Archive | March, 2004


2:23 am
March 19, 2004
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Top 100 Maintenance and Reliability Web Sites

Ever since the dot com bomb, some companies have been content to simply allow their corporate Web sites to serve as a collection of electronic brochures.

Unfortunately for the companies that have not converted to value-based information delivery, the meltdown of hyped up, over-inflated Internet stock prices did nothing to slow the real benefits of connecting computers and, more importantly, people from around the world.

The Internet forecasts made in 1999 have now been borne out as e-commerce has expanded to well over $100 billion in 2003 (a year behind the prediction). The number of computers with Internet access in 2003 actually exceeded 1999 predictions with 633 million people now online.

Nearly half of U. S. Internet users have built Web pages, posted photos, written comments, or otherwise added to the enormous variety of material available online, according to a report released last month by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

As some companies squander the opportunity to create online relationships based on value, the Internet continues to fulfill its promise of changing the way information is distributed. Information flows like water around “roadblocks” and those companies that are not in the “information flow” simply get navigated around as Web surfers find their way to more helpful resources.

Sites deliver value
That said, creating and maintaining a useful Web site is a big job. announces the Top 100 list of maintenance and reliability Web sites each year as a way of delivering value to readers and as a way of acknowledging the extra work that these companies put into creating Web sites that contribute to the overall maintenance and reliability community.

We hope to encourage other companies that publish Web sites to follow these fine examples as well as ask current Top 100 site publishers to continue adding even more value to their Web sites on a consistent basis. When it comes to delivering maintenance and reliability information, there is still a long way to go.

The following criteria are evaluated before a site is selected for the Top 100 list:

• Web site must be nominated.
• Web site must offer valuable maintenance and/or reliability information.
• Accessing this information must be fee free.

The Top 100 Web sites are ranked by link popularity, as value exists only in the mind of the visitor. The list is generally assembled in the order we receive the nominations and they are included on our list after being reviewed. The order changes as more people click the online resources they find most useful.

Increase in number of sites
Things are definitely progressing from 2000 when we had a difficult time finding 50 Web sites that met the criteria for the list. It is heartening that we received more than 200 new nominations and many sites had some positive information benefit for visitors beyond product or service information.

The Top 100 listings happen without any communication with the Web site owners or operators and there is no obligation on anyone’s part to take any further action. Some companies choose to display a Top 100 logo and others simply continue with their good work.

A complete list of the Top 100 maintenance and reliability Web sites is available online at, including a link to nominate your favorite Web sites for next year’s list. You can even nominate your own site if you think it meets the criteria.

Yahoo, Google, and other search engines are fine, but lists like the Top 100 can provide a more focused starting point that will speed your way through the search engine clutter to more applicable solutions.

Please help us recognize your favorite maintenance and reliability Web sites by nominating them for our next Top 100 list. MT

Internet Tip: Find Yourself

Have you ever searched for yourself on the Internet? Try typing your name in at Google, and you may be surprised to find out where you can be found.

This can be a good exercise to make sure you are not revealing more personal information (i.e., your home address or phone number) than you would like. If you find more information than you are comfortable with, send a polite e-mail requesting that information be removed. Most responsible Web site operators will be happy to comply.

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2:58 am
March 2, 2004
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Using CMMS for ISO/QS-9000 Documentation

Earning ISO/QS certification gives the right to lose it every six months. Maintaining the rigid quality system standards established by the International Standards Organization (ISO) dictates periodic re-evaluation of a company’s adherence to those standards. Simply stated, the philosophy behind the ISO is:

• Say what you do—Document standard operating procedures (SOPs).
• Do what you say—Adhere to these SOPs.
• Prove it—Document the two previous statements.

Those in the manufacturing sector are familiar with the requirements of managing and maintaining their portion of the ISO/QS certification. Several years ago, the ISO standards were revised to require computerized maintenance management in place of older manual systems.

WCI Steel began computer management of its assets, maintenance responsibilities, spare parts inventory, labor force, and preventive maintenance in 1990. This article examines the solutions the computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) (Mapcon , Des Moines, IA) provides in maintaining an ISO/QS-9000/2 certification.

Say what you do
An existing table in the CMMS software provides a vehicle for creating and editing the control processes for the maintenance environment. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) for both maintenance and operations were developed. The What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) format is compatible with the cut and paste features of Windows. Detailed schematics, diagrams, and photos can be attached to aid in the safe completion of a repair. An Import/Export feature can be used with existing files in other systems. Significant advantages can be gained by managing these records in a plant-wide CMMS.

Plant-wide, on-screen access to procedures. Many companies manage their SOPs via the department secretary/clerk who keeps records on a PC or saved to a network drive. The files are restricted to one or two employees for security purposes. Copies of the most current revision are made and distributed throughout the plant or department and placed in books for ready access and review. Since outdated information is a definite noncompliance in ISO/QS management, procedures have to be developed to define the handling of the old copies removed from each book. Folders, files, and storage cabinets all require dedicated, labor-intensive management to ensure conformity.

A multi-leveled security system in a CMMS provides the same control features to create/edit records, plus allows on-screen viewing of the most up-to-date changes to procedures anywhere in the plant. There is no more need to make, distribute, retrieve, and manage copies of your procedures.

