and near success? Can the change be exciting, novel, like a game? Don’t expect people to get engaged with an idea just because top management espouses it. Determine what will truly engage others in the improvement process.
  • Go for results. Immediate successes are essential if people are to increase their confidence and expand their vision of what is possible. Nothing speaks louder than actions and results. Look for opportunities to make equipment run better, last longer, and require less tinkering and tending, and ways to make people’s work easier.
  • Form a steering group to leads improvements by focusing on a common goal in a collaborative manner. In union plants be sure to use a joint/management steering group of formal and informal leaders.
  • Design a breakthrough project or pilot activity. Develop a plan to achieve results quickly. Don’t forget these key points: Urgent and compelling goals; short-term first step sub-goals (quick, sustainable hits); measurable bottom line results; ready, willing, and able people; achievable target using available resources and authority; and breakthrough project leaders with accountability.
  • Honestly support the breakthrough project or pilot activity. Incorporate individual accountability, clear-cut decision making, written work plans and progress reviews, structured involvement, demonstration and testing of innovative approaches, and frequent reinforcement and rewards.
  • Form a breakthrough project team. People who have the skills and knowledge to work together “outside the box” are likely to exceed your expectations. But, be sure to define the parameters they must work within. Select people who can become teachers, coaches, or role models of the new way. Then, get out of their way.
  • Put the breakthrough project plan into motion. Avoid getting stuck in the plan-to-plan loop and never quite getting around to action.
  • Expand key learnings from the breakthrough project to related areas and institutionalize the new ideas. Showcase the results and the new behaviors. Indisputable proof goes a long way to changing behaviors.

In the past 7 years a number of total productive maintenance/manufacturing (TPM) culture changes have knowingly, and unknowingly, followed these steps to achieve significant results and change the way the organization thinks about maintenance and reliability. It is rewarding to see what can happen when the talents of the entire organization are tapped by in the breakthrough strategy. Changing the work culture means changing the individual and collective behaviors of people. Go for results in ways that will change behaviors along the way. MT


Continue Reading →


8:16 pm
December 1, 1997
Print Friendly

Check Work Management Functions When Selecting a CMMS

Work request, work order management, and work planning and scheduling functions are key checkpoints for selecting and installing a computerized maintenance management system.

The basic reason for purchasing a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is to control maintenance costs through effective planning and scheduling and through identifying problem areas for reliability studies. No system will be effective unless a process is developed for planning and scheduling maintenance work. Once established, this process must be followed consistently if significant results are to be expected.

When selecting a CMMS, considerable attention must be devoted to assuring that the software functions can support the desired work planning and scheduling process. The maintenance process and the software must be compatible. The following principles form the foundation of a successful model:

The reliability of process equipment is shared equally by production and maintenance functions.

Production is the owner and operator of the process equipment.

Production is responsible for making equipment available for maintenance, including the availability to complete identified preventive/predictive maintenance work requirements.

Maintenance is the maintainer of the process equipment.

Maintenance is responsible for planning, scheduling and executing requested work by its requested completion date.

The originator has the responsibility to set initial work request priorities

Planning and scheduling
The following definitions of tasks and responsibilities should be understood by all parties.

Maintenance is responsible for planning, scheduling, and executing all viable maintenance work requests within their required completion dates. This work will include all predictive and preventive maintenance tasks and corrective work approved by production, maintenance, and engineering.

Planning is the identification of needed resources and the order in which the resources are required to complete a requested job in the shortest time at the least cost. Once planned, work orders are placed into the ready work order backlog.

If the work orders, as planned, cannot be completed by their due dates, it is the responsibility of planning to notify the originator.

Scheduling is the assignment of numerous planned jobs into a defined period of time to optimize the use of the resources. In scheduling, available man hours of maintenance personnel are allotted first to identified preventive and predictive maintenance work. The remaining hours in each craft are maintenance hours which can be scheduled against the current backlog.

Maintenance is responsible for notifying production on a regular basis of the current backlog and maintenance hours that are required for scheduled work.

Production is responsible for assisting maintenance in scheduling by identifying when the work can be performed and making the equipment available.

Maintenance is responsible for executing the scheduled work by its completion date. If emergency work requests force displacement of scheduled work, it is the responsibility of production to identify which of its scheduled work will be displaced.

