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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Maintenance Strategies. A preview of the results from the Eight Critical Elements of Asset Management Survey

Maintenance Strategies.
A strategy is the who, what, when where and how of maintaining your assets. Strategies are not “set and forget”, they are living documents that should be reviewed and improved continuously. What methods do you use to review strategies? Do the strategies address the failure modes of your assets? Who is involved in the review process? The review and development of strategies is a critical component of Asset Management.

In years gone by, when maintenance labor was plentiful, there were some very extensive Planned maintenance programs in place, with most being based on the “best guess” of the experienced people in the business. The results were often a plant that was being over serviced or the servicing was occurring on equipment that had very low failure rates. In the last 20 years there has been a significant movement to actions being based on the mitigation of failure modes. Some of these tools are breifly described below.

Tools for Improving Maintenance strategies.

A tool is anything used as a means of accomplishing a task or purpose. The following generic tools are used widely in determining new or revising existing Maintenance Strategies.

Reliability Centred Maintenance. RCM
Reliability Centred Maintenance is defined by John Moubray as “a process used to determine what must be done to ensure that the physical asset continues to fulfil its intended functions in its present operating context” (1993, pg.7). RCM was born from the airline industry in the US in the early 70’s in response to the statutory maintenance requirements that had to be applied to larger aircraft such as Boeings 747. It was determined that the cost of applying the standards to these aircraft would make them uneconomical to operate (Smith and Hinchcliffe, 2004). The basis of RCM is to ensure equipment maintains its function and the process requires that the following seven questions be answered (Moubray, 1993).
1. What is the function of the equipment and what are the required performance standards?
2. In what ways can it fail to perform its function?
3. What could cause each functional failure?
4. What happens when the failure occurs?
5. In what way does the failure matter?
6. What can be done to prevent the failure?
7. What has to be done if the failure can’t be prevented?
Smith and Mobley (2008) highlight the following types of asset management strategies that may be developed from an RCM process.
1. Condition based tasks. E.g. Oil is sampled from a transformer and the results of the analysis determine if further maintenance is required.
2. Scheduled restoration. E.g. A Sheave bank running in a corrosive environment that requires overhaul at fixed intervals.
3. Scheduled Discard. E.g. The replacement of oil in a combustion engine.
4. Failure finding task. E.g. Calibration of instrumentation. The fault may not be discovered until the calibration is done.
5. One-time change. Typically a one off redesign.
RCM in its pure form is a resource hungry process that should only be applied to the most critical of assets. The results from the process if performed properly and coupled with assessment of historical failures will produce efficient and effective maintenance strategies, but this will be at the expense of a significant amount of time for plant staff and the project analyst.
Failure Modes and Effects Analysis. FMEA.
A Failure Mode and Effects Analysis is an integral part of the RCM process and deals with questions 2, 3 and 4 of the 7 RCM questions listed above. Teng and Ho (1996) define FMEA as a technique that identifies the potential failure modes of a device or product, determines the effects of these failures and assesses the criticality of the failure.

An FMEA completed on DC machines in an Australian Steel mill revealed the following most likely causes of DC machine failure to be:
1. Contamination of motor by Dust, Dirt fumes etc.
2. Inadequate maintenance practices. (Internal and contract)
3. Inadequate brush tension
4. Over tensioning of belts or shaft misalignment.
5. Overheating due to ineffective ventilation
6. Neutral axis and compounding issues.
7. Overloading.
8. Inadequate lubrication (Too much or not enough).
9. Incorrect or ineffective protection devices.
These findings were used to improve the existing PM’s with excellent results. Over a 3 year period there was a 70% reduction in DC motors that failed in service.