By managing SOPs in a CMMS, there are no outdated, obsolete issues to address; the most current revision is the one displayed. Browse screens or screen-editing security guarantee the integrity of the data.

Not all procedures are ISO procedures. The ability to customize screens and menus in a CMMS is a valuable tool in managing ISO/QS procedures. By creating a new dictionary item in the file, it is possible to add a Boolean-formatted field and place it on the screen as a required entry. This allows all ISO- and non-ISO-related procedures to be listed via ad hoc reporting features. Hands-on users can quickly find appropriate procedures when needed for review or as part of an audit.

Job safety analysis (JSA) management. In most manufacturing environments, safety procedures are defined for virtually every maintenance function. Documentation of these procedures ensures that the job gets done safely and correctly. In many cases, these procedures are a matter of law, and routine discussion with employees is part of an effective safety program.

Whether they are called JSAs, safe maintenance procedures, or job tasks, they all outline the step-by-step procedures to do the job correctly. These procedures are the basis for many ISO/QS standards for maintaining equipment.

As with corporate or departmental ISO procedures, JSAs are commonly managed in one location by one or two employees for security purposes. The same benefits can be reaped from a CMMS. Safety procedures can be attached to equipment records and to preventive maintenance (PM) routines as well. When work orders for the equipment are generated, safety procedures will be printed as part of the job.



Fig. 1. A customized field indicates if a piece of equipment is ISO critical.

Identification of ISO-critical equipment. A basic requirement of ISO/QS certification is the identification of those pieces of equipment that have “a direct impact on the quality of the product.” If employees do not know which pieces of equipment impact quality, it is doubtful the equipment will be maintained to provide consistent quality.


As mentioned earlier, one of the strengths of some CMMS programs is the ability to customize the program to meet users’ needs. Coupled with a responsive support service from the developer, user-defined fields can be added to data entry screens. A required Yes/No entry enables a company to answer the question, “What ISO-critical equipment am I responsible for?” Fig. 1 illustrates this feature.

“Qualified” maintenance. Once an organization identifies which equipment is ISO-critical, the next phase of the process should be developed—who is responsible for maintaining the equipment and the skills required need to be addressed. Human resources, craft codes, or other integrated modules can provide the solution.

Craft codes are defined in the program, and employee records are entered in a human resources file. By defining specific training programs in an appropriate table, programs can be attached to individual employee records either through timecard screens or directly from a human resources table. Entries made via the timecard system should automatically update the HR record to show attendance at training sessions. Again, the software reporting features provide the tools to respond favorably to an audit.

Managing critical spares. It is not enough to know which equipment is critical, who will maintain it, and what skills are required. Keeping equipment on line means having critical spare parts available in the event of a breakdown. When this occurs, ensure that shortcuts are not taken that will compromise the ability to keep the unit performing efficiently to maintain product quality.

Inventory tables coupled with a vendor database provide organizations with the tools to ensure they have the right part when it is needed. Part status ratings enable maintenance to manage items in more than one location in the plant or to create a single stockroom and group all essential or long lead-time parts there. Reporting then can reflect the ability to make essential repairs to critical equipment in a timely fashion.

Do what you say
Preventive maintenance uses the minimum amount of resources required to maintain optimum equipment performance. Changing the oil and filter in the family SUV every week, although certainly a benefit for the engine, is hardly preventive maintenance. The same applies to gear reducers, motors, cranes, conveyors, and process lines. Every hour spent maintaining equipment affects profitability. On the other hand, spending too few hours on maintenance affects equipment negatively and seriously impacts its ability to maintain quality.

The pinnacle of any CMMS is its PM system. Once the What, Who, and How have been determined, the When becomes the job of the PM module. PM procedures detail the minimum steps required by the equipment manufacturer to maintain equipment uptime. The automotive industry’s 3 months or 3000 mile oil change interval is based on normal operation. Likewise, manufacturers’ minimum standards for equipment should be adjusted accordingly.

Once PM procedures have been developed and tested, turn the process over to the PC. Having established the Date Last Done for all equipment PMs, the computer keeps track of the next time each PM function is due by issuing a work order created from the information on the PM. Short-circuiting this step will jeopardize certification and lose the Do What You Say piece of the process.

Work orders are generated from written PM procedures and assigned to the appropriate craft personnel (or defined crews) for execution. Once the work has been completed, the work orders are closed, with supporting comments and details noted. As an organization’s work orders migrate from reactive to proactive, its equipment up time increases, and costs ultimately decrease.

As mentioned earlier, JSAs or safety procedures that further detail the maintenance work required to safely keep the equipment running can be attached to a PM. Having a system that allows the user to draw information from several sources without duplicating is an asset provided by some CMMS packages. SOPs in available tables can be attached to a PM procedure without retyping information. Further, if changes are made to the parent document, they will be updated automatically the next time a PM is generated.