Work request and work flow
A written work request should be used for all maintenance work, whether it is emergency or planned, to identify the work to be performed, list safety requirements, provide planning and scheduling information for the work order system, and provide system information and documentation. The documentation should identify the person who performed the work, the duration of the work, worker comments and repair methods, and production’s acceptance of work performed.

The CMMS should contain appropriate functions to handle work requests effectively.

Work order planning
Planning is defined as “developing a plan or scheme.” In the maintenance job planning process, one must ask what, who, and how, as identified by the following steps:

1. What work is to be done to complete the job?

2. How will the work be performed?

3. Who will perform the work?

4. What resources are needed?

5. How long will it take?

The CMMS must support the planning process. The following questions should be asked during the CMMS selection process:

Do you have a job plan worksheet which matches the CMMS for work order planning? An example is illustrated in the section “Job Planning Worksheet.”

Can spare parts be reserved in the inventory system for work order planning?

Can spare parts be looked up from job plan records?

Can purchase requisitions be generated or logged to a job plan?

Does the CMMS have provisions for benchmark job planning? This process stores comparative job plans in a library to be recalled, modified, and attached to specific work orders.

Work order scheduling
Scheduling is defined as “to place on a schedule.” In the scheduling process, one must ask what and when, as expressed in the following questions:

1. What work is to be done to maintain the plant?

2. What is the priority of the work?

3. When is the equipment available?

4. When are the resources available?

What CMMS functions are available to handle the weekly and daily planning and scheduling flow? These will depend somewhat on the size and scope of your organization, number of production areas, distribution of crafts, and number of craft foremen, planners, and staff.

The CMMS should be able to produce the following reports:

Backlog reports by production areas, reporting work order type, days past due, status and/or schedule date

Routines that create preventive maintenance work orders and job plans

Backlog by craft reports

Manpower availability reports.

No matter which CMMS is chosen, it will not be effective unless it complements a well established flow of information among the maintenance staff and between departments. Communications flow issues must be considered, such as notifying production in advance of work to be performed on its equipment, and making sure production has the equipment available for scheduled work.

This communication may require weekly or daily planning and scheduling meetings or it could be informal.

Before implementing a CMMS, you should decide on your communication path and which reports you will use to handle weekly and daily scheduling flow.

A plant commitment to work order planning and scheduling must be enforced. Without a doubt, the single most important ingredient to effective maintenance planning and scheduling is adherence to flow procedures. This includes everyone from plant management to the mechanic performing the work. If these procedures are not established and agreed upon, then you can expect, at best, difficulties, and at worst, failures.

A future article will discuss factors related to building preventive maintenance procedures for a CMMS and implementing the system. MT

Ronald Hemming is president and managing partner and Daniel Davis is a senior maintenance management consultant of Maintenance Technologies International, LLC, a plant maintenance management consulting and engineering firm in Milford, CT, with affiliated offices in Niagara Falls, NY, and Mexico City, Mexico. Hemming may be contacted at (203) 877-3217; Davis at (716) 284-4705.

Continue Reading →


12:03 am
November 8, 1997
Print Friendly

Seven Ps Of PM

bob_baldwinOver the years I have collected scraps of information from articles, technical papers, conference sessions, and conversations in the maintenance community. On occasion those bits seem to form patterns such as the Seven Ps of PM.

Panic Maintenance: Maintenance performed to repair a failure; often called reactive maintenance after the panic subsides.

Preventive Maintenance: Maintenance performed according to a schedule designed to prevent failure.

Productive Maintenance: The Japanese version of preventive maintenance which includes life cycle cost management issues.

Predictive Maintenance: Mostly condition assessment with a potential for data-driven prognostication.

Planned Maintenance: A method for increasing maintenance efficiency and effectiveness by coordinating information, tools, and materials for maintenance work.

Proactive Maintenance: A comprehensive maintenance process in which work orders originate with maintenance rather than operations.

Professional Maintenance: Maintenance that integrates the PMs and other technologies and techniques into an effective and economical process for managing equipment assets.

Successful maintenance organizations do well with all the PMs. They also exhibit characteristics exemplified by seven pillars of maintenance excellence.

Paradigms: Constantly revise the model or paradigm of maintenance excellence to reflect value systems important to the enterprise and develop appropriate systems for measuring it.