Planned Maintenance Optimisation. PMO

Planned Maintenance Optimisation is a process where existing PM inspections and failure history are used to form the basis of a new set of strategies. This can provide a similar output to classical RCM in far less time. As unknown failure modes are not addressed in the first instance the process allows for input of potential failure modes after the initial assessment. This process couples the PMO top down approach with the RCM bottom up approach and in many cases will be the best option for mature businesses with existing PM systems and access to failure history. New businesses with no existing systems or failure history will need to apply more classical methods such as a RCM or a knowledge based process.
Management support of strategy optimization.
The most significant step related to gathering management support for a strategy review process is educating them in the critical elements of asset management. It is common for managers to see maintenance as a cost that can be cut, and not an investment in the future of the operation. Question 57 is aimed at gauging whether management support the review of, and optimization of maintenance strategies.

Question 57.

The results here were surprising with 54% rating a 4 or a 5. This indicates management have a clear understanding of the importance of optimisation of maintenance strategies. A further 30% support strategy review but do not have a clear understanding of the benefits. With this high level of management support there should be little reason not to progress with improvements.

Scheduled review of strategies.

How many businesses have been using the same strategies with little or no review processes in the last 10 years? When your tradesmen suggest a change to a strategy is there a system in place to review the suggestion for suitability? There needs to be a systems in place to review older PM’s to determine if they are still relevant and are addressing known or potential failure modes.
There also needs to be a system in place to capture and review feedback gathered from the tradesmen who are doing the task. One of the most significant contributors to work instructions not having any feedback left on them is that when comments had been made before, no actions followed. This is an incredible demotivator for many. Question 58 will determine how often maintenance strategies are reviewed.

Question 58.

With 39% of respondents scoring a 4 or a 5 the level of formal review of strategies was higher than expected. 52% of respondents indicated a less formal or more ad-hoc manner of strategy review, with 9% having no process at all. To remove the waste from maintenance strategies and ensure actions within these strategies are effective a process involving the identification and mitigation of failure modes must be applied. This can be in the form of FMEA, RCM, and PMO etc. The other point to remember is that strategies will need to be changed to accommodate changing production demands. For this reason, a formal review schedule should be put in place. This could be in the form of regular audits of work instructions or detailed reviews of total strategies.

Maintenance supervisors and strategy review.

With strategy review being a critical component of this element, it becomes clear that someone needs to be responsible for the review process. Question 59 questions whether the development and review of Maintenance strategies is included in the job responsibilities of Maintenance supervisors.

Question 59.

The telling result here is that 39% of maintenance supervisors that review their strategies in an ad-hoc manner and a further 30% that do little review or none at all. With only 31% scoring a 4 or 5 this is an area of significant opportunity for many businesses.
Include the review of maintenance strategies in the job goals of maintenance supervisors at all levels. The Maintenance Team Leader may be responsible for feedback on work instructions, the Area Supervisors could arrange regular work instruction audits, where the maintenance manager may include large formal strategy review processes in the maintenance budget. Making people responsible for strategy review will make it occur and the benefits will come.

Involvement in Strategy review.

An effective strategy review process will only occur if a representative of all stakeholders are involved in the process. This will gain a significant amount of local knowledge as well as building ownership of any revised strategy. Questions 60 will determine to what degree operations and maintenance employees are involved in the development of strategies.

Question 60.

What is pleasing here is that 35% of respondents indicated that operations and maintenance personnel are regularly or always involved in strategy review. 32% of respondents indicated some input while 33% have little or no involvement. The aim here should be that there is always involvement with stakeholders. When strategy review processes occur in isolation it is unlikely that the outcome will be as best as it could be, as one persons view will be not uncover all possible failure modes or the actions that will prevent the failures. The ideal situation is to have a senior mechanical fitter, an electrician, an operator and maintenance leader involved in the review process. The important aspect here is to get a total understanding as to what failures occur and whether the actions currently occurring address these failures. If no actions are currently in place the group should decide on what actions to implement, and making these decisions as a group will build ownership of the strategy. It is worthwhile considering the use of a strategy review tool and experienced facilitator during these reviews.

