Archive | March, 2003


2:41 am
March 2, 2003
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Writing Effective Maintenance And Reliability Mission Statements

It has been said that if you do not know where you are going, any road will get you there. Having a plan works best when we embark on a journey. A maintenance and reliability journey is no different and a solid plan can align everyone’s efforts toward a common mission. It is useful to compose a mission statement for your maintenance and reliability program that can be easily understood by company management, employees, and perhaps even your customers. If you already have a mission statement, you may want to revisit it, especially if it was created more than 5 years ago.

Many may think a mission statement requires a document the size of War and Peace (Tolstoy, Viking Press, ISBN 0140444173); however, before you begin writing the next chapter, check what some of the experts advise by visiting the following online resources.

A good starting point for mission statement tips is the Leader to Leader Institute web site (formerly the Drucker Foundation). This page offers a comprehensive set of instructions and advice to set a mission statement project in motion. Business guru Peter Drucker says the mission should “fit on a T-shirt,” yet a mission statement is not a slogan. It is a precise statement of purpose.

One Page Business Plans stresses simplicity and clarity at its web site. According to the site, a mission statement should state what your business unit does, what you care about, and why someone should use your services.

According to Janel Radke, in an article posted at the Craftsmanship Center, a mission statement’s message should be accomplished in a brief paragraph that is free of jargon and “terms of art.” In other words, it should avoid the kind of shorthand you may be in the habit of swapping with others in your field, but is unfamiliar to anyone outside the organization or the field in which it works.

A mission statement is a marketing tool, a leadership tool, and a motivational tool so it should not be rushed nor should it be dictated or forced. It is useful to get contributions and participation from all of the stakeholders or people who will be affected by the mission statement.

Most experts agree that the mission statement should be kept short, should be easy to remember, without having to read it, and should sound good when spoken.

An offbeat guide for building a mission statement is available at the ABC News site that suggests you start with a short questionnaire for both internal and external contacts. It also suggests a strategy for involving a group and keeping focus to get the best mission statement. offers a great resources area for writing a mission statement at. This site offers a 12-step process and includes some handy tips.

If you are leading, facilitating, or participating in a project to create a mission statement, you may want to use the knowledge and experience you gain to write your own personal mission statement.

Some examples of a maintenance and reliability mission statement may be:

  • To ensure machinery reliability
  • To support manufacturing through coordinated maintenance
  • To increase availability
  • To drive profit from increased reliability MT

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9:15 pm
March 1, 2003
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Planning is the Foundation of Maintenance Operations

Maintenance planning is the change that will allow you to move from firefighting to proactive planned maintenance.

By do many maintenance departments continue to fight fires—rushing from one breakdown to the next making heroic repairs? Answer: They lack planning.
Maintenance planning is the foundation upon which proactive maintenance organizations are built. Maintenance planning allows you to maximize the wrench time of maintenance technicians by having a daily plan with the right parts and tools available when needed.
How does maintenance planning allow you to make the transformation from reactive (firefighting) maintenance to proactive (planned) maintenance, if you still have the daily crises? The transformation takes place when you determine how much time you have for planned work and then start using this time to perform preventive maintenance work orders or repair/projects work orders.
This article will discuss how to start planning and how to keep it going. It will present a set of proven steps for conducting maintenance planning as well as helpful tips for successful planning.

Use work orders
First and foremost, if you do not use work orders, then start. Work orders become the communication vehicle for getting work done:
• A person writes a work order to request work.
• The maintenance planner reviews the work order and determines when/how to perform the requested work.
• Maintenance technicians receive the work order and perform the requested work.
• The planner receives the completed work order back and closes the work order.
• Finally, the requestor gets the work order back for final review.

Work orders also allow you to create a historical equipment record. This history will help later to identify trends for initiating continuous improvement projects and for calculating maintenance costs to justify new equipment purchases.

The actual work orders can take several forms: simple paper forms, multi-part carbon forms, or electronic (CMMS-based) forms. You can pick any of these options that fit your organizational culture, but start using work orders.

