Operations + Maintenance = Production (part 5)

In the previous columns, I discussed how to promote the vitally important operations/maintenance partnership.

This is the last in my series of columns covering the operations and maintenance partnership, and it ends where it is more common to start a series like this with the vision and mission statements.


As most of us know, vision and mission statements do not always exist, and, if they do exist, they are seldom well-communicated or understood.

Not long ago, I sat in a meeting to discuss these statements with a group of operations and maintenance managers from a large international company, along with their vice president of manufacturing.

After presenting the many different statements used in different plants, it all became very confusing.

“Do we all understand the difference between vision and mission?” a frustrated manager asked. It showed that most people in the meeting could not clearly define the difference, yet they all had documented statements.

To make a long story short, it was decided that a vision statement should explain what the organization would like to become or where the organization would like to be in the future.

On the other hand, a mission statement should explain the purpose of the organization’s existence.

It was also determined that these statements would be decided on a corporate level as a decree. How each organization accomplished the mission was left up to that organization.

A long discussion followed on the different roles of production and maintenance, and, at the end, it was determined that production is a partnership not an internal customer relationship and this must be reflected in the vision and mission statements.

Nomenclature therefore needed changing so that production became the common denominator for operations and maintenance.

If you read the previous columns, and agreed to the approach, the following should be easy to agree on:

  • The result of maintenance work is equipment reliability (and preservation/prolonging life of assets).
  • The result of operations work is process reliability.
  • Together, the result is production reliability.

Consequently, in our meeting, the mission statement for maintenance was agreed to read as, “To deliver cost-effective equipment reliability,” and, for operations, “To deliver cost-effective process reliability.”

The term cost-effective means that the cost to accomplish a result must be less than the value the result is expected to deliver in comparison with other investment alternatives.

The joint mission statement was decided upon as, “Operations and maintenance shall together deliver cost-effective production reliability.”


The vision statement for maintenance is built on what we call current best practices (CBP). Each key process in reliability and maintenance is identified and documented, for example:

Leadership and Organization; Planning and Scheduling; Preventive Maintenance; Technical Database; Stores Management; Root Cause Problem Elimination; and so forth. Each of these key processes is broken down into sub-processes.

For example, within the key process of Planning and Scheduling is the sub-process of Work Request.

This sub-process contains elements such as Scope of Work Defined, Equipment Number Defined, and so forth.

The CBP document forms the basis for evaluating the gap between how good an organization is and how good it could be. Based on the agreed upon CBP document, the following vision statement was adopted during our meeting:

  • Achieve an average of 80* for all CBP elements by the year 2005

On a scale of 100
I can assure you that this is an aggressive vision; I have never done an audit that has resulted in higher than 55 on this scale.

Achieving the vision will result in increased reliability and, consequently, lower maintenance costs, but it can only be accomplished in a partnership with operations and engineering.

part1 | part2 | part 3 | part4

At IDCON, we understand the pressure you face trying to build a reliable plant.
We provide side-by-side reliability and maintenance consulting and training designed to keep your equipment running.

For over 45 years, we’ve partnered with 100s of manufacturing plants around the world to eliminate the costs and the pressure caused by unreliable equipment. And we’d love to do the same for you.

Contact us today to see how we can help you keep your plant running.

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Christer Idhammar

Christer Idhammar

Founder, IDCON INC Reliability and Maintenance Management Guru

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