Maintenance strategies and the CMMS.
If you have a CMMS, it will have the ability to store and manage the work instructions that are working documents of your asset management strategies. Question 61 is aimed at understanding the level at which strategies and work instructions are stored in the CMMS.

Question 61.

With only 40% scoring a 4 or a 5 in this question there is clear room for improvement. As your CMMS is generally made to manage your strategies it is the obvious this is where they should be kept. If there are some work instructions or operating procedures that are kept in other systems, then these should be linked to the CMMS. This may be the case if a third party is providing software tools to help with strategy development.

More sections of this survey will be posted in the blog over the next few weeks.

Friday, December 4, 2009

An excellent article on safe electrical testing

This article from Fluke via reliable the plant website is a must read for electrical workers. In my industry we have moved on from alot of this thinking, but old habits die hard.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

SAP. An excellent system...at a cost!

I attended the SAP PM conference on the Gold Coast Australia mid November, and as usual found the content varied in quality, however I came away thinking that I had learned something from this event which has been running for over a decade.

The most interesting information was related to the advancements coming with the new SAP gui and the endless amount of add on tools that are being developed to complement SAP, many of which were presented at the conference.

The common feeling myself and some of my colleagues had after attending a presentation or visiting a vendor was, "That looks really great, but I expect it will cost too much". I then walked away disappointed in that any of these advances are not likely to be seen for some time as they have to be applied at a corperate level at significant cost.

I would like to here of any tips or tricks that utilise SAP PM' s standard functionality, that can be applied locally and only cost time?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What standards do you accept in relation to safety?

I was lucky enough to be able to take some time out in Cairns this month, which is located in Tropical far North Queensland in Australia. (For non Aussies) Cairns is a base for a fleet of large boats that take people out to the Great Barrier Reef every day. I gotta say, if you get a chance to do this it is really worthwhile.

So what has this got to do with Safety?

I dont spend a lot of time around boats so it was interesting to me to watch the practices of the crew which do everything from run the boat through to serving the passengers. While standing on a large floating platform that had hand rails all round, I watched a crew member climb over the hand rail, stand on the side of the pontoon and time his jump onto another boat that was tied up but pitching badly. He then ran to the nearest handrail climbed rapidly up a verticle ladder, while the whole time the boat was pitching all over the place. A minute later he did exactly the same in reverse. Now I'm sure he had done this many times before, but the margin for error was enormous. If he had slipped while jumping he could very easily been squashed between two boats, or bashed his head on the side of the boat. Being a manager who has safety embedded in my brain, I should have questioned what he was doing, but been complacent in an environment I was not used to, I said nothing. ( Not so good)

Would we accept this behavior in industry? This sort of behavior at my work place would have started a safety inquisition, final warnings given and communication to the world. In hindsight I believe when this sort of behavior is accepted in any workplace, it is only time until the big disaster occurs. They really aren't looking after their own.

On the other hand the processes for ensuring all customers are accounted for at the end of the day are exceptional. All passengers sign on when boarding, and countersign when they enter the boat for the return journey. After that two crew members do an independent count to ensure all are on-board. What a great system, so why do they look after their customers so well?

For those Aussies, you may remember a few years back two Americans were left behind on a reef excursion and never found again.

It shouldn't take a disaster to ensure excellent safety system are in place. A culture of safety must be embedded in organisations.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What does a good CMMS look like?

Your CMMS is your maintenance management database, and like any database, if the input is bad the output will also be bad. A well utilised and managed CMMS is an invaluable tool that should be in close alignment with Work Management system. What does a good CMMS look like?

A Fictional example.

In a great step forward from management an experienced Reliability Engineer was hired to help improve plant reliability. The first task for this Engineer was to determine the equipment that causing the biggest losses for the business. Having had a CMMS in use for a number of years this was the obvious place to start. The first place to look was the breakdown data and this was easy to locate as all breakdown work requests had been tagged in the CMMS. The breakdown crew had been trained well in the use of the CMMS and each breakdown had been coded appropriately, which made it easy work to pareto chronic losses. The next place to look was high cost areas, so a work order cost report was run which spilt the costs against the equipment hierarchy. Because the equipment hierarchy had been structure well and all relevant hours and materials had been booked against the correct area most of the time, a picture of high cost items was developed quickly. Matching the chronic losses and costly repairs over the last 12 months it was easy to find where the effort needed to be applied, so task briefs were raised so maintenance planners could begin planning some critical repairs and Engineering could prepare some capital submissions.

