What’s the current level of your asset management program? Are you in the beginning stages? Is your program pretty good but you need improvement? Or do you already have a world-class program?
Understanding where you are as an organisation is important as it will determine the right direction for your asset management improvements. If you are just starting out, there is no point trying to implement improvements as if you were a world class operation. And even if you already have a world-class maintenance program, there are still things you can focus on to get better.
Here are some questions based on the three stages of maturity (basic, sustaining and world class) that will help you determine areas of focus for improvement:
If you’re starting out with the basics of asset management, you need to make sure you’re your database is solid and your foundation is set.
- Do you have a Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS)? e.g. an SAP, a Maximo, a program you’re using to write, close, and track work orders
- Is there an equipment naming convention?
- Is critical equipment defined and identified?
- Do standard work instructions exist?
- Are there PMs for critical equipment?
- Is there a method to manage instrumentation?
- Is work planned and scheduled?
- Do you have a skills matrix?
- Does a system to manage spare parts exist?
If you are starting out as a maintenance organisation or you don’t have some of these basics, these are the areas you should be focusing on – start by measuring things that help improve these areas. It may be that you need to have 50% of your equipment database in this system by X date, 75% by the Y date, and then 100% by Z date.
Once you have these in place, you can then start ratcheting up and getting to the more important things down the road. But if you don’t have this foundation, you’re not going to be able to achieve some of the other things you want to achieve.
If you’re in a sustaining mode here are the areas you should be focusing on:
- Is equipment history tracked and analysed?
- Are predictive methods/condition-based monitoring in place? e.g. infrared, vibration analysis, oil analysis, ultrasonic.
- Does a long-term plan exist? When you’re first starting out, you’re lucky to have work orders for the next day ready to go. In sustaining phase you should have a six-week plan or six-month plan that you can tweak as you go along.
- Is there an autonomous maintenance program? Note that if you’re in a union environment, sometimes this is harder. I worked in a union environment for 33 years, and we were able to slowly but surely allow the operators to carry crescent wrenches or to have a screwdriver or to make minor adjustments. We sold that by saying “We’re not eliminating jobs, we’re making your job a little bit easier.”
- Is an outsourcing analysis performed?
- Are costs analysed?
- Are parts and equipment standardised where possible? When I worked at Anheuser-Busch we had the same bottle filler in all of our plants. It was made by a company called KHS out of Germany and we probably had about 40 of them across the system so it was a lot easier for me to have spare parts. Now, sometimes you don’t have control over that. When people have preferences for different brands then the parts that you have to stock go up and your training needs vary. So as much as you can standardise do so – it’s going to help you a lot.
If you’re world-class, then you’re going to be focusing on these critical things.
- Is a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) process used?
- Are RCAs conducted for