Set up scheduling system
Setting up a scheduling system means creating a process for deployment of maintenance planning. This process should include a method for receiving incoming work orders, distributing work orders to the technicians, and returning the scheduled work orders after the shift.

The process you design should allow you to move work orders through the system in a process flow. Create a basic flow that is easy to follow, but has a defined structure to prevent informal paths. Decisions that need to be addressed include how you will receive work orders, how they will get to the planner, how the planner will send work orders to the technicians, how the technicians will return the work orders to the planner, and how work orders will be closed.

If you are using a paper system to manage work orders, I suggest you use several centrally located mailboxes to receive the work orders. I also suggest you create a daily file system which becomes the vehicle for technicians to get work orders and return them at the end of the shift. With this file system, the planner puts the planned work orders in the appropriate shift folder for the day and shift; the technicians or shift supervisor then picks up the appropriate shift folder and completes the scheduled work orders. At the end of the shift, the technicians or supervisor returns the shift folder with all the work orders to the file for the planner to review.

When creating this system, consider the future opportunities to put this system in an electronic format. Eventually you may want to use electronic work orders and personal data assistants (PDAs).

Once you have the scheduling system set up, then train everyone on how to use the system. When you conduct this training, focus on what each group needs to know to use the system and not on making everyone a planner. Also, make this training visual with pictures and diagrams.

Determine how much time you have for planning
Once you have determined your planning system design, then determine how much time you actually have for planned work. Or more precisely, how much time is left over each day for planned work after considering breakdown, breaks, and lunches. When you begin building daily schedules, this quantity of time will become the amount of work you can schedule on any given day. Therefore, knowing the available time is the key to making realistic schedules and not over- or under-scheduling the technicians.

First calculate the total available work hours. This is the total time of the technicians less the time for breaks and lunches:

Total available work hours =
(Number of technicians x number of hr/shift) – time for breaks and lunches

To calculate the time available for scheduling, next determine how much time your technicians spend on breakdowns each day. Subtract this number from the total available work hours to determine how much time you have each day for scheduling planned work:

Time available for scheduling =
Total available work hours – time for breakdowns

Plan daily by day and by shift
The final two steps in implementing maintenance planning are to make a daily plan, and to keep doing it.

To start creating a daily plan, sort existing work orders by importance. As you perform the sorting process, estimate the time and number of people required to complete the requested work and if parts must be ordered. When you have sorted all the work orders, then begin determining when the requested work can be performed.

While many people want to make this step into an extremely complicated activity, it simply involves figuring out where everything fits within the constraints of time, people, and materials. To help in this step, use decision rules (see accompanying section “Decision Rules for Scheduling Work Orders”).

As you build the daily plan, always think in terms of how many available hours exist on each shift and which work orders fit into this timeframe. Be careful to not overload the shift schedule or the technicians will treat the plan as a smorgasbord—only working on those work orders that they want to do.

When you make the daily plan, review the work orders for clarity and direction. Make sure the work order recipient has enough information to perform the work and that you agree with the requested work. If the work order does not contain enough information or you disagree with the work request, return the work order to the requestor for clarification or changes.

Also, determine what parts are needed for the work order and have them ready for the shift that is scheduled to perform the work. If you determine that you do not have the necessary parts, then order them and schedule the work order when you receive them.

For complicated projects, consider scheduling the work order in two parts: (1) development of a plan and parts requisition, and (2) performance of the work.

This two-step process will allow you to complete more work orders while helping to develop your technicians into problem solvers.

When you have the daily plan completed, place it in the agreed location for the technicians or the shift supervisor to pick up and perform the work. At the end of the shift, they should return the plan to this location for review on the following day.

The review of the previous day’s plan will be the start of the current day’s plan. Work orders should be sorted by completed or not complete. Those work orders that are complete should be closed. Work orders that are not complete should be assessed for why they were not completed and dealt with accordingly.

The last step in finalizing maintenance plans is coordination. Make sure your production counterparts share your priorities and have scheduled equipment down as planned. Nothing wrecks a maintenance plan like the equipment not being available. Be advised that at first, production may be skeptical of your planning so let the results speak for themselves. As they see things getting done and uptime improving, they will begin to see the value of the plan and the importance of their cooperation.