The planners developed a plan in the CMMS for the repairs by estimating hours and purchasing materials, which were easy to find as they had all be catalogued and put in bills of materials. In a few instances the planning had already been done as the work had been done before, and the job had been saved as a task list in the CMMS. When all materials were avaliable for the task the scheduler reviewed his list of work orders from within the CMMS, checked his labor availability through the automated connection to the HR module, and then matched the labor to the task that would be completed in the following week. In the following week, all task were completed as they had been planned so well, the planner closed off all the tasks in the CMMS and this data was now captured for reporting. At the end of the week a PM compliance measure of 100% was reported, and planning accuracy was spot on. The capital work was still in the approval stage, but at least all the maintenance work was completed on time and to budget.

Is this how it works at your workplace?

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Rod O’Connor. Mast. MM.

We have all heard how people say that planned work is safer than working reactively. If we were to explore this scenario by role-playing a day in the life of two organisations; one that is planned and in control versus the other that is a highly reactive business.

But first, when we say “reactive”, what does this really mean? In short, reactive maintenance is characterised by practices such as running the equipment until it fails and very little preventative maintenance performed. The maintenance department predominantly works on breakdowns and are usually in emergency crisis for the majority of their time. Its common characteristics are that it is unplanned and urgent. A more stringent view of reactive maintenance is work you didn't plan to do on a Monday morning, but had to do before the next Monday.

Let us visualise the scenario of a Monday morning in the life of the two organisations, one planned and the other reactive. The organisation that is planned will have a fair proportion, around 80% (if they are very good), of their week’s work planned and scheduled. They know that they have a fairly hazardous job to complete on a specific day of the week, which involves the use of contractors working at heights and in a confined space. The planner, who is trained in the procedures of confined space work and has planned many a confined space job, has all the necessary steps prepared, including an agreed off-line duration with production. The isolation has been planned, the risks associated with the job have been assessed and control measures put in place. All the necessary labour, materials and equipment are ready – i.e. gas monitors (to monitor the atmosphere), safety and rescue gear (bottled air, harnesses, davits, etc). He has pre-organised the relevant safety personnel to be on standby for the job – i.e. a safety person trained in first aid, the company’s rescue people have been notified of the pending job, etc. Everyone is fairly confident as to the safe execution of the job.

By contrast, the reactive organisation will not know what work will surface during the course of the week. As bad luck would have it, they are off to a bad start already with several breakdowns consuming all of their labour. Just when they thought things could not get any worse, they get a call to tell them that the plant has stopped due to a major breakdown in which repairs are required within a confined space. Most of their fitters are trained in confined space procedures, be it no one tradesman utilises their skills regularly. They have to improvise and shuffle a couple of jobs around to tackle this higher priority job. Nothing is prepared so they set about organising the job, all the time whilst the plant should be running, so they are under a fair bit of pressure to get things on-line again.

The second scenario may seem a little dramatic, but in reality, this is what actually happens in reactive organisations. Inefficiencies aside, if there were to be an accident within one of the above scenarios, it is a fair bet that it would be in the organisation that is reactive.

A recent survey Reliability and Maintenance II: Safety and Reactive Maintenance (n.d.), supports the above statement in that it claims 66% of all respondents from various organisations estimated that more than 60% of incidents occurred when a maintenance job is executed reactively.

