Archive | February, 1999


12:58 am
February 2, 1999
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The Last Stupid Customer


Bob Baldwin, Editor

I just returned from a trip on the Internet to research some topics for this and future issues. As usual, I came back both delighted and frustrated: Delighted by some of my finds and frustrated by roadblocks put up by well-meaning webmasters.

Here are a couple of business finds. As a starter, you can’t beat It has all the best news and business links arranged compactly by categories on one page. It can also be personalized to include some special categories to which you can add your favorite sites, which I hope includes ours:

My Web browser is now set to automatically bring up the ceoexpress page when it opens. One of the sites linked to that page is, which provides some valuable help for using search engines to track down information.

One of my maintenance finds was MotorMaster+, the electric motor management software and database developed by the Washington State University Energy Program for the U.S. Department of Energy.

The software, which can be operated from the Motor Challenge site, or downloaded, allows the user to peruse a 17,500 record database of electric motors in various sizes and configurations from a variety of manufacturers. Data includes efficiency and other parameters including retail price.

When I saw the field for motor price, I was reminded of how the Internet is changing the way people buy things. It has certainly revolutionized automobile purchasing. I can remember the feeling of power I had a decade or so ago when I walked into the dealership armed with “secret” dealer invoice information from our company’s friendly leasing agent. Today, that power is available freely on the Web at a number of sites. Just check auto links in the “tools, travel, and fun” section at the bottom of the ceoexpress page to get started.

I am also reminded of a quip by a marketing and sales strategist at an automobile company: “Online car-buyers are a savvy bunch and are privy to information never before available to them. In a very short period of time, the last stupid customer is going to walk through our dealership doors.” Although we are not there yet with electric motors and most other goods for industry, we are headed in the right direction. And what else should we expect to see someday on the Internet? Check out the thoughts of Blaine Pardoe, our newest Viewpoint columnist. MT


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12:55 am
February 2, 1999
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The Impact of the Internet on Maintenance Departments

“So, should I be on the Internet?” This is becoming a more common question to those of us involved with consulting on maintenance operations. People tend to look at us as if we have crystal balls and can predict the future, when in reality we are only now starting to see the impact of this technology on maintenance organizations. Given the technology, the trends, and the direction of CMMS and other software, there are a few areas where the Internet may start to have some impact on how work is done.

The Internet, to most people, is a combination of a graffiti-painted wall and the Yellow Pages. There’s a lot of talk about the Internet and how it’s going to change our lives, but as maintenance professionals, everyone is curious about what that really means. And, while consultants are often vague about those answers, I’m going to lay it on the line.

From a realistic standpoint, here’s where the impact of the Internet is going to be on maintenance operations in the next few years. My pundits and peers will most likely take shots at this list, but I’ve tried to stay away from “pie in the sky” thoughts and keep this realistic. I’ve listed them in order of their immediate impact on maintenance departments .

Ordering of parts and materials
This exists already with a number of vendors having on-line ordering capability. The days of the shelf of catalogs and long minutes on the phone to order a part are disappearing. Already with some of the maintenance vendors that are out there you can check the availability of stock, shipping times, etc. You can even track shipments with various freight companies to ensure that the motor is on the way and when it will arrive. The biggest hurdle is interfacing your purchasing department with the vendors so that approvals can happen quickly.

Availability of manuals and maintenance procedures
Some equipment manufacturers are already starting to put their manuals online as well as the recommended maintenance procedures, and the trend is likely to increase. These are much easier to deal with than attempting to update them by hand in a binder that is also used to prop up the coffeepot.

E-mail and discussion forums with peers
Most people are shocked that e-mail would appear so far down on this list, but in terms of actual changes in a maintenance worker’s or manager’s everyday life, contact with peers in the outside world is limited. Where it will start is for getting technical support from a vendor. Soon, services like will start hosting forums for maintenance managers so that they can share tips, techniques, etc., with each other.

Online diagnosis, troubleshooting
Vendors web sites often have an e-mail address for getting help with their equipment that you have installed. What is coming for our industry sometime in the near future is that you are going to be able to plug in your symptoms when the equipment is broken and get a list of procedures online for fixing it. Chances are you will be able to get access to an engineer to walk you through it as you go. These services are going to cost money, but they will be faster than waiting for “Repairguy Bob” to show up and most likely they will be much less expensive.

Web-based CMMS
Given the cost of database systems, servers, and the people needed to support them, it’s really just a matter of time before your work orders will have a Web interface. You will most likely not even have to store your own data on-site, and they will be accessible from any PC that has a Web browser. While to some this is a step back to the earlier era of centralized systems, in reality, it’s a global solution that is just around the corner.