Keep doing it
The last step sounds the simplest, but it can be the hardest. To keep maintenance planning from crashing and burning, you need to keep doing it. If you do not manage all those little pieces of paper, then soon you have no planning. Look at planning like daily exercise—at first your muscles are stiff and sore, but as you keep it up you feel better and you begin to see results. Maintenance planning will be the same way; you start small with a few work orders that fit into the available time and as the operation improves you have more and more available time for work orders.

This incremental process is how you improve the maintenance operation and move to proactive maintenance. By using the maintenance plan, you can get PMs and project work orders completed. If you don’t already have a good set of PM work order instructions, then use the maintenance plan to schedule work orders for building or improving them.

Your ultimate goal should be to reduce trouble calls to 15-20 percent of your total workload. Reaching this goal will take time and effort but it is attainable. Consider these opportunities for incorporation into your planning process:
• Schedule a weekly planning meeting with production to establish priorities and schedule downtime. This meeting must be a cooperative effort with give and take on both sides. Also, consider taking action items during the meeting to track requests and always come to this meeting prepared with your downtime requirements.
• Tie your purchase department into the work order process—see if parts can be “kitted.” When a technician gets a work order then, he is ready to perform the work instead of spending time withdrawing individual parts from stores.
• Create a metric chart to track trouble calls vs. planned work orders. If possible, track this metric by areas in your plant. Use this data for discussion in the weekly planning meeting and to identify maintenance continuous improvement opportunities.
• Consider creating a value stream map of your maintenance operation to see where you lose time and to identify waste. The future state map that you create then becomes the roadmap to proactive maintenance.

Remember, no plan is a plan for failure. To change the way your maintenance department operates, you must change how you do business. Maintenance planning is the change that will allow you to move from firefighting to proactive planned maintenance. This change takes place one step at a time, but the final results will be worth the effort. MT

John M. Gross, P.E., CPE, works as a lean manufacturing manager for a tier 1 automotive supplier. He is also the author of “Fundamentals of Preventive Maintenance” published by AMACON books and a Six Sigma black belt.

Decision Rules for Scheduling Work Orders

• Where do you have available hours (i.e., manpower)?
• What is the work order priority (i.e., is it routine work, a safety hazard, or an impending equipment failure)?
• When will the equipment be available?
• Which shift has the necessary skills to perform the work?
• When will all the parts be available?

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8:07 pm
March 1, 2003
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Too Small For A CMMS? Think Again

Many smaller companies feel maintenance management software is overkill for their organizations. Nothing could be further from the truth.

At a small chemical plant several years ago, the plant manager was overheard complaining about the expenditures for spare parts related to a process pump. “The pump costs only $18,000 brand new. How is it that we spent $14,500 in spare parts in one year? I have added these costs several times. I kept thinking there must be a mistake; unfortunately, numbers don’t lie.

“How much money did we really lose in production time?,” he questioned. “Why aren’t we smart enough to track equipment repair costs? We didn’t need to repair the pump. We needed to replace the pump. Downtime expenses, mechanics’ time, and spare parts combined, we have probably wasted $50,000.”

Why did this situation exist? The answer is simple. Many businesses have no way of tracking their maintenance activities.

The “we are too small” mentality
“We don’t need maintenance software. Maintenance software is for big companies. We just don’t have the staff. We don’t have enough people to warrant the use of software. Maintenance software couldn’t possibly work here.”

In reality, even a one-person maintenance department can reap the benefits of maintenance management software. The same benefits realized by the maintenance crew in larger companies are there for smaller maintenance departments also.

Smaller companies are typically forced to do more with less in nearly every area of their business. If they are not organized, they will continue to work harder—not smarter. If the amount of time to administrate a repair or equipment failure can be cut in half, those unused resources are available for other tasks. Without software, the small maintenance group will waste time trying to figure out the answers to these common questions nearly every time maintenance is performed on a piece of equipment:

  • Where did we buy that last spare part?
  • How much did we pay?
  • Do we have a warranty for this equipment?
  • Who was the salesperson we talked to?
  • What was the phone number?
  • Do we have an open purchase order with the company?
  • How was the last part shipped?
  • What was the delivery time for the last one we ordered?