Prove it
Developing and managing all of this information takes the combined efforts of several groups within an organization. First, a system manager oversees the operation of the program and is responsible for the training, implementation, and maintenance of the software. Next, departmental staff must build the human resource information and related training programs. The maintenance group must identify and develop the equipment and inventory information essential for successful management. Finally, a well-informed maintenance crew whose job it is to keep the equipment running is a must. Each step of these processes creates the documentation that satisfies the Prove It phase of ISO/QS-9000. Reports can be generated that answer the questions needed to verify compliance.

Since it is not uncommon for an ISO/QS-9000 auditor to ask for evidence of equipment identification, critical inventory, employee training, or PM compliance records, a single menu was created in the software so anyone involved in an audit can obtain information that demonstrates compliance.

From this single menu, the department or individual being interviewed can answer questions such as:

• What equipment is defined as ISO-critical in this department?
• Can you show me how your crew is doing on their PM requirements?
• How many times and when have you completed PM work on equipment X?
• What are your critical spares?
• Which employees have been trained in the training program?
• What quality-related SOPs exist in this department?
• Can you show me a copy of all the PMs for equipment X?
• Do you have any open PM work orders for the millwrights?

Inquiries such as these involve equipment, inventory, human resources, work orders, and PMs. By consolidating all the reports to one menu, users do not have to know the layout of every report menu in the software or determine if certain information is available from one section of the program instead of another. MT

Ed Johnson is CMMS manager at WCI Steel, Inc., 1040 Pine Avenue SE, Warren, OH 44483; (330) 841-8348

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7:13 pm
March 1, 2004
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Bridging the Gap Between Training and Knowledge

Characteristics of a successful training program that improves the performance of a workforce.

Industrial managers who investigate the full potential of steam as a manufacturing resource are commonly surprised at how underutilized it is within the American industrial sector. A key reason they commonly find through further investigation is the scarcity of knowledge in steam’s proper use—despite the presence of an abundance of steam training programs.

Many U.S. firms and their employees suffer from a disconnect between the provision of training and the acquisition of reliable, functional knowledge of steam’s wisest and safest industrial use. This article hopes to begin bridging the gap, and seeks to share our experience in developing training programs that result in the acquisition of greater knowledge about this source of power and productivity. Attributes of a successful program include top to bottom commitment; adjusted attitudes; proper, measurable goals; and effective methods.

Steam is valuable
Steam is important in manufacturing today; more than 45 percent of all the fuel burned by U.S. manufacturers is consumed to produce steam. It provides process heating, process finishing, agglomeration, pressure control, mechanical drive, and component separation, and serves as a source of water for many reactions. Steam is also a power source for equipment, for indoor climate control, and for electricity generation. About $18 billion (in 1997 dollars) is spent annually to feed the boilers generating U.S. steam.

That dollar figure is reason enough to seek the significant savings in energy costs typically realized by the proactive training and knowledge-sharing gained through steam system training. Training also yields the benefits of safer, more reliable, and efficient provision of steam to equipment and processes.

A typical industrial facility can realize steam savings of 18.4 percent or more through wiser utilization of its steam systems. It is estimated that if steam system improvements were adopted industry-wide, the benefits would reach $3.312 billion in fuel cost reductions, as well as reductions in emissions reaching to 27 million metric tons.

A great percentage of this cost savings can be achieved by instituting an effective program of steam system training, providing a plant with improvements in the knowledge and capability of its workforce.

In only one example from our experience, a large paper plant instituted steam training for the personnel involved with three paper machines. They achieved some notable results:

• Energy (steam) cost per ton of paper was reduced by 8.3 percent
• Startup times of the machines involved were reduced by 65 percent
• Unscheduled downtime dropped 17 percent
• The life of steam valves was significantly extended
• Condenser tube failures went down by 43 percent

Top-to-bottom commitment
One of the key determining factors in the effectiveness of steam system training is the ability to extend training’s benefits as broadly as possible within an organization. The most successful training programs encompass everyone at a plant—from the plant manager down to the pipefitter.

If this level of commitment is not achieved company-wide, no amount of job-specific training will achieve the desired goal of maximum steam effectiveness.

A typical list of plant personnel who should attend training would include:

• Management
• Safety
• Environmental
• Engineering
• Maintenance supervision
• Maintenance
• Pipefitters
• Production

The correct training program assures that everyone involved leaves the training event with a common level of understanding on steam systems, along with shared insights on the various solutions to common steam-related issues. This common vision is an essential part of a successful training program, and to the savings that can result.

Companies with successful programs also find they pay dividends which are not steam specific. Well-trained employees are more satisfied in their job functions and they appreciate the investment their company makes in their future. Satisfied employees are less likely to leave for new positions, improving long-term employee retention.

Adjusted attitudes
Training that produces substantial results begins by changing behavior, which ultimately changes attitudes. Unfortunately, most managers and many professional trainers get this backward. They attempt to build awareness in the hope of creating attitude change, expecting the desired behavior to follow naturally. Such is rarely the case.

Other training programs commit errors on the opposite side of the equation, presuming that attitude change will come by simply giving employees a crash course in the functioning of steam traps. In truth, steam traps make up only a very small percentage of the steam system.

A solid training program must encompass the entire system, not just one component. One of the main objectives in any steam system training program is to teach people to focus on the “system” aspect, and not to componentize the steam system.