People: Provide people with training and information to allow them to do their jobs more effectively and reward proactive performance.

Practices: Search out and employ best practices for managing machinery reliability and maintainability, information, and people.

Passion: Demonstrate enthusiastic belief in the maintenance mission and use principles of effective leadership.

Persuasion: Effectively communicate to all departments the positive relationship between reliability and maintainability objectives and enterprise objectives.

Perspective: View maintenance as a value-adding profit-center rather than a cost center or an end in itself.

Processes: View maintenance operations as a process, especially one that can be analyzed and continuously improved using the Deming (Shewhart) quality cycle of Plan, Do, Check, Act.

Thanks for stopping by,


Continue Reading →


3:59 am
November 2, 1997
Print Friendly

Assessing Maintenance Performance

Experience of large multiplant company serves as model for developing a benchmarking process and turning the findings into a strategy for improving maintenance and reliability practices.

A growing number of industrial plants are expending considerable effort reviewing their relative competence in maintaining reliable equipment at a competitive cost.

Some are using the traditional approach of consultant-provided surveys or audits; some use a benchmarking approach to help quantify capabilities and compare with other plant data; others are quite comfortable to use their own cost and equipment availability measurements.

DuPont, driven by a global maintenance expenditure of $1.5 billion, has been involved in benchmarking and other forms of assessment since 1986. The concept of “Best Practices” surfaced at DuPont in the late 1980s as it distilled the beliefs and activities of numerous world class benchmarking partners.

Rohm and Haas has similarly been involved with benchmarking partners for the past 3 years, and has used the results to develop its own view of world class practices with a two-tiered assessment process.

The first tier provides an initial assessment that is more subjective, but provides an in-depth look at a site’s practices. The process is team-based and develops a consensus of priority issues that the team can use to drive strategic planning. The second tier process is more quantitative, scoring the site against a more rigorous excellence model.

The observations that follow reflect the benchmarking experience of the authors.

Linking assessments and strategies
When teams are involved in the assessment process, they typically invest a lot of energy and emotion in the critical investigation of their maintenance practices. One way plants have successfully harnessed this energy has been to involve the same team (or parts of it) in developing a future strategy for the plant.

The assessment processes will deliver an enhanced (and often quantified) view of the maintenance practices most in need of improvement. This understanding, combined with the fresh energy of the team, provides an excellent launch environment for developing the strategic plan. Perhaps the most important issue in commissioning a strategic planning team is setting a clear objective and an aggressive timetable. The best strategies are usually the ones developed most promptly after completion of the assessment. If development drags on for 6 months or more, strategies are often superficial and half-hearted.

The strategic planning effort is intimidating because the task list and the resources required are substantial. It takes most team members time to understand that the strategic plan is a long-term process, usually covering 2 to 3 years, sometimes more.

Even if the resources were readily available, many aspects of an improvement plan will involve shifting the plant’s culture and will take several years, regardless of available resources.

Experience suggests that the longer the current culture has been in place, the longer the time required to shift the culture. Some plants never make the shift.

The strategic plan must begin with a clear statement of objectives reflecting the key business benefits of having a strategy.

The objectives should clearly describe a vision of the improved maintenance activity and the impact it will have on the enterprise. Performance measures are a necessary tool for tracking the plan’s progress and its evolving benefits. While some of the measures may be those used in the benchmarking or assessment, the strategic plan measures serve a much different purpose–tracking local improvement progress. They are usually fewer and more focused measures than those used in benchmarking to compare the plant to other sites.

Strategic plan measures are accompanied by goal levels representing the improvements being sought by the plan.

Essential parts of a strategic plan
A well-developed strategy needs more than just action steps. While action items in the plan represent activities that ultimately will change or improve maintenance, they are not sufficient by themselves.

To be successful, the strategy must be fully supported by management. It can obtain that support only by demonstrating a tangible benefit to the business. In most cases, the business contribution is related to equipment reliability, equipment maintenance costs, or both.

A complete maintenance strategic plan should include the following elements:

  • A clearly stated objective for the plan
  • An executive summary that briefly describes the scope of the plan and the benefits
  • A listing of the assumptions related to the plan
  • A calculated stake or payback from the strategy
  • A summary of any risks associated with the plan
  • The task items (action steps) representing the actual change effort
  • An assessment of the resources necessary to carry out the task items
  • Estimates of elapsed-time requirements for each task
  • Charts and diagrams as appropriate to track progress
  • A selected set of tracking performance measures for the plan.