The maintenance person probably will get on the phone to accounting or other departments and ask them to research their records for the information. Again, more wasted time. Even with the most economical maintenance software package, most of this information can be right at your fingertips.

Another important issue to consider is the amount of information that can leave the company when a key maintenance employee leaves. Years of critical technical information can be lost the moment the employee walks out the door.

Implementation failure syndrome
“Implementing maintenance software is easy; I’ve done it six or seven times so far.”

It is because of these failures that some smaller companies decide against the purchase of maintenance software. Some studies indicate maintenance software implementation failure rates as high as 70 percent in some industries.

It is not unusual to find a company that owns several different maintenance software products. Although software is usually the first point of blame when implementation fails, humans are the real reason implementations fail in most cases.

“See that box on my bookshelf? I could have paid for my son’s undergraduate degree with what I paid for that. Maintenance software is just like an iceberg. The software costs are merely the tip. The salesman wanted another six times what the software cost us to populate it. He left us high and dry. That purchase nearly cost me my career.”

Many consumers of maintenance software have been led to believe that the only way the software will ever work is to spend thousands of dollars on implementation services. But end users can implement the software. In many cases, they will do a better job than the software vendor because the end user is more familiar with the facility.

Implementation basics
Implementing maintenance software can be quite easy if the end user has patience. Users should expect to write work orders in four to six weeks after software installation; however, an efficient, smooth-running operation may take 18 months or more.

Getting organized is the first step in getting ready to use maintenance management software. This process can be started before purchasing software.

Name areas. The first thing to do is assign area names to the facility. This may be as simple as calling one area the manufacturing area, another the warehouse area, and so on. Consider breaking the areas into sub-areas. The manufacturing area may be broken down into materials, product pre-assembly, final assembly, painting, packaging, etc. Think along the lines of how maintenance activities are handled currently. It should be easy to relate the maintenance performed to a specific area.

Later, a report can be produced that can be sorted by area. As an example, a list of all breakdowns in the pre-assembly area within a specific date range may be useful to pinpoint problem equipment areas. The more areas that are defined, the better the level of detail for future reporting. Keep the list of areas in a spreadsheet or other document. More than likely, the information can be imported into the maintenance software.

Name equipment. Naming equipment is one of the most important steps to success. The naming scheme should support future growth as well as the way the current workforce recognizes the equipment. Conventional schemes such as “P” for pump and a three-digit number (P-101, P-10A, or P-10B) should be considered. Some companies embed an area designation into the name as well. If P-101 is located in the pre-assembly area, the pump name might be PA-P-101.

It is important to provide a name or tag number for any piece of equipment in the facility that could ever be maintained. This should include office air handling equipment, company vehicles, water heaters, compressors, etc. Again, place the list of equipment in a spreadsheet or document.

Identify nomenclature requirements. Equipment nomenclature can be defined as the information required for purchasing the equipment or part without the need for the owner’s manual or without contacting the supplier.

Establishing equipment nomenclature can make the life of the maintenance technician significantly easier. Consider creating nomenclature templates for different equipment or part types. As an example, each time a motor coupling is purchased, the supplier needs specific information to ensure the correct coupling is provided. General nomenclature templates to consider are pumps, bearings, belts, motors, control valves, gear reducers, instrumentation devices (level, flow, temperature, etc.), and compressors.

There will be equipment or parts that are unique to a specific industry. Nomenclature is particularly important for unique items because the equipment or part may have to be manufactured. This information also can be imported into the software; however, consider placing the nomenclature into a document file.

Corrective maintenance. Corrective maintenance vs preventive maintenance is an often-discussed topic. Generally, industry guidelines recommend 80 percent of the work done in a facility be preventive maintenance and 20 percent corrective or reactive maintenance.