So what does all of this mean to maintenance professionals? One: there are major training implications for this influx of technology. It’s one thing to know that the information is out there, it’s another teaching Dave from the fourth-shift HVAC crew how to use a mouse to double-click. Two: managers are going to have to change how they get to the information and distribute it to the workers. MT

Blaine Pardoe is a principle in Enterprise Management Systems and a highly regarded expert in the field of technology learning, CMMS implementation, and the maintenance industry. He is the author of the best-selling book, Cubicle Warfare, and numerous novels and is a frequent contributor to Maintenance Technology. Continue Reading →


12:53 am
February 2, 1999
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Applying Wear Particle Analysis to Rotating Machinery

Used oil analysis determines the condition of the lubricant; ferrography determines the condition of the machine.

You have a sound preventive maintenance program in place. You have even added some predictive maintenance elements to it, but you are still getting unplanned catastrophic failures. Adding ferrography to the mix can give adequate warning of possible failures so repairs can be planned.

Ferrography is a microscopic examination process developed in 1971. Initially, it looked only at ferrous wear particles in lubricating oils. Advances in technology now allow ferrographers to classify wear particles from many substances, both magnetic and nonmagnetic. The process is not limited to ferrous metal or oils-greases also can be analyzed.

Don’t confuse a used oil analysis program with ferrography. Used oil analysis determines the condition of the lubricant; ferrography determines the condition of the machine.

The spectrographic component of oil analysis provides an incomplete profile of the wear metal in the system. Because laboratory instruments can sense only particles smaller than 8 microns and the onset of abnormal wear initially is revealed by an increased concentration of particles greater than 8 microns, the ability of spectrographic oil analysis to provide useful information on your machines is limited.

A comprehensive lubricant analysis program will contain elements of both techniques. It is important to know the condition of the lubricant and its ability to perform as designed, as well as the presence of contaminants and wear particles.

Conducting wear particle analysis
Typically on a monthly basis, lubricant samples are taken from a machine and sent to a laboratory specializing in ferrography and lubricant analysis. Used oil tests, such as viscosity, and spectrographic and chemical analyses are conducted. Additionally, in the first phase of ferrography, wear particle concentrations are routinely monitored and compared to detect wear trends. This establishes a baseline for the earliest possible detection of abnormal wear onset. The second phase begins when the onset of abnormal wear is detected.

Trained analysts with a thorough knowledge of the equipment being monitored and the metallurgy of its components analyze the deposited particles through a microscope up to 1000X. Detailed microscopic analysis identifies the wear mechanisms that are causing the particle generation, identifies the probable source of the particles, and determines which components are experiencing the wear. Fig. 1 illustrates normal machine wear when viewed at 500X. The strings of particles in the image are made up of many flat platelets of less than 15 microns that are lined up on the magnetic lines of flux as the microscope slide is prepared. Fig. 2 illustrates larger laminar platelets viewed at 1000X that indicate rolling contact failure of a bearing. Through heat treatment and chemical reactions on the slide, the actual metallurgy of the particles can be determined.

Recently, a large chemical plant was able to avoid a catastrophic failure and save $100,000 by effectively using a combination of used oil analysis tests and ferrography. The machine, a General Electric turbogenerator, had been operating normally. A lubricant condition report, based on chemical and spectrographic analysis, showed normal degradation; continued use of the lubricant was recommended. However, an equipment condition report rated the machine condition CRITICAL. This evaluation was based on an increasing wear particle concentration and the presence of lead/tin babbitt particles ranging up to 90 microns (see Fig. 3). It was recommended that the machine’s bearings be inspected at the earliest opportunity.

Examination of orbit plots and vibration time waveforms indicated possible journal impacting. The machine was shut down and the subsequent inspection revealed that the babbitt lining had been wiped and there was minor scoring on the shaft which could be polished out. This fault could have gone undetected until vibration alarms signaled an impending failure, and the subsequent additional damage to the shaft may have required removal and repair or replacement. Ferrography provided the early warning necessary to prevent a potentially catastrophic failure. MT

Information supplied by Predict/DLI, Cleveland, OH; telephone (216) 642-3223.

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11:59 pm
February 1, 1999
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Eat an Elephant-Implement a CMMS

Insight on why companies may not reach their goals when implementing computerized maintenance management systems.

How do you eat an elephant? “One bite at a time.”

How do you implement a maintenance management system? “One step at a time.”

An elephant is a large animal and it is doubtful anyone would want to eat one. But the old proverb, with a little twist, has a similar paradox to implementing a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). Not developing the proper steps to implementation may lead a company to failure.