Proper, measurable goals
Too often, employee training is reactive rather than proactive. It focuses on recognizing the symptoms of a failure, and fails to examine the reasons failures occur and how to prevent them.

There is a tremendous lack of training in root cause failure analysis (RCFA). If a steam trap fails and no RCFA is done before another steam trap is installed, the new trap is likely to fail as well. Unfortunately, steam system audits often reveal that the root cause of a system failure can be traced to individuals who do not possess the skill and/or knowledge to perform their jobs safely or properly in a steam system.

For example, water hammer in a steam system is a leading cause for premature failure of equipment and is extremely unsafe for plant personnel. Despite this, it is considered by many as normal. In fact, water hammer in industrial plant operations can lead to injury and even death.

Plant management must have the commitment to conduct periodic evaluations and review people, procedures, and training to ensure that the plant’s needs are being met. When deficiencies in the steam system are determined, plants must develop strategies that will address the difficulties.

Properly trained employees will increase plant reliability and productivity, while boosting plant profits. Improperly trained employees, or employees trained for the wrong reasons, represent a real lost profit opportunity.

A successful training/improvement program should begin by committing some important background information to paper, then revisiting the documentation periodically as an aid in assessing the training process:

• Document the reasons a steam system training course is being conducted.
• Determine what changes in behavior and system performance are sought from the training.
• Brainstorm ways to get the greatest number of people involved.
• Benchmark the existing knowledge levels of the trainees through the use of a simple pretest.
• Prepare yourself for surprising results from the pretest—virtually all training program managers are alarmed by the scores commonly earned by employees who previously were thought to have a high level of steam system knowledge.
• Institute metrics to test the performance of the training instructor.
• Take steps to engage an instructor with current, documented success in steam training. Even an instructor with 30 years of steam knowledge does not necessarily have the ability to convey his knowledge—some do not even possess the correct steam system skills.
• Develop a plan for determining if the desired behavior and system performance changes are being achieved.

Alternative to “spray and pray”
One of the biggest causes of wasted training dollars is ineffective methodology. Industrial plants have been known to rely on a “spray and pray” method of delivering inspirational messages or running packaged videos and hoping for the best. Too many times, participants are motivated more by the free lunch, or time spent away from daily tasks.

When follow-up feedback on the training session is sought, the response is typically a noncommittal “it was good.” When managers continue the questioning, asking what participants learned that could help their work performance or the steam system’s effectiveness, they often receive an eye-opening response. The reality is that many existing training programs are more oriented toward selling products than changing personal behavior and sharpening everyday system operation.

The key to changing attitudes is involvement. Sound, effective steam system training should incorporate discussion groups and simulation exercises that get participants involved in the topic, rather than passively listening to videos or speakers. This type of involvement both coaches skills and impacts attitudes, which will ultimately change behavior for the better.

Before recruiting or hiring an instructor, make sure the individual chosen has a strong proficiency in involving students. Test the instructor if possible, to learn his level of skill at delivering training content. Too many times, training will fail due to the instructor’s inability to delivery the material using methods learners will be able to comprehend and put to use. Instructors who use stories all day long in their presentations are storytellers—not instructors.

The benefits of creating involvement are plain, and have ample documentation in practice.

As an example, we did a study with a private corporation on the comprehension levels achieved by various training techniques in steam system training at industrial plants. See accompanying section “Comprehension Levels by Training Techniques. All groups were tested before and after training.

Group interaction is the best method of steam system training, along with the certainty of a test for the attendees at the completion of the class. When training, the trainer needs to teach knowledge of the steam system through the use of carefully developed exercises that assure proficiency. Trainers need to focus on examples, and allow the attendees to execute their knowledge through exercises.

When this type of interactive, positive learning takes place, the result is improved steam system utilization, cost savings, and wiser use of energy. It also creates a more positive attitude toward training in general, which sets the stage for further profitable improvements in a company’s future. MT

Kelly Paffel is technical manager, Plant Support & Evaluations, Inc., 282 Shellstone Ct., Naples, FL 34119; (239) 353-6900 . He is a member of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Steam Challenge Committee and DOE Steam Training Committee and on the board of directors for Quantum Steam Organization, a nonprofit society for steam professionals.


Although this article is written specifically for steam system training, the concepts can be applied to training for other systems, such as compressed air or other utilities.


Group interaction learning with certification

68.3 percent comprehension

Internet training with interaction and testing

43.9 percent comprehension

Individual CD training

32.7 percent comprehension

Video training

29.1 percent comprehension

“Spray and pray”

17.3 percent comprehension

All groups were tested before and after training.

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7:11 pm
March 1, 2004
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Reliability-Based Maintenance Program Creates New Breed of Technician

Eastman Kodak turns to college for certificate program.

Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, NY, knows that being competitive in a global marketplace requires a lean, cost-efficient operation. So finding innovative ways to maximize productivity is a priority. That is why it has one of the most aggressive asset management programs of its kind.

A key element in this strategy centers on the work performed by Kodak’s maintenance technicians. To better prepare these employees to succeed in a proactive maintenance environment, Kodak turned to the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). The result is a one-of-a-kind academic certificate program in reliability-based maintenance that is rewarding Kodak with a healthier bottom line.