So if you are passionate about improving the reliability within your business and having trouble convincing upper management as to the benefits, then make sure that you articulate the ties to safety and reliability. A safe business is a reliable business is a profitable business. You cannot have one without the others.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gaining support for Asset Management Improvements

Back in the good old days which wasn't all that long ago our management only saw maintenance as a cost and didn't understand the reasons behind poor reliability of their processes. To gain management support the reliability issues had to be put in their face; meaning take them to where the problem was occuring and explain what we should be doing. Acting on issues led to belief that a difference could made. A great example was an automated cleaning line process that was consistantly having major breakdowns in excess of 8 hours. The control system was also unreliable with regular short stoppages that drove operators crazy. Data was gathered to highlight where the issues were, and actions were put in place to improve the maintenance startegies and upgrade the redundant control system. To help gain team support most of the activities involved the team from reviewing startegies to having input into control system upgrades.

The out come was the reduction of significant breakdowns from around once a month to once a year. The chnages to the control system reduced stoppages that require operator intervention by over 80%. The effect on R and M costs were that the cost per tonne dropped by 30% over a 5 year period.

Support from Mangement and the team had been earned. The problem now is that people have short memories so you have to continually work at it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Following the Asset Reliability Roadmap

Acknowledge your reality. Are you always working reactively and rarely have enough time to resolve issues so they do not reoccur? do you have maintenance planners and how well are you using them? Do you manage spares? Is a work management process in place? Use the asset reliability road map’s Benchmarking tool to understand your reality. The findings from this tool will allow you to build a Vision for the future. Go to asset management benchmarking tool.

Develop a Vision. Do you believe your equipment will be more reliable in 12 months time if you do nothing different? The reality is “if you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you have always got”. No matter where you are in your asset reliability journey, you need to develop a vision of where you want to be in 2 to 3 years time. This vision becomes your business plan, of which the detail will become part of a submission to management and your workgroup. Use the asset reliability road map’s vision development tool to help to build your vision. Go to the Vision development tool.

Gain Management support and Gain Team support. These sections of the journey to improved asset reliability are the biggest roadblocks, and they will make or break your efforts from here on in. Without management and work team support your best efforts will never be embedded and are doomed to fail.

The key to gaining support from management is to present your Vision and Business plan convincingly, and this must be supported by evidence that what you are recommending will lead to improved asset reliability and hence more output for less cost.

To gain support from your own team they must have been involved in the development of the vision and business plan as this will promote ownership of them. Don’t expect support if you develop a vision and then tell your people that this is what we are now doing.

So you now have a Vision and the support of management and your team. What do you need to do first?

Build or review the equipment register. The equipment register is the backbone of your reliability journey. All of your PM inspections, work instructions, maintenance history and costs will be linked to this register. Setting this up correctly is critically important, as it will help in building up accurate history of events and costs. Improvements in reliability are dependent on having accurate data complied against your equipment register.

Understand asset criticality. Your reliability improvement journey must be started on your most critical assets. An assessment of criticality should include how reliability effects the cost of lost production, the cost to repair, the effect on safety, and the effect on the environment. Generally your long standing employees will have a reasonable understanding of plant criticality, and this can be backed up by the used of a criticality assessment tool.

Work management system. Even smaller manufacturing facilities can have hundreds of work requests per month. Do you have a defined method as to how they should be handled? Does he who shout the loudest get the most attention even if the work request is a low priority? A work management model must be designed for your business. This model must define who does what, it must have a prioritisation system and a closeout system that capture history and improvement.

Develop PM’s. As you now have a work management process in place you can start to develop new, or review your existing tasklists for scheduled PM’s. Start on your most critical equipment as determined by your earlier assessment. If you have failure data, analyse it and determine your most recurring and expensive failures. Use a tool such as FMEA, RCM or PMO to determine possible failure modes. Use the collated data to build your tasks lists. This is a lot of work and needs to be effectively resourced but it will payoff in the long run.

