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The Reliability Driven Maintenance Organization- Part II

by Christer Idhammar


One common way plant maintenance departments measure their effectiveness is by comparing maintenance costs with other plants. This is the wrong thing to do, because plants will then spend too much time and energy explaining why the figures are wrong (unless you are the best performer in this comparison) instead of focusing on ways to improve.

We also know that different accounting principles can make a difference of up to 100% in what is considered a maintenance cost, capital investment, or operations expense.

Read The Reliability Driven Maintenance Organization- Part I

Read The Reliability Driven Maintenance Organization- Part III

The focus must instead be on learning about activities, technology, and processes that drive reliability, safety and cost. For example the better planning and scheduling of maintenance work is done correlates to high manufacturing reliability, better safety and lower costs. As an example it is important to understand that predictive maintenance alone does not prevent anything. It only gives information on failures that are developing toward a breakdown. With this information, plants can "anticipate" the future and plan and schedule corrective maintenance actions. In the best case, plants can schedule the corrective action to be executed in a maintenance "window," which is the opportunity that presents itself when equipment is down for reasons other than planned and scheduled maintenance, such as changing felts, unscheduled shut downs, cleaning, process changes, market conditions, etc. The link between predictive maintenance and planning and scheduling of work is an essential basic reliability and maintenance process. Executed with precision it will increase Quality Product Throughput, improve Safety and reduce costs, still many plants do not execute this well.


The right thing to do is to benchmark the plant maintenance department and measure continuous improvement of these internal benchmarks. If comparing with other organizations plants should learn what processes best performers have in place to drive improved reliability and maintenance costs, and what they do to execute them well.

To continuously improve execution of the essential processes you need to have performance indicators instituted as close to the action as possible. This will motivate and trigger actions that will influence the overall performance (see Table 1).



Table I. In a reactive organization break in work in schedules must be reduced. During transition to an organization in control planning and scheduling quality can be added as indicator. Trends in backlog, overtime and contractor hours can be added as meaningful indicators when the organization is starting to get in control. When organization has transit to an organization in control it is important to measure to encourage Root Cause Implementations, (RCPE) done and problems eliminated.

It is important to have clear definitions on what you measure: E.g. a break in job in a daily schedule are all work added to a schedule within four hours of end of day for work scheduled to be done following day.

Table II. In this study of 38 towel and tissue machines it showed that the only strong correlation between low and high performers was how well they planned and scheduled maintenance and operations work. All machines that planned and scheduled more than 50% of work had a Reliability measured as % Quality x % Time (Time based on 8760 hours available per year) over 85%. Best top performers planned and scheduled between 75% and 90% of all work and achieved a reliability of 92% – 96%. Maintenance cost per quality ton was between 10% - 25% lower for best performers. To achieve high level of planning and scheduling best performers executed the basics of maintenance very well; Basic inspections and essential care, predictive maintenance such as vibration and oil analyses etc. and the Bill Of Material was better than 85% accurate. 



If plants perform hands-on-tools or other types of work measurements as a way to measure maintenance efficiency, they are doing the wrong thing. There are four major reasons why "work measurement" is wrong:

1.) It does not promote cooperation between management and crafts people. On the contrary, it often creates animosity.

2.) It does not consider if people are busy doing the right thing. For example, in the work measurement system, thinking time and trouble-shooting time is considered hand-off-tools and thus non-productive.

3.) Almost all time identified as non-productive by work measurement results from a lack of work management and planning and/or scheduling. In fact, it is a result of poor management.

4.) When equipment is operating, it is not true that maintenance people who are busy with hands-on tools are productive. In fact, they are very often busy doing the wrong things or pretending to be busy, or they are invisible.

In a scheduled shutdown, it is true that people are more productive if they can work on planned and scheduled work without interruptions. Again, good planning, and scheduling, or in other words, good management can only accomplish this.

Work measurement is something that does not belong in today's work environment This is not to say, however, that some plants don't still use it. On the other hand, it would be much better if the plants analyzed how well their maintenance is managed, and this includes evaluating how well managers prevent, plan and schedule (see Table 2).