Executing the strategy
Perhaps the most difficult part of the improvement process is carrying out the strategy. There will be continuous competition for the time and resources necessary to execute the plan.

The long-term commitment from site management will be acquired through a compelling and persuasive business case presented as part of the plan. Sustaining the commitment will require regular progress reporting, clearly showing performance measures that support the strengthening capabilities.

Successful strategies have clearly defined tasks with clearly defined accountabilities. Nothing has proved quite so effective as the following sequence:

  1. Encouragement from management
  2. Expectations set by management (goals)
  3. Clearly stated task descriptions
  4. Single-point accountability for task completion
  5. Periodic progress reporting.

The Rohm and Haas experience
In the early 1990s, Rohm and Haas began to question its deployment of capital for the creation and modification of its manufacturing assets. The company developed its “50/50” initiative for capital deployment aimed at reducing capital by 50 percent and time expenditures by 50 percent.

This stretch goal put pressure on the company to evaluate its construction plans and asset utilization. Instead of only building new facilities, a new focus on the hidden (underutilized) plant began.

This new focus, originally called Maintenance Excellence, assigned the lead role of asset availability to maintenance. It also wanted to change the traditional view of maintenance as firemen called out to fix things and who then returned to the firehouse.

After benchmarking for maintenance best practices in several industries, the focus quickly changed. The company’s maintenance excellence initiative became a reliability improvement initiative. Benchmarking quickly showed the importance of maintenance, operations, and engineering working together to uncover the hidden plant at each site.

The Reliability Initiative started in 1994 focused on deploying the best practices developed from benchmarking. The company’s manufacturing leaders agreed to endorse this initiative.

The reliability policy and two critical business measures, asset utilization (AU) and the ratio of maintenance cost to replacement asset value, were established. The policy was dedicated to improving the reliability of the company’s process plants as a critical part of an integrated strategy to improve business results.

Best Practice Manual
Information gained from the 1994 benchmarking effort became the basis for the company’s Maintenance and Reliability Best Practice Manual, called the Blue Book because of the color of its cover. The book contained seven sections: Leadership, Planned Maintenance, Reliability, Human Resource Development, Maintenance Material Management, Contractor Administration, and Effective Information Management. Each section contained the associated best practices followed by key elements (tactics and implementation).

Blue Book practices were aimed at moving a site from reactive maintenance to proactive maintenance. The book was widely distributed prior to the rollout of the improvement program which involved site-specific strategic plans developed through an assessment process done by the corporate maintenance group.

Modifying the assessment process
The word “assessment” strikes fear into most people, especially when it is being conducted by corporate staff. This barrier to being assessed was overcome through some modifications prior to the first assessment.

The assessment was designed to be qualitative. The concepts of reliability were new to most sites. If the assessment was quantitative (including scoring), the concepts would not be understood because the participants would worry only about the score and its meaning.

In most cases, the site treated the assessment as a way to showcase its progress in maintenance practices. This qualitative assessment involved tours, data reviews, interviews, and the discussion of business objectives in order to develop findings (current practices that are best practices) and opportunities (gaps between current practices and best practices).

The assessment was performed only at company sites to which the corporate group was invited. The corporate group directing the assessments used members of the company’s maintenance community as assessors.

Most assessors were known to the various sites; however, site residents were permitted to assess only sites other than their own.

The process was directed by a steering team that demonstrated management support of the process and tied it to business goals and objectives. The steering team typically was composed of the corporate maintenance manager, business manufacturing manager, and the plant manager. Two cross-functional teams were used to perform the actual assessment.

The four-member visiting assessor team was schooled in the Best Practice Manual. Sets of questions were developed to aid the process to determine a site’s progress. The early assessments included an outside consultant as a team member to explain reliability concepts that were not understood by the participants. In addition, the consultant could probe when the visiting team began to sympathize with the home team.

Setting the agenda
One member of the visiting team acted as the facilitator and prepared the agenda and the data requirements with the home team 4 to 6 weeks prior to the assessment. The agenda is outlined in the section “Rohm and Haas Agenda for Reliability Assessment.” The remainder of the team was made up of maintenance managers from other company sites, preferably from previously assessed plants. This involvement provided a learning opportunity for all participants.