Preventative, Predictive, Proactive? You need to focus as many of your PM tasks as possible on Predictive and Proactive Maintenance. Use technologies such as Thermography, Ultrasonic detection, Vibration Analysis or just simple visual inspections. Unless you have a well understood failure rate or there is a statutory requirements, time based overhauls need to be avoided wherever possible. Do you asses your failure data regularly? These predictive and proactive maintenance practices should feedback into your work management system so they are acted on in an appropriate manner and reasonable time frame.

Lubrication. For those of you with rotating equipment; if there was one thing you need to get right, this is it. It is obvious to state that machines break when they are not lubricated correctly, but how often is poor lubrication the cause of unplanned downtime in your business? A well-managed lubrication strategy is the place to start developing PM’s for.

Organisation structure. Does your maintenance structure meet the business needs? Most manufacturing businesses have a level of reactive maintenance. How is this managed in your workplace? Do you constantly miss doing planned work because of breakdowns? Often it makes sense to have a dedicated crew for what I call “Front line Maintenance” . This group should be sized to meet plant reactive demand. The rest of your crew are now dedicated to planned and scheduled work. Are your mix or trades correct for the business. Are you carrying other tradesman that would not be considered critical in a manufacturing environment. Often they are more cost effectively controlled as contractors. Ideally your structure should be sized to meet the base workload of your business. Extra labor requirements related to shutdowns and other special maintenance events can often be more cost effectively covered by contract labor.

Planning and scheduling. The best Maintenance organisitions plan and schedule 80% of there work, while on the other hand many industries still don’t understand the the value of planning and scheduling. Any site with more than a handful of tradesmen will benefit from having a planner. If done well improvements in reliability and costs will be realised without adding any additional labor. How can this be the case you may ask? It is widely quoted that planned work can be up to five times more cost effective than fixing things when they break. When you consider the extra costs associated with procuring equipment in a hurry, significant overtime and the loss of output when equipment is down, it isn’t to difficult to work it out.

Spares management. How often has a piece of equipment been down for an extend period because a spare part was not immediately available? Ideally all spares for your plant should be cataloged and listed in bills of materials in your CMMS. Spares deemed as critical should be kept in your local store if you have one. Alternately you should ensure your vendor can look after you in quickly in times of need. “Squirrel stores” or personal stashes of equipment is not the way to manage your spares. You are then relying on individuals to ensure they always have the parts available, and how does anyone else know is available? The other issue is that often multiple people will keep the same spare which becomes an expense the business didn’t have to incur. On the other hand how much redundant equipment is sitting on shelves and no-one can remember what it is for? “We cant throw it away, just incase we need it”. Spares are often the forgotten component of Asset management, but they are critical if you want to become one of the best.

Workforce Capability. Tradesmen/Craftsmen must be able to support the needs of the business. Do they have the skills required to effectively maintain your plant. Develop a skills matrix that details what you require from your people, then assess the abilities of the crew against the matrix to determine what needs to be done so the skill level meets the requirements. Sometimes this may be external training but more often than not, the skills can be learnt with the help of senior tradesmen or by following detailed work procedures.

Root cause analysis. So far we have been building the foundation of your Asset Management improvement journey. How can you take it to the next level? Root cause analysis processes will help you address the causes behind expensive failures or resolve those nagging issues that just wont go away. Although the concepts of RCA are fairly simple, it is a good idea to have formal training. Here in Australia Sirf have a really excellent system, and the other worth recommending is Apollo RCA. If you want a free tool go to the tools page on this web site.

Continuous improvement. If you accept your current reality, you will get what you have always got. If you decide it is time to improve then follow the Asset Reliability Roadmap as described. If you want to continue to improve you have to apply a continuous improvement philosophies to all of the above elements. Generally we are all good at implementing things but to often we don’t check how well the changes have worked. Constantly review the outcomes from your initiatives and make changes for the better. A few examples:

  • review your skills matrix on a 6 monthly basis to see if you are better meeting the business needs.
  • Get your tradesmen/Craftsmen involved in feeding back on the quality of the work instructions. (Make sure you can take some criticism about this)
  • Ensure all follow up work from inspections are entered into the CMMS.