The first and most important step in the implementation process is for plant management to decide how the maintenance department should function. This will depend somewhat on the size and scope of plant operations. Some key matters to be resolved are listed in the section “Questions to Ask About Maintenance Department Functions.” How the maintenance function is handled will dictate staffing and policy needs and can help in the CMMS selection process.

Plant commitment
Once it is decided how plant maintenance will function, the next step is to gain plant commitment to the process. Without this commitment, the system will never be fully functional. Lack of total plant commitment is the most common reason why companies who have purchased maintenance management systems do not reach their expectations.

After determining the maintenance function and gaining total plant commitment, a company needs to select and purchase a CMMS that meets its needs. Consideration must be given to data collection and data entry. How and by whom will the data be collected and entered? Unless the company is converting from one CMMS to another where some of the data can be electronically transferred, considerable data entry will be required.

What kinds of equipment records are available? Is preventive maintenance and spare part information available? Who will perform an equipment survey if it is necessary? This survey will require dedicated personnel and must be performed by someone who knows the plant equipment. Even if a survey is not necessary, forms may need to be developed to match the system requirements.

Manual data entry takes time and should be performed by someone trained in system requirements. Experience has shown that these duties are often assigned to personnel who are very capable in their own capacity but have little or no keyboarding or computer training.

The maintenance storeroom
Maintenance planning includes determining both the labor and materials required to perform a job. In order to calculate accurately the costs for a work order, material costs as well as labor costs need to be tracked.

Before inventory can be added to the system, the storeroom has to be organized to provide proper storage and parts location. Inventory control procedures have to be in place and a plan has to be developed for requisitioning maintenance supplies from the storeroom.

Implementation schedule
The next step should be developing an implementation schedule. This schedule will let plant management know where they are in the implementation process.

  • How long will it take to survey the equipment and enter the data?
  • When will PM requirements be entered?
  • When can work order planning and scheduling be kicked off?
  • When will the maintenance storeroom be sufficiently functional to identify spare parts for cross reference to equipment, to reserve parts against work orders, and to be used for issuing and automatic reordering of supplies?

Many CMMS contain add-ons including bar coding options, the ability to display drawing images, etc. Management will have to decide on the value of these functions to their organization, then take the necessary steps to make the system functional before adding them. In one manager’s words, “We have to crawl before we can walk.”

Taking ownership
A final step is having key personnel take ownership of the system. A CMMS vendor or a maintenance management consulting company may be requested to assist in the implementation process. Even though an outside consultant’s advice may not coincide with what company employees would like to hear, company personnel must be willing to work through the difficulties and differences in philosophy in order for the CMMS implementation to succeed. MT

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

Questions To Ask About Maintenance Departments

  • Is all maintenance work to be planned and scheduled as much as possible?
  • Generally, a CMMS will track maintenance labor and material costs. Will all maintenance labor and material be logged to the system? This will require every job to have a work order for requisitioning material and entering craft hours.
  • Who is going to plan and schedule maintenance work? Does the scope of maintenance work require dedicated maintenance planners, or can maintenance supervisors plan, schedule, and supervise maintenance work?
  • Is production going to be involved in maintenance scheduling? If so, how will this be coordinated? Weekly meetings? Daily meetings? A phone call?
  • If production is not involved in maintenance scheduling, what priority will be assigned to the preventive maintenance work and how will it be scheduled?
  • What reports will be necessary to carry out the scheduling function? A simple list of unscheduled work? Backlog by production foreman?
  • Is a maintenance clerk necessary to support the maintenance group? If not, how will management reports, daily schedules, and work order entry and close out be handled?

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9:14 pm
February 1, 1999
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Using Incentive-Based Contract Maintenance

Incentive clauses in maintenance service agreements benefit both owner and contractor when they focus on important goals. Here are some issues to consider.

When you buy a service, what do you believe is the contractor’s primary goal? A. Pride; B. To employ people; C. To make you happy; or D. To maximize the difference between his receipts and his cost? While A, B, and C are noble goals, the reason the contractor is in business is D: to make money.



PM work orders completed in scheduled time was part of the original maintenance agreement at a paper mill in the mid-South. Kellogg Brown & Root has been providing total maintenance services at this mill since the early 1990s.


In a similar vein, service providers should ask that question about you. As the owner, what is your primary objective? A. To employ the contractor’s people; B. To build the contractor’s resume; C. To be a good citizen; or D. To maximize the value you receive for each dollar spent? Obviously, your primary objective is D: to maximize value received.