However, when you are implementing maintenance software, forget this advice. Wait until the basic infrastructure of maintenance is in place and working well before venturing into preventive maintenance percentages. Instead, concentrate on establishing a corporate culture that readily accepts the mandatory use of maintenance software.

A rule established early in the transition from a manual system to software might be: Effective (date), all work performed by maintenance department employees will be recorded on Form (form name here). The information to be recorded, at a minimum, shall include:

  • Area of the repair
  • Equipment number repaired
  • Start time of the repair
  • End time of the repair
  • Parts/consumables used for the work
  • Employees involved with the repair

Software is not needed to establish this requirement. The use of the information is twofold. First, it creates the beginning of an equipment history for the facility equipment. Second, it provides the foundation for the culture of recording maintenance activities within the department. One of the biggest factors in the failure of maintenance software is the lack of willingness on the part of maintenance personnel to provide critical information to establish maintenance histories. The paper work orders can be easily entered into the software with the “open and close a work order” feature in most maintenance software products.

Preventive maintenance. What about preventive maintenance? Start with ranking the facility equipment on its degree of importance. Start slowly. Identify equipment items that are required for the facility to generate revenue. Review the manufacturers’ recommended maintenance for the equipment. Then blend common sense from your maintenance experience with the maintenance the manufacturer is recommending.

Next, create a maintenance task that includes:

  • Who is performing the work: maintenance or subcontractor
  • Permit required to perform maintenance (lockout/tagout, confined space permit, etc.)
  • Special tools required to perform maintenance (include personal protective equipment)
  • Spare parts required to perform maintenance
  • Special lubricant(s) required to perform maintenance
  • Estimate of man-hours for task
  • Description of task (fully explain the sequence of steps to perform work)
  • Description of appropriate test or check to confirm equipment maintenance is complete

Place this information in a document file so it can be imported into the maintenance software. Once maintenance tasks have been created, review the man-hours required to complete the work. Look at the available manpower capacity in the maintenance department before scheduling the first preventive maintenance work order.

It is a mistake to schedule more preventive work orders than the current manpower level can handle. This creates a lack of confidence in the system and, more importantly, demoralizes the workforce. The sense of accomplishment is lost and it creates the impression that the department is not performing the work.

Maintenance tasks have to be scheduled at intervals that are physically achievable by the manpower available. As an example, do not schedule 20,000 hours of overhaul work if only 15,000 hours of manpower are available.

Work orders are typically printed for one week of maintenance. Every effort should be made to adjust the schedules so that if the department gets behind, work orders already out on the floor are completed first.

Keep on working
Maintenance software implementation is a work in progress. It can be as simple as entering a small amount of information each day. Over time, the software gets populated. Some companies enter the information when confronted with the need to perform maintenance on a specific piece of equipment. Others elect to populate the software all at once. Any of these methods work. The important issue is to develop a culture where maintenance personnel want the system to succeed. This can be one of the biggest avenues to success.

Maintenance tasks, new equipment, new staff, new technologies, etc., all play a role in how the maintenance software can be best used to alleviate downtime and maintain efficiency. Maintenance software has been around for decades. The price of computer hardware is at an all-time low. Low-end maintenance software packages can be purchased for about the same price as a well-equipped PC. The excuses not to implement maintenance software are fewer and fewer each day. Take the plunge. You’ll be glad you did. MT

Roger D. Evans is president of Compliance Technologies, Inc., 135 Mirramont Lake Dr., Suite #135, Woodstock, GA 30189; (800) 845-6094

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7:24 pm
March 1, 2003
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The Biology of Maintenance


Robert C. Baldwin, CMRP, Editor

Sharon Begley’s recent Wall Street Journal Science Journal columns associated with the 50 year anniversary of the discovery of the double-helix structure of the DNA molecule called to my mind the reasonably good analogy between human health and physical asset management.

Mostly, the analogy focuses on the similarity of checking your heart rhythm, blood pressure, and body temperature to checking a machine’s vibration level, operating pressure, and operating temperature.

The analogy expands nicely to cover procedures such as electrocardiogram, magnetic resonance imaging, and blood workups in the human and vibration analysis, infrared thermography, and oil analysis for the machine.