Keep in mind that the roadmap is a guide in which detours are allowed. There may only be some of these areas that you need to work on. Also many of the steps can be completed in parallel which may shorten the journey. I cannot hide the fact that this is a tough road to follow, but if you want to help your business to survive it can only be of benefit.

Mark Brunner. Master Maint Man.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Assessing the criticality of your assets.

It seems fairly obvious that if you were going to improve the management of your assets that you would start on your most critical equipment. So do you know what is the most critical equipment on your site? Are there specific machines that are more critical than others and why? Are there specific components that will stop critical plant if they fail? Can the unplanned failure of your plant lead to an environmental or safety issue?

Some will say that criticality assessments are often a waste of time and that this information is in the heads of experienced plant personnel. In many cases this is true, as you only have to ask a production planning about demand and production managers where the biggest margins are. Then there are the obvious plant services such as Power systems, Water supply, Gas supply, Boilers, Cranes etc. Often the loss of any of these services will stop a whole plant, so in most cases these will be considered critical assets. The other areas where criticality if often well understood is where failures lead to significant cost to repair , environmental or safety issues.

The above statements indicate that the assessment of criticality is a piece of cake, so do you need to do it and if so how do you go about it? Often statutory requirements mean that records must be kept from this type of assessment. If statutory requirements do not effect your industry it is still a good idea to complete an assessment and document your logic behind the assessment. This takes the emotion out of deciding where asset management improvement should be focussed on. Using a simple tool in Excel or Access will help expedite the process and provide a convenient place to store the data. A simple tool for criticality assessment can be found at the following link:
Criticality tool

This tool leads you through a table of questions related to lost production, environmental and safety issues. The outcome is a score from 1 to 10. A 10 indicates the asset is the most critical and a 1 the least. If the assessment is completed at an equipment level it doesn’t take much time to complete when you involve experienced plant personnel.

You can now review your findings and start building your vision for improvement.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Developing a Vision for Maintenance Management

A Vision is where you want to be and how you will operate into the future and for a Maintenance department should be looking at around 3 years out. The vision can relate to physical issues such as, replacing redundant equipment, or it can be philosophy or cultural issues such as “We will follow the 80/20 principle”. The development of a vision will lead you into setting plans, objectives and measures which then becomes your business plan. If you don’t have this plan for the future then there will be no improvement. To remain competitive a culture of continuous improvement must be in place. What are the steps related to developing a vision and a business plan?

1. Understand the Vision goals for the overall business. Your vision should be aligned to this.
2. Review all of the components of maintenance management, understand your short fall in each area, and determine where you can make the largest improvements (Biggest bang for your buck). Be realistic about how much work you can take on over the life of the plan. Ensure your objectives can be met considering cost and labor constraints. Focus on improving systems as much as possible as often you get more gains by changing the way you do things. It’s also usually a lot cheaper.
3. Tabulate your vision into categories related to your planned objectives, the strategies you are going to use to meet your objectives, who is responsible for each task and when you expect to have the task completed.
4. Write specifications for the tasks you are planning to complete over the life of the plan.
5. Review your plan regularly to make sure it is still relevant to your situation.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Who uses SAP to schedule maintenace work?

SAP has a scheduling function embedded, and I have not yet found any company that uses this tool effectively. The most common reason for not using the tool is that it is not user friendly and limited in functionality. Generally from this, Excel spreadsheets or Microsoft Project is used to schedule work, often causing the double handling of data. These locally generated tools have often had hours of development in them and due to their complexity a level of support is required to ensure they remain usable.

I would like to here peoples successes and failures with the SAP scheduling function, or experiences with SAP add-on scheduling tools such as Promethius's Graphical Scheduling tool.

Planning and scheduling. Are they one in the same

Do your maintenance planners plan and schedule? How well do they perform both of these roles? Is there a difference? Often planners spend more time scheduling than planning. What is your experience and view on this?