The function of the home team was to provide the required data for the four-day assessment. The data presentation format is outlined in the section “Information Book for Reliability Assessment.” The team also accepted ownership for the findings and opportunities and presented them to others at the site on the last day of the assessment. This ownership required the creation and implementation of a strategic plan for the site.

The home team was composed of four site representatives, typically the maintenance manager, mechanical foreman, production manager, mechanic, and/or operator. Every attempt was made to match the cross-functional needs of reliability with team composition.

Early assessments did not include plant management, but as pressure increased to improve business results, later assessments included area managers.

Assessment process
The assessment begins with a kick-off and site orientation meeting followed by a tour of the facilities. Other activities include data review and interviews with operators and mechanics. The visiting team has a prepared list of questions such as those outlined in the section “Typical Assessment Questions.”

On the second day, mechanics and operators are followed through their work assignments and various practices are reviewed in detail.

On the third day, the teams develop the findings (current practices which are best practices) and opportunities (practices which could be improved to become best practices).

This is the most difficult day for both teams. At this point, the home team has figured out that the visiting team’s mission was not to praise all their efforts. The visiting team endeavors to provide helpful input designed to sell reliability to the home team. This input is the basis for the opportunities that the home team puts into its presentation.

At the end of the third day, the assessment typically generates more than 30 recommendations covering the 11 chapters in the Blue Book. The recommendations are prioritized to facilitate implementation after the visiting team leaves. The AU measure is used for the prioritization. The visiting team identifies which opportunities provide the greatest impact on the site’s AU This typically includes a “bad actor” equipment analysis. If such data is not available, the visiting team utilizes some rules of thumb to assist the home team to prioritize the recommendations.

On the fourth day, the home team presents the findings and opportunities to all the participants, including the steering team. The home team is then directed to prepare a strategic plan (if one does not exist for the site) incorporating the assessment’s results. This plan will be used by the site and business management for implementation. It also provides a baseline for a yearly follow-up assessment.

Sample assessments and strategies
Results from a typical assessment for the category of planning and scheduling follow:

  • Findings (current practices that are best practices)
    • Planner/scheduler in place, and scheduled for formal training
    • Only area assessed that is using CMMS scheduling module
    • Good teamwork between team managers and planner/scheduler
  • Opportunities (gaps between current practices and best practices)
    • Unit is losing significant wrench time due to lack of good planning and scheduling practices by all area personnel
    • Area needs to define a planning protocol and work flow process
    • Agree and adhere to defined work priority system
    • Better coordination with production for ensuring equipment readiness for maintenance intervention, e.g. use the permit request
    • Planner should develop pick list for all anticipated part requirements
    • Mechanics must be given a completed work order which includes a job plan.

Selected strategies from a recent assessment include the following points for an objective to reduce break-in work to less than 10 percent:

  • Strategy 1: Review of measures at area manager level
    • Amount of break-in work, percent
    • Amount of preventive and predictive maintenance work (by day, by schedule), percent of total work
    • Amount of overtime spent on preventive maintenance, percent of total work
    • Amount of call-back for uncompleted items, percent of total work
    • Amount of repeat repairs, percent of total work.
  • Strategy 2: Efficient deployment of permits by day and off-shifts.
  • Strategy 3: Reduction in the number of jobs given to contractors for maintenance work.
  • Tasks for strategy implementation:
    • Develop critical equipment list
    • Area manager sponsors a planning team
    • Area manager lays out expectation to do planned work
    • Form a planning team
    • Develop a planning meeting
    • All work requests come from planning team
    • Establish a permit procedure for planned work
    • Develop, steal, or write repair procedures for critical equipment.

Next steps
The corporate maintenance group completed over 30 reliability assessments in 1996 covering North American and European plants. A similar target is set for 1997. The company’s businesses are utilizing the asset utilization and the ratio of maintenance cost to replacement asset value metrics to guide decision-making on capital deployment. Resources have been deployed to two sites to assist them in becoming company models in reliability. The company has identified “pockets of achievement” in reliability in various facilities. Business results are showing improvement in the two metrics established for this initiative.