A different approach
“ The objective was to give shop floor maintenance workers the skills and knowledge to initiate reliability improvements,” said Kodak engineer Mark Christianson. In addition, management wanted a quick cycle time for students to complete the program—less than 1 year—and a measurable return for the investment.

A traditional degree did not fit these criteria. However, RIT was able to accommodate Kodak by taking a flexible approach to the challenge. The school designed a seven-course certificate in reliability-based maintenance that technicians could complete in 10 months.

To measure the return on investment, a unique twist was added: students were assigned live projects that ran throughout the course of their studies. This format let maintenance workers apply the new skills they were learning while allowing managers to track the cost savings (or potential cost savings) generated by each project.

Students accept the challenge
Kodak recruited nearly two dozen maintenance mechanics and technologists. Classes were held on site in the late afternoons so workers could participate between shift changes. During the course of the 10-month program, students were immersed in reliability tools, quality statistics, and investigative techniques.

“ It was difficult at times but worth it. Seven courses in 10 months is definitely challenging,” said maintenance technician Tim Wheatley. “The instructors collaborated to make our in-class assignments fit the projects we were working on, and the tools we learned are making a big difference in how we approach a problem on the shop floor. We also learned the value of getting good data. Without it you can’t put the reliability tools into practice.”

“ I’m proud of this group,” said Norm Jagodzinski, RIT’s lead instructor in the program. “Some students hadn’t opened a textbook in 20 years and they were learning statistics.” He is a reliability expert who has worked for Bell Aerospace and counseled both the Ford and Carter administrations about the subject.

“ It wasn’t easy for them, but I’m confident in their abilities to identify where reliability-based maintenance can work and then apply the tools to minimize equipment downtime and save Kodak money,” Jagodzinski added.

The proving ground
Proof of the program’s success was seen when the student teams presented their final project findings to management. Included in their reports were the reliability tools they used, results from the data they collected, recommended actions to take, and the cost savings associated with the solutions. One team presented a simple yet elegant remedy that is an example of how the program is improving Kodak’s operations.

The problem statement for the project charged a group of three Kodak maintenance technicians to find a solution for motorized overhead shutter doors that were failing. Some of the doors accumulate many thousands of cycles per year and the mean time between failures was declining.

When a door fails, it can leak white light into factory space, spoiling photographic film. In addition, the doors are expensive to fix and maintain, and downtime for repairs cuts into scheduled production time.

Using the reliability tools they learned in class, the team conducted an analysis of the failure modes contributing to the door problems. Using root cause analysis, they narrowed the problems down to specific failures that kept recurring.

The team then determined that the cause of the failures could be solved by adding weight to the bottom of the doors. This solution would prevent the doors from sticking open and also eliminate the need for expensive weekly lubrication service performed by an outside contractor.

Since the team’s solution was implemented in September 2002, over $30,000 in maintenance costs have been eliminated. In addition, not one failure has been reported in the doors that were refitted. In the next step, they hope to leverage these findings and apply their strategy throughout the manufacturing site.

Next steps
Similar successes were reported by other teams, and Kodak expects additional savings to pile up as the newly trained maintenance technicians look to apply their skills on other projects.

As a result of its success at Kodak, RIT has recently made the program available online, and students sponsored by other companies and individuals on their own are starting to take the classes. MT

Steve Kofron is outreach relationship management specialist at the Center for Multidisciplinary Studies at Rochester Institute of Technology, 31 Lomb Memorial Dr., Rochester, NY 14623-5603. For more information about when courses are offered visit RIT’s Office of Managed Academic Programs can provide information about dedicated programs customized for groups of students from a single organization, (585) 475-7054.


The reliability-based maintenance certificate completed by Kodak maintenance technicians consists of the following seven courses, which are now available on line:

Reliability I: An introduction to the concepts embodied in maintenance strategies—mainly reactive maintenance, preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance, and proactive maintenance—and in reliability-based maintenance. Reliability concepts and tools are introduced that will form the foundation of a reliability-based maintenance program.

Reliability II: An examination of the underlying probability distributions and statistical tests that are used in reliability-based/centered maintenance. Included are the exponential distribution, curve fitting techniques, the normal distribution, the lognormal distribution, extreme value statistics, the Weibull distribution, and reliability analyses of repairable systems. Graphical techniques are emphasized along with data analysis using software.

Statistics for total quality: An introduction to statistics and probability emphasizing the analysis and interpretation of variation in quality control. Topics include descriptive statistics (statistical tables and graphs, measures of central tendency, and dispersion), a brief overview of probability theory, probability distributions, sampling distributions, confidence interval estimates, and one- and two-sample hypotheses tests of means and proportions.

Problem investigation isolation and analysis: An introduction to problem solving methodologies and tools used in reliability-based maintenance. Topics include root cause analysis, fault tree analysis, FMEA, FRACAS, mechanical system failure processes, diagnostic systems/devices, RCM, and multi-variant analysis.