Pros And Cons Of An Incentive Plan


  • Creates greater ownership and commitment by the contractor
  • Motivates the generation of new ideas
  • Encourages closer cooperation between owner and contractor
  • Influences key personnel assignments to the project
  • Creates potential for greater management attention to the project
  • Stimulates a more disciplined approach to using information and control systems
  • Additional administrative costs
  • Extra negotiations
  • Changes in priorities require renegotiations
  • Increased number of disputes
  • Difficulty in establishing fair and equitable targets for performance measures

Is it easy to see that these two goals might not be in alignment? In fact they could end up being 180 degrees out of alignment. Then, what can you do to motivate the behavior of the contractor to be consistent with your goals and objectives?

The answer to this question can be found in the behavioral sciences. Expectancy theory argues that the motivational force to perform or expend effort is a multiplicative function of the expectances concerning future outcomes and the value of those outcomes.

This concept of expectancy then has two specific components:
1. Expectancy or probability of success associated with each behavior, and 2. Association of certain outcomes with every behavior.
If we apply these concepts, we find that motivation will be greatest when:

  • Participants believe that performance at a particular level is possible.
  • Participants believe that performance will lead to certain positive outcomes.
  • The outcomes are found to be attractive.

The behavior of a contractor is linked to certain attractive outcomes (increased receipts) which are tied to obtainable performance measurements. These performance measures gauge the contribution of the contractor to those drivers, which maximize the value received by the owner.
Kellogg Brown & Root has been working with incentives in our contact maintenance business for over 15 years. We have had successful incentive plans, and some plans which were not so successful. Advantages and disadvantages of incentive plans we have observed are outlined in the accompanying section “Pros and Cons of an Incentive Plan.”


Reliability: Monthly Machine Failure Rates. Machine failure rate is part of the maintenance agreement at a major chemical plant located east of Houston. Kellogg Brown & Root provides total maintenance services at this location, where there has been an incentive plan in place for 5 years.

Reliability Index: Machines Requiring Rework During “Warranty” Period. Count of machines requiring rework is part of the maintenance agreement at another major chemical plant in Texas. Kellogg Brown & Root provides total maintenance at this plant. There has been an incentive plan in place at this location for 4 years.
Making Incentive Clauses Work

The success of incentive clauses in maintenance contracts is a product of a variety of factors. The following observations are offered as suggestions for consideration during the development of a maintenance service agreement:

  • An integrated approach to design and implementation has been found to be the most successful. Contractors should be involved in plan design. Owners must remain an active member of the team and not abdicate this accountability during implementation.
  • Owner’s commitment to success is paramount for plan success. You must want your contractor to earn the bonus.
  • Performance measures must be obtainable, within the contractor’s control, comprehended, and valid.
  • Bilateral determination of results creates a collaborative environment between the owner and contractor.
  • Goals and status must be communicated to all employees.
  • A high level of trust between owner and contractor must be established and sustained.
  • Positive incentives encourage positive actions, behaviors, and relationships. Negative incentives encourage behaviors and actions that are defensive.
  • Effective incentive plans are designed carefully to respond to specific requirements and particularities of application.
  • A contractor’s degree of risk aversion increases with his inability to absorb the potential loss.
  • Two-way communication is essential at all levels of both the owner’s and contractor’s organizations.
  • Incentive plans take time.
  • You can’t incent capabilities into a relationship which neither owner nor contractor is capable of providing.
  • Incentive plan design should be flexible. Don’t be afraid to change the design if it is not yielding results. Review the plan at least annually.

The incentive clauses in the service agreement must be designed around the plant’s overall maintenance and asset management goals. Generally, clauses will have a minimum performance figure above which a bonus award will be paid. There will also be a maximum goal figure above which the incentive bonus will cease to increase with performance. Some of the clauses we have worked with include the following:

­ Safety work orders completed within scheduled time.
­ PM work orders completed within scheduled time.
­ Emergency workload.
­ Overtime worked by maintenance core group.
­ Absenteeism.
­ Asset maintenance downtime.
­ Skills inventory-work time devoted to developing multiskilled crafts.
­ Reliability-monthly machine failure rate.
­ Productivity-man-hours per completed base work order.
­ Training-percent of training man-hours to goal.
­ Contractor’s man-hour performance-over or under budget.
­ Contractor’s overall maintenance performance-over or under budget.
­ Safety-recordable incident rate.

The accompanying performance charts illustrate incentive clause measurements from three different contract maintenance agreements.
Incentives can be useful for motivating performance when the owner-contractor relationship is long term, focused on business goals, and with shared control.
Strive for these features in your maintenance projects. The accompanying section “Making Incentive Clauses Work” offers observations for consideration as you develop your incentive plan. MT

Wayne A. Crew, P.E., is vice president of maintenance at Kellogg Brown & Root, a Halliburton Company, 4100 Clinton Dr., Houston, TX 77001-0003; telephone (713) 676-3368; e-mail Continue Reading →