Exploratory surgery is not to be prescribed casually, neither are machine overhauls (because of the risk of maintenance-induced failure).

The analogy also works for the overall approach to health-wellness center vs. emergency room, doctor-prescribed medication vs. grandma’s home remedy, and proactive maintenance vs. reactive maintenance.

One of Begley’s columns noted “a nascent revolution in which ‘systems biology’ is overthrowing the reductionist, molecular-biology paradigm that has reigned for half a century (since the double-helix discovery).” Molecular biology was quite successful, she writes, reaching its pinnacle with the sequencing of the human genome. Once the parts list has been assembled, one must next look to the function of each and how they work together systems biology. Root cause analysis and reliability centered maintenance (RCM) come to mind.

In another column, she brings up penetrance, the likelihood that a gene will lead to a trait or disease, noting that “you can say that Gene X causes diabetes in an extended family, but what you are really saying is that Gene X causes diabetes when it interacts with precisely the genes those people share.” This reminds me of the importance of a machine’s operating context to its maintenance requirements.

And what about holistic medicine, defined by the Canadian Holistic Medical Association as “a system of health care which fosters a cooperative relationship among all those involved, leading towards optimal attainment of the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of health”? That sounds a lot like TPM and physical asset management to me.

Who’s on your equipment health team: physicians, pharmacists, and physical trainers, or quacks, medicine showmen, and fry cooks? Regardless of who they are, we believe they all can profit from some of the remedies we serve up in our Professional Development Quarterly. MT


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5:15 pm
March 1, 2003
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Reliability Improvements Drive Down Maintenance Costs

An organization must focus on sustainable results, not just cutting costs. Three case studies illustrate.

Results-oriented organizations focus first on the quality and volume of production throughput, followed closely by the cost to produce the required quality and volume. This approach will improve reliability performance, which will drive manufacturing costs down.

Most organizations focus more on cutting maintenance costs, and, as a consequence, maintenance costs go down temporarily, only to increase much more than the initial savings. In addition, reliability goes down, paving the way for losses that can be substantial. This behavior and results have been proven many times, especially in economic downturns. The root cause of this phenomenon is often shortsightedness and what the late quality leader Dr. W. Edwards Deming described as one of the most serious diseases in American industry: “the mobility of top management.”

The three case studies that follow demonstrate what happened in two organizations that focused on cost reductions and in a third organization that focused on Results Oriented Maintenance.

Case 1: Cost and head count reduction

The accompanying graph shows a 3-year case study in a food processing organization with an aggressive cost reduction program. A key measure used in maintenance benchmarking exercises was the number of maintenance crafts people and first line managers such as planners and supervisors.

The head count reduction was done through attrition and layoffs. The major mistakes by this organization were:

  • To cut costs by reducing only the number of employees and not considering reducing the need for maintenance or improving work processes.
  • To focus on number of employees, instead of hours of maintenance work, including overtime and contractor hours.

Case 2: Aggressive cost reduction

The graph for this case shows results at a chemical plant, a high-cost producer in its market, where management decided to do whatever it took to cut costs, mainly in maintenance. When the cost-saving initiative started, market prices for the plant’s products were low and profitability in a short-term perspective was low compared to other plants in the corporation. The fast-paced cost reduction actions included:

  • Operations took over maintenance and only did maintenance work that was judged absolutely necessary.
  • Planners were laid off and planning of work was discontinued.
  • Scheduling was discontinued.
  • Maintenance prevention activities such as shaft alignment were abandoned and lubrication was handed over to operators without training and implementation of a documented program.
  • The preventive maintenance program was handed over to the operators, without training in what to do or how to inspect. The preventive maintenance inspectors were laid off.
  • Shutdown crews were merged with another plant about 1 hr drive from the subject plant.
  • Painting programs were abandoned.
  • Training of crafts people was discontinued.

After realizing the catastrophic consequences of what had happened, the mill took initiatives to bring maintenance to world-class status. Results are very encouraging and the mill is today one of the top performers. Reliability is approaching 94 percent. Maintenance costs have gone up, so has quality production throughput, and manufacturing and maintenance costs per ton are lower.