Reliability III: An in-depth focus on the theoretical and practical applications of reliability, availability, and maintainability. Topics include parts selection and control, reliability analysis, reliability test and evaluation, equipment production and usage, spare parts forecasting, reliability/maintainability trade-offs, and improvement techniques.

Reliability IV: A continuation of Reliability III dealing with the theoretical and practical applications of reliability, availability, and maintainability. Reliability software is used extensively by the instructor to illustrate analytical procedures and by students to complete assignments and a term project.

Report writing: Students learn the principles of organizing information into clear, concise reports, including techniques for oral reports, formal reports, and informal letter and memo reports. Also includes proposals, project status, and progress reports.

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6:14 pm
March 1, 2004
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Of Conferences and Professional Development

I recently attended two very different conferences in two distant parts of the United States. However, each of them had elements that caused me to reflect on what lies behind the current status and technological advances in the areas of maintenance and reliability. And each one led me to consider what role such conferences might play in our professional development efforts.

IMC Conference. In December, I participated in the International Maintenance Conference (IMC 2003) in Florida. This conference was attended largely by manufacturing practitioners and those that work with, consult with, or sell to those practitioners. The keynote speaker, Paul Barringer, delivered a concise review of the evolution of Reliability Engineering, reminding me that an entire body of science and engineering principles lies behind where we are today.

Paul followed the keynote with a paper more specifically describing the utilization and application of some of those principles and tools in the real world of industry and business enterprise. I was reminded (and chastened a bit) when I thought of the many times I have used trial-and-error approaches or other off-the-cuff approaches to long-standing problems.

RAMS. In January, I attended the Reliability and Maintainability Symposium (RAMS) in California. This conference, now in its fiftieth year, featured quite a bit more academic participation, along with government program managers and company quality control people, and generally dealt with reliability and maintainability from a product quality perspective.

Numerous presentations concerned advanced statistical models, software diagnostic systems, and other mathematical and statistical tools. I was often over my head and struggling to grasp some of the finer points. But it also reinforced my awareness that there are basic scientific and mathematical principles underlying our manufacturing processes, and that we should understand and make more use of them as we grapple with our own maintenance and reliability situations.

Commonality. What the two conferences shared was that the attendees were taking advantage of an opportunity to develop themselves professionally. The keynote speeches, the other presentations, the tutorials, the workshops, the panel discussions, and the networking all served to provide significant professional development as individuals or teams shared their knowledge and experience. They learned from each other.

Purposes. In thinking about my experiences at conferences such as these two, or others such as the SMRP conference, or MARCON, or the upcoming MARTS, it occurs to me that while conferences serve many purposes, two particular ones stand out—to remind us of how much we do not yet know, and to remind us of how much we do know but do not utilize.

I am always amazed (and a little distressed at my ignorance) at discovering the new and exciting things that are occurring in maintenance and reliability technology and management of equipment and processes.

I am also amazed at discovering the old and exciting things that already exist and that I have simply forgotten or pushed out of my mind. The appropriateness of applying engineering and mathematical principles to eliminate problems rather than use seat-of-the-pants approaches to work on problems is one that often applies to me. Another is the reminder that there are other people with a myriad of tools that can assist us instead of our being caught up in the “I’m the only one with this problem” syndrome.

Roles. Conferences can play an important part in professional development, although only a part (we need other more specific development activities as well). They certainly offer some immediate knowledge and information to help us develop ourselves right then during the conference. But perhaps the bigger role conferences play is to remind us of how much we need to continuously work at developing ourselves. The maintenance and reliability world is built on basic principles that we need to embrace and utilize. But this world is also built on the rapidly changing implementation of those principles through different tools and systems. Thus, we also need to constantly keep ourselves up-to-date on those new tools.

Your plans. Let me offer these suggestions. Attend and participate in conferences as often as you reasonably can. Utilize them as one very important part of your personal plan for professional development. But remember to pursue more focused and specific development activities as well. MT
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6:12 pm
March 1, 2004
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The Challenge of Change Revisited


Robert C. Baldwin, CMRP, Editor

The Challenge of Change. That was the title of the presentation I was making 5 years ago at various maintenance and reliability events. I was talking about expansive change and my speech was heavily laced with dot-com and e-stuff: eProcurement, eManufacturing, and even eMaintenance (however, I was using e to represent efficiency, effectiveness, enterprise, and excellence).

Although the content of that speech has changed, the title remains valid today, perhaps even more so than back then when we were talking about the so-called new economy. Now, we are talking about a business recovery without jobs and other challenges to our regions, industries, plants, and the maintenance function, and probably your job.

Last week, in two different meetings of maintenance and reliability professionals, I heard vastly contrasting stories from some of the participants of the challenges they are facing.

On the down side, one of the participants in a multinational company was informed that top management “felt” his plant was overstaffed and that head count must be reduced by 25 percent. (How would your maintenance organization react to such a loss of personnel and know-how?)

Participants from two other companies were unable to attend one of the meetings because company policy had frozen travel. One was under intense competitive pressure in an industry where its former leadership position was virtually wiped out by new technology. The other had a change in leadership at the top and many activities were put on hold until the new leadership could disseminate new policies and procedures.