The corporate maintenance group reviewed its Best Practice Manual in 1996. A new edition was issued in 1997 (called the Red Book), reflecting the learnings from assessments and advances in the reliability methodology and practices. The Red Book is more specific with practices and was expanded to include chapters on Reliability Centered Design, Measurements, and Assessments. The reliability network within the company is expanding and a training course for first line leaders is being implemented.

This initiative started from a desire to improve the company’s financial performance. It will continue to be driven by the needs of the businesses. MT

Edwin K. Jones, PE, was part of a corporate team that helped E. I. DuPont Co. refine its maintenance practices. He retired from DuPont in 1993 and formed Edwin K. Jones, PE, Inc., 28 Quartz Mill Rd., Newark, DE 19711; (302) 234-3438.

David Rosenthal, PE, is a consulting engineer for Rohm and Haas Co., Bristol, PA; (215) 781-4024. He is responsible for the deployment of reliability best practices throughout the company’s North American facilities.
Continue Reading →


12:06 am
November 2, 1997
Print Friendly

Maintenance – Is There A Silver Bullet Solution?

At a recent maintenance and reliability conference, participants in one session were treated to a commercial sales pitch advocating a specific process as the end-all solution for maintenance. If this wasn’t bad enough at a conference supposedly cleansed of all supplier influences, the advocacy was constructed on arguable examples of shortcomings in condition directed or predictive maintenance (PdM).

The presentation asserted that PdM is applicable to only about 20 percent of total potential failures and is cost effective for less than 10 percent. From the questions that followed, it was clear that the assertion, use of unsupported statistics, and specific examples created a great deal of confusion. One individual in the audience stated that his company’s survey of oil refineries disclosed that most used PdM extensively and were satisfied with the results.

Is there any single “silver bullet” solution to maintenance? Should we even expect a single concept or process to be equally effective for a wide range of industrial facilities ranging from mines to oil refineries, paper mills to food processors, manufacturers to electric power generating stations–each with different types of equipment and maintenance requirements?

Is the concept of “one size fits all” equally applicable to a progressive facility seeking to fine tune a world class maintenance process as well as a facility that functions solely on reactive maintenance where fire fighting skills are valued more than fire prevention? What are the plans and expectations of companies that have already achieved “best in class” and are now refining their maintenance process to extend their lead?

Survey after survey demonstrates that progressive, experienced maintenance professionals are moving toward more PdM. When the condition of plant equipment can be measured accurately and cost effectively, regressing to visual inspections is a misuse of time and resources, not to mention hazardous to equipment. To suggest that visual inspection is a more effective means to gauge gear condition and wear than PdM technologies, primarily lubricating oil analysis, is ridiculous.

In this case, one could argue that perhaps the PdM tests aren’t being conducted properly or at the correct intervals, but not that they are less sensitive to wear detection or less cost effective than a visual inspection. There is too much well-documented experience favoring PdM.

The assertion that condition measurements are applicable to only about 20 percent of total potential failures and cost effective for less than 10 percent may be correct for a specific industry or if numbers alone are considered. However, experience suggests a different conclusion for most facilities, particularly those with a large concentration of expensive rotating equipment when condition measurements’ ability to avoid failures is assessed on the basis of probability, cost, and consequences. All failures are not created equal; some are more likely than others, and some cost substantially more than others.

With that said, PdM is not the solution to every problem. In some cases predictive measurements are too expensive when evaluated against the frequency, cost, and consequences of failure. One facility changes belts on roof-mounted ventilating equipment all at once on a regular time schedule. Why? Because it is more cost effective. For the same reason, a manufacturer overhauls riveting machines based on the number of rivets installed. In other cases, proven, cost effective technology does not yet exist to identify probable failures – turbine blade failures are one example.

For the real answer to the question of a maintenance “silver bullet,” look inside one of your master mechanic’s toolboxes. You will find a broad assortment of tools. The knowledge of when and exactly how to apply each to gain greatest results distinguishes a master craftsman.

I suggest that the illustration extends to a maintenance program. Your best program will be the combination of practices and technology that yields the greatest results for your specific equipment and location on the road to optimized maintenance. Reliability centered maintenance (RCM), total productive maintenance (TPM), and planned and predictive maintenance (PM and PdM) are tools. There is no single “silver bullet” solution to every maintenance challenge. Knowledge of what to use and when will distinguish you as the master craftsman (or woman) of a successful maintenance program. MT
Continue Reading →