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6:17 pm
August 1, 2014
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For On The Floor: Taking the Measure of Your Maintenance Team

Considering the many elements of a plant that are regularly measured by top maintenance crews, it’s interesting to learn from our Maintenance Technology Reader Panelists that measurement of the teams themselves is an inconsistent (sometimes even nonexistent) process. Similarly, recognition for superior team performance is minimal (and can be difficult to bestow upon a single group) or is simply not part of official policy. When asked how/if they measure their maintenance teams and their perspective on related issues, here’s what our Panelists had to say:

Q: How is the effectiveness of your maintenance team measured at your operation?

“We use percentage of work orders completed on time, based on the following issues: Was the problem correctly reported? Were the right parts ordered and staged? And, was the work more extensive than originally thought? All of these are considered before determining if the work order was completed on time. We use the term ‘in a timely manner’ as a catch-all to factor in these variables. As a group, our bottom-line savings are measured by our ‘warranty,’ which means that any equipment we work on carries the mechanics’ personal two-year warranty. This is how we measure our effectiveness. If [something happens] under two years, it is considered rework, which goes against our performance record.”

Maintenance Coordinator, Mid-Atlantic

“Our maintenance team’s effectiveness is measured by the following KPIs that are reviewed only at the direct supervisor and planner/scheduler level: maintenance cost per unit (MWH) produced; MTBF and OEE for the total plant; maintenance labor and material costs vs. budget targets; maintenance overtime; number of days without lost-time accidents; and the number of safety and environmental incidents.”

Mechanical Maintenance Supervisor, Midwest

“The maintenance department graphs equipment uptime and downtime by reason on Excel spreadsheets, but we currently do not utilize our CMMS work-order module effectively enough to report on completed work orders. Also, our costs are not tracked and benchmarked to the level necessary to reveal as a KPI.”

Planned Maintenance Supervisor, Midwest

“We use completed work orders as a benchmark, but work orders are issued into the system from any department at any time. The importance of which work order gets done first is a political issue, not a cost-based one. Most work orders are completed, but not always when people think they need to be done, which upsets upper management. We are graded on our ability to show bottom-line savings, but staying within a budget or showing savings on a project has not been a major problem. We are also rated by adherence to a schedule. Lost time in dollars is a very high cost to us. However, it does not matter if an operator messed up, supplies were unavailable, a power outage or something else occurred, maintenance is usually to blame.”

Senior Maintenance Engineer, West

“Our effectiveness is gauged through a Maximo-based program. The benchmarks are basically the normal world-class percentages, but I believe a lot of these numbers are skewed. We show world-class percentages month after month with our PMs, but they typically reflect more inspections than actual work performed. In reality, the biggest problem is production because it has the biggest influence over maintenance. It’s hard to do a proper five-day PM when you only have a machine for one day.”

Maintenance Leader, Midwest

“We look at very little in the way of how effectively our teams perform. We do have corporate controllers who look at bottom-line results for the maintenance team, and they give us that information for further investigation. For our company, uptime is an indicator when talking about bottom-line results and maintenance.”

Production Support Manager, Midwest

“We use percentage of work orders completed on time, with the time determined by priority of the work order. Other measures include PM Completion Percentage and PM Labor Percentage. Bottom-line savings are not a factor, but we do use pump availability as a measure, which is based on a ‘snapshot’ of the pumps available on one day of the month.”

Maintenance Engineer, West

Q: Does internal-customer feedback play a role in how your maintenance team’s effectiveness is measured?

“Yes. operations is our primary customer and they give us an evaluation on the work performed, and we use this to measure ways we can improve.”

Maintenance Coordinator, Mid-Atlantic

“Our maintenance group’s customer is Operations and their daily feedback at our staff and operations/planning/scheduling meetings is important.”

Mechanical Maintenance Supervisor, Midwest

“Production is our internal customer, and they provide feedback by replying to maintenance shift notes sent as e-mails to all departments. The shift notes are sent by the maintenance shift supervisor and contain details of maintenance activities during each shift.”

Planned Maintenance Supervisor, Midwest

“This is a political issue [which can lead to] finger pointing. When this happens, maintenance seems to be the biggest target, followed by poor operators.”

Senior Maintenance Engineer, West

“Internal feedback is used only when it is negative or when operations believes they are not getting the service they need in a timely manner. Typically, the feedback is given from the floor operators to their supervisors, then to maintenance.”

Production Support Manager, Midwest

Q: What do you think is the best way to gauge maintenance-team effectiveness? 

“The best way is to do what we currently do [noted above] along with good feedback on the problem or complaint(s) from those that use the equipment. It is hard to be effective if all the customer can say is ‘It just does not work.’ To remedy this, we established an effective troubleshooting course across all disciplines which requires operations to call us to investigate strange or unusual noises or operating characteristics.”

Maintenance Coordinator, Mid-Atlantic

“All organizations and industry leaders need some type of performance metrics and KPIs. As Peter Drucker said, ‘You cannot manage something you cannot control, and you cannot control something you cannot measure.’”  

Mechanical Maintenance Supervisor, Midwest

“It is best gauged by a combination of measurements, including equipment reliability, number of repeat failures, technicians’ wrench-time and overtime, and the proven skill level of the technicians. I don’t think we currently gauge these KPIs due to the lack of understanding of how to properly go about it, and also due to not realizing the benefits that would result in doing so.”

Planned Maintenance Supervisor, Midwest

“Today’s maintenance staffs are very professional and skilled in many areas, so they need to be treated as professionals, not as second-rate employees. One plan that seems to work is for each individual to write a yearly business plan that tells how he/she will support the overall department’s business plan. This can take several meetings with everyone in the department to decide on a realistic master plan, but it means that everyone owns the success of the department.”

Senior Maintenance Engineer, West

“Through MTBF and uptime. If trending in the correct direction, these will show that what maintenance is doing is effective. They will also produce the bottom-line results corporate expects.”

Production Support Manager, Midwest 

“The best measure is the maintenance team’s ability to maintain the required level of reliability for the company to meet its goals at an acceptable cost.”

Maintenance Engineer, West

Q: Does your company reward maintenance-team effectiveness?

“No. It is difficult to reward a single group in a union environment, but rewards for overall plant success are given to everyone.”

Mechanical Maintenance Supervisor, Midwest

“The company buys pizza for all employees when production goals are exceeded, but nothing departmentally specific.”

Planned Maintenance Supervisor, Midwest

“Not at all, but I wish they did!”

Production Support Manager, Midwest

About the MT Reader Panel

The Maintenance Technology Reader Panel includes approximately 100 working industrial maintenance practitioners and consultants who have volunteered to answer bi-monthly questions prepared by our editorial staff. Panelist identities are not revealed, and their responses are not necessarily projectable. The Panel welcomes new members: Have your comments and observations included in this column by joining the Reader Panel. To be considered, e-mail your name and contact information to rcarter@atpnetwork.com with “Reader Panel” in the subject line. All Panelists are automatically included in an annual cash-prize drawing after one year of active participation.

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