On the up side, one company said it was investing $600 million in new plant and equipment. Another told of the reliability centered maintenance study being planned to determine a maintenance strategy for new automated production lines to be installed in multiple plants.

One group is facing stress from expansive change while the other is facing stress from constrictive change. In both cases, I would think that people with solid maintenance and reliability skills and knowledge would have the best chance of dealing with that stress.

Our Professional Development Quarterly section includes articles that offer some helpful information on how to build the skills you and your collegues may need to be successful: Of Conferences and Professional Development, Bridging the Gap Between Training and Knowledge: Characteristics of a Successful Training Program That Improves the Performance of a Workforce, Reliability-Based Maintenance Program Creates New Breed of Technician,

We hope it helps you cope with the challenge of change facing you and your organization. MT


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6:10 pm
March 1, 2004
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Was it the Chicken or Was it the Egg?

wiremanIn today’s competitive environment, companies are mining every opportunity to increase their profits. They are using information systems to gather data and then convert this data to business intelligence on which to base their decisions. However, in most companies, the maintenance and asset management function is not having a large measure of success in this approach to business improvement.

The main reason is poor utilization of existing CMMS/EAM systems.

Just as companies perform a root cause analysis when they have a problem with their equipment, they can also perform an analysis on this problem. As historical failures of CMMS/EAM systems are analyzed, four major causes of the problems are highlighted.

“It’s just a software project” mentality. This problem usually develops when the CMMS/EAM purchase is part of an overall strategic software purchase. There is emphasis on the overall project, but little emphasis is placed on the maintenance business function.

This results in the system implementation driving the business rather than the business driving the implementation. The focus is not on improving maintenance and reliability practices, but rather just getting the software to “go live.” The system actually impairs the maintenance business.

Lack of business process improvement. This problem develops when a CMMS/EAM purchase is mandated due to the company changing hardware or software environments. The main focus is the software, rather than understanding the internal business processes that will be affected.

Instead of understanding the best practices for the internal business (in this case maintenance and reliability) and insuring the software will support these practices, the technical aspects of the software take priority. This focus will restrict the maintenance and reliability business from achieving best practices in a cost-effective manner and will negatively impact the return on investment for the project.

Partial or incomplete implementation. This problem develops when the budget and resources to implement a CMMS/EAM are not clearly understood. Usually when the CMMS/EAM implementation is only part of a corporate system initiative, the resources necessary to gather, verify, and load the system databases are severely underestimated.

It is also typical for the CMMS/EAM system to be the last part of the project implemented. This results in budget and scheduling problems. The data is partially loaded, with the thought of nameplate data for equipment and stores to be added as “we use the system.” Also, the preventive maintenance tasks are developed as outlines, with most of the important details left out or made “generic” so as to speed up the implementation.

This approach has never been successful in almost 30 years of CMMS/EAM history.

Partial or incomplete utilization. This problem develops when the CMMS/EAM system is implemented without a 3- to 5-year strategic business plan for maintenance and reliability. The software is dropped in and the department is supposed to use it to “do its job.” There are no goals and objectives, no organization structure, no roles and responsibilities, no staffing (headcount and skill levels), and no performance indicators.

In other words, there is no clear direction on which to focus the results of the system implementation. Without proper supervisory planning and clerical support, the data entered into the system is fragmented, inaccurate, and incomplete.

The results, in the form of various reports and supposed performance indicators, are suspect at best. This results in senior management dissatisfaction with the system because the data is meaningless and cannot be used as a basis for reliable decision making and strategic planning.

Solution? The solution to these problems is to understand that the maintenance and reliability functions for any company are core competencies and are critical to the survival of any business.

Without this understanding, companies will always sub-optimize their profitability. The business intelligence to provide this understanding to senior executives resides in the CMMS/EAM.

Unless these systems are treated as mission critical business systems, the understanding of senior executives will never be raised to a level that will insure proper priority is placed on the maintenance and reliability function. It really is the chicken and the egg. MT
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4:35 pm
March 1, 2004
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Establishing a Solid Foundation for an Asset Management Program

Simply buying a CMMS does not constitute asset management. A solid program requires integration of best practices that meet the needs of all aspects of an organization.

Establishing a comprehensive asset management program is not a task that a utility should undertake casually. The process entails integrating new business policies and procedures while simultaneously managing the changes that will affect every operating unit within an organization.

To be successful, a methodical approach must be employed that is based on agreement among all parties. Consensus is reached by fostering among participants a thorough understanding of the organization’s needs and the best business practices and technologies currently available to address those needs. To be successful over the long term, an asset management program must be built on a solid foundation that is supported by three pillars—organization, planning, and education.

Organizational requirements
At the outset, there needs to be a dedicated program/project manager assigned to the asset management initiative who will institute organization and facilitate and coordinate education. It is imperative that this individual be involved from the program inception, along with a senior management steering committee (SC) with representatives from all lifecycle departments, including planning, finance, engineering, procurement, construction, operation, and maintenance.

The asset management team needs to grow together along every corner, bump, and stretch of the “improvement highway” on the journey to excellence.

Getting started
A guiding principle for a change management initiative is to treat it like a

capital project, with a manager, scope, schedule, and budget. Figure 1 demonstrates how all the aspects of an asset management program work together.

The program manager serves as the responsible party educating and reporting to the SC and is accountable to the SC for program design, implementation, and sustainment.

The program manager is assigned to work on the process, where the focus is to facilitate process changes, such as adopting best business practices, while other staff at all levels and disciplines are still focused on normal duties, and so they are considered working in the process.

During the implementation period, the SC members—and eventually in-house implementation task teams—will need to devote some portion of their time on the process. The program manager ensures a timely and effective implementation of key program elements and associated efficiencies.

An asset management initiative is a far-reaching endeavor that involves all asset lifecycle management departments. Initially, it is imperative that all business units reach consensus on program goals and objectives. To be successful, the program needs to be integrated with all applicable departments and programs.

The program manager should ensure that all business unit needs have been solicited and that issues have been resolved and accounted for. The program manager also will need to document all decisions and efforts and secure concurrence among SC members for program elements, budgets, and schedules.

Based on research, cross-industry benchmarking, and implementation at a complex public utility (see accompanying section, “MWRA Background”), the following program progression is recommended.

It is imperative that the asset management team understands all business-unit needs and how they fit within the program. The “Education” step is critical, focusing on the theme that everyone’s asset management knowledge progresses uniformly. The program manager will facilitate and coordinate events required to educate the team (referred to as “technology transfer”), including the following:

• Consultant presentations
• Vendor presentations covering maintenance, computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), software, condition monitoring tools, warehouse
• Case studies
• Site visits to organizations of similar size and complexity that implement asset management programs
• Documentation of results/findings and recommendations for incorporation into the asset management program, including reports and meeting minutes

Many organizations believe that asset management is the purchase of a CMMS; however, a CMMS is only one tool in the asset management toolbox. The education process will allow senior staff to recognize the available best practices and their interrelationship—and that when combined into an asset management effort, best practices offer a cost-effective approach to the management of assets.

Gap analysis
Upon conclusion of the Education step, the team will have assembled a list of best practices available to them. The team will need to select appropriate business practices for their organization. In addition, future staffing and training requirements will need to be analyzed and funding appropriated.

For example, one key tool is the use of a CMMS to assign, track, and trend maintenance work. The daily use of a CMMS will require a manager and several planner/scheduler positions. Existing staff will require initial and ongoing training. Also, software purchases may require additional IT staffing and budgeting for regular software upgrades. Finally, the gap analysis will identify the need for a budget for consultants required to implement many of the other best practices.

The team will develop a phased implementation plan and schedule. In conjunction with applicable business units, the program manager will develop consultant/service/software Request for Proposals/Qualifications (RFP/Q) documents based on the plan to “fill the gap.”

Instead of a consultant or vendor selling the team a one-size-fits-all program (such as a CMMS), the team will now have a customized program to meet its requirements. This approach ensures that all stakeholders have made educated decisions, which leads to a smoother and more efficient implementation of program elements.

Most new business initiatives include the piloting of new practices to ensure applicability and identification of problems before investing in the full cost of implementation, or rollout. Pilot results also allow the team time to make any necessary adjustments in the program.

The program manager will work with other business units through piloting programs. Once pilot programs are completed, the asset management program schedule will be adjusted to accommodate findings. The pilot should be treated as a confirmation of a well-developed plan, not as a test for various options.

The program manager is responsible to plan, track, and report rollout progress to the SC. The program manager develops and implements both a multi-site status report to track and report rollout progress and a communication plan that is designed to share program progress, results, and successes with all staff. The program manager also coaches and coordinates the various task team efforts to successful completion.

This approach may be nontraditional where past practice has typically been to hire a consultant to direct a project. This program, however, is about managing change, rather than having change imposed from the outside. Utility leaders today need to focus on assigning dedicated in-house staff to initiate and develop a programmatic approach. Benefits to this approach include:

• The accountable program manager ensures a consistent, organization-wide implementation
• The program is developed and implemented in a timely and efficient manner
• Team member technology transfer occurs harmoniously
• The program is built on educated decisions
• Benefits are tracked, documented, and communicated—early and often
• The program is supported by all stakeholders prior to purchasing costly services and software
• The vision and direction are set by the owner, not by a consultant MT

John Fortin is the program manager for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s Facilities Asset Management Program. John Colbert is assets manager and Ted Regan is work coordination manager for MWRA. They can be reached at 100 First Avenue, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, MA 02129.

MWRA Background

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) is a large, unionized public utility serving 2.6 million people in the Boston metropolitan area. In 2000, the MWRA embarked on a comprehensive, multi-phased asset management initiative. Its program includes dedicated staff along with a diverse senior management steering committee that organized early, communicated often, and conducted research and cross-industry benchmarking that allowed for a timely implementation of best practices, resultant efficiencies, and cost-saving benefits. MWRA’s program is considered to be a model in public sector asset management.

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Asset Management Program Wheel Model


Fig. 1. This wheel model demonstrates how in any asset management program, research and benchmarking should provide life, and
a master plan is necessary to keep all aspects of the program functioning properly.

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