The actions taken to bring maintenance to world-class status included:

  • Reinstating preventive maintenance inspectors and revising the preventive maintenance program.
  • Bringing maintenance back to a central maintenance function.
  • Developing a partnership between maintenance and operations instead of a customer-supplier relationship.
  • Focusing on planning and scheduling and front line implementation of these practices.
  • Developing employees’ capabilities toward joint goals.
  • Making capital investments in new equipment and restoration of worn out equipment.
  • Implementing front line management action indicators.

Case 3: Reliability improvements first, costs second

This plant manufactures the same product as the plant described in the previous case, but it decided to focus on reliability improvements instead of only cost reduction. This included:

  • A clearly outspoken and established partnership between operations, engineering, and maintenance was forged.
  • A change was made from a reactive to a planned and scheduled maintenance organization. Less than 10 percent of all maintenance work was planned when the initiative was launched. Ten years later more than 85 percent of all work is planned and scheduled.
  • A strong vibration analysis program was implemented. When it started, the average vibration level was 0.23 in./sec. Today it is down to 0.11 in./sec.
  • Lubricators were professionally trained. This resulted in better filtration and water removal, better seals, oil testing, and fewer types of lubricants. Cost for lubrication was reduced by 60 percent.
  • All rotating equipment above 1000 rpm is balanced dynamically before it is put into service.
  • Many equipment bases were improved and equipped with jack-bolts to improve alignment precision.
  • Electric motors and rolls in storage are marked and rotated twice a month.
  • Alignment training, standards, and execution were implemented.
  • Stores inventory and services were analyzed and improved. Service level now stands at 96 percent and stores value has been reduced by more than 30 percent.
  • Adherence to preventive maintenance schedules was increased to over 90 percent.

Reliability pays

Reliability improvements increase production throughput and drive down maintenance costs. Maintenance cost reduction is a consequence of reliability performance; it is never the other way around. MT

Information supplied by Christer Idhammar, president, IDCON, Inc., Raleigh, NC; (800) 849-2041. Idhammar is the recipient of the 2002 Euromaintenance Incentive Award in recognition of extraordinary accomplishments in the field of maintenance.

Case 1: Moving maintenance resources to operations and cutting craft personnel


The number of crafts people was reduced by 14.3 percent the first year. After 1 year, 6 percent were hired back. In the same period, contractor spending went up 88 percent. Total maintenance hours including overtime, contractor hours, and in-house hours went up 10.5 percent. Total maintenance costs went up 29.2 percent. On top of that, reliability and production throughput decreased 6 percent. This plant is now investing in hiring and training more maintenance people, implementing lost maintenance practices, and moving all maintenance resources back to professional maintenance management after initially decentralizing maintenance to operations.

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Case 2: Lingering effect of 2 years of cost cutting


In the first 2 to 3 years maintenance costs dropped from $35 million/yr to $27 million/yr and results were hailed as good. However, reliability started to decline. When beginning this initiative, overall production reliability (OPR)—the product of quality performance, time performance, and speed performance—was 93 percent; it bottomed at 78 percent 6 years after the start of the initiative. At this time the market price for the plant’s products had doubled. The drop of 15 percent in OPR and quality production output corresponded to a loss of over 300,000 tons during some very good years when product could be sold at top prices. Financial losses because of low OPR resulting from shortsighted maintenance cost savings are conservatively estimated to exceed $1.2 billion over a 3-yr period.

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Case 3: Focus on reliability


During the first 3 years, maintenance costs increased 8 percent (2.5 to 3 percent/yr). During the same period, reliability as measured by OPR, and consequently also production throughput, increased steadily from a low of 83 percent to 90 percent. Reliability continued to increase to 92 percent. In financial terms, a short-term increase in maintenance costs of about $3.3 million resulted in savings of $17 million annually. The value of increased and sold production represented $18 million annually. Total maintenance costs were reduced by 40 percent. Today this plant survives another economic downturn because of the reliability initiative it initiated and implemented.

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