At the Mainstream Conference in 2017, Andrew Schweitzer, Cold Reduction Maintenance Strategist from BlueScope, spoke about how the company broke down the requirements of ISO 55000 to identify and develop a strategy for managing their critical equipment. Here are some of the takeaways from their journey to critical asset management strategy with ISO 55000.
Note: You can also listen to the full audio of this presentation, linked with slides here.
What Drove the Need for Implementing The ISO 55000 Standard at Bluescope?
BlueScope is a large steel solutions, manufacturing and distribution company employing 9,000 employees across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.
During the global financial crisis in 2009 the company felt the pain of cutbacks, tight margins and export losses. They saw a transition to reactive maintenance and they were putting a lot of effort into activities that didn’t add value to the business. They were dealing with bottlenecks in processes, specifically following a move to SAP and with it, the transfer of uncleansed master data from a legacy system.
There was a need to implement a plan that would allow for better decision-making, risk mitigation, a better understanding of assets and critical management strategies – overall improved efficiency and effectiveness. This is when they decided to take a close look at ISO 55000 as a guide to improving the management of their assets.
The Four Fundamentals
Bluescope chose four fundamentals from ISO 55000 that were most important to the company, and focused on those aspects as the cornerstones for driving improvement. These were:
- Maximising the value the asset provides
- Alignment of the organisational objectives with the asset decision making
- Leadership and workplace culture
- Assurance/confidence that the assets will deliver on targets
With these goals in mind they went on to develop a critical asset management strategy.
The Five Step Process to Developing Critical Asset Strategy
“What we wanted to knock off first was our strategy documentation and management, and optimising what we had, as well as having a process for identifying and managing maintenance strategy,” Andrew said.
They used a five step process to define their management strategy around critical assets:
1. Define the Problem
Tip: simplicity is key if you want to get trades engaged and working through the process.
2. Analysis and Process Mapping
What is critical? What is the plan for addressing problems with that critical element?
3. Failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA)
FMEA is a step-by-step approach for identifying all possible failures in a design, a manufacturing or assembly process, or a product or service
“When we got to the FMEA stage, we were able to identify our key gaps, using the FMEA tool as a gap analysis between our current state and defects and what the control was. We saw that we were very poor at identifying what was critical and having a dedicated plan to address that,” Andrew said.
Andrew’s team then identified 5-6 key maintenance activities that they needed to do to achieve a baseline reliability of that unit. By breaking this up into a small package of work, the team were able to easily implement and work through it.
4. Initial Asset Strategy
“‘It’s okay, I’ve got one single maintenance plan here.’ We wanted to get away from the scenario of working off multiple maintenance plans,” Andrew said.
As Andrew’s team used SAP they were able to do some error proofing to ensure they didn’t end up with conflicting job tickets, where the scheduler or work coordinator would end up having to make the call as to which one they wanted to get done.
“In my opinion, a scheduler shouldn’t have the ability to decide that. Not because they’re not technically competent – they are very good people – but we shouldn’t be putting them in the position where they have to make that decision in the first place. A good, tight maintenance plan system should avoid that,” Andrew said.
5. Institutionalise the continuous improvement process and make it visual
The team took a measured and manageable approach to plotting out maintenance plans. They addressed each department, identifying the top 5 most critical pieces of equipment in each, and then doing a breakdown and report on the those.
“Start with the basics. Choose the top five and report on those, then take the journey forward. Ideally, once the top five is done, then it becomes the top 10 and you just keep building out from there. One thing we learned early on is that to try and go through this entire process as quickly as you can, to roll it out as wide as you can, is not the way to get it done. We’ve been very systematic and quite slow in implementing it, but we’re getting it right, and it does take a lot of work,” said Andrew.
Get the right people involved in the process. With building the critical maintenance plan and the detail of what a new work package is going to look like, getting the tradespeople who have worked on the machine involved is key to putting the right pack together.
“We invested a lot in our people, relieving them from their existing positions, whether it was our shift workers or our day workers, and we got them in the room and actually building the work packages, rather than handing it off to a contractor or someone else in the business who didn’t have any real, hands-on experience with it. The reason why this was important is that we got the right details, but it also trained them up and got them thinking in the space of continuous improvement. They were involved and empowered to challenge what they’d been given and to come up with solutions,” Andrew said.
Make it visual. Introduce a monthly, visual tracking standard that serves as a communication point and increases visibility for the entire team.
“Making it visual was a big thing for us. We’d look at a department and do a breakdown of the top 5 equipment. We came up with a visual standard presented on our continuous improvement/manufacturing excellence wall, where monthly we could see what the visual condition was. Green? Yep, everything is fine. Yellow? Alright, we know we’ve got a concern there, but we’ve got a plan in place to do something about it, and red is bad. This visual standard gave us a monthly metric, a communication wall that we could go and stand in front of. That’s talking to the base level of understanding and reporting on asset condition, which is something that we’ve been terrible at over the years,” said Andrew.
Utilising this approach, Bluescope achieved great success in maintenance management:
- 50% reduction in the volume of PMs
- Critical asset strategies for their “Top 5 Critical Equipment” (per department)
- Implemented a visual standard for reporting Top 5 Equipment Condition
- Year on year OEE improvement
- Site reduction of maintenance plans by 55%
- Alignment of the team to embrace Lean as a way of life
A journey of continuous improvement of this magnitude is founded on challenging the status quo and adapting the process. But above all else, it’s investing in and having respect for your people. Critical to this success was the engagement with the trades and maintenance planning teams. Asset integrity and management is not just a plant issue. It’s a company issue, and ISO 55000 encourages better communication across the company, leading to more informed decisions and better outcomes about people, equipment and capital resources. By removing the siloed approaches that exist in many plants, asset intensive companies can gain a comprehensive view of asset integrity across the entire facility.
Want More Detail?
Listen to Andrew’s full presentation audio, linked with slides here for detailed examples of how they applied these concepts in reality.
About the Speaker
Andrew Schweitzer is the Cold Reduction Maintenance Strategist at BlueScope Australia and New Zealand. With a career spanning hands-on asset maintenance, root cause analysis and strategic leadership, Andrew is on a maintenance strategy improvement journey. Leading his organisation in PM optimisation, critical asset management and application of Lean methodologies in maintenance, he is successfully translating ISO 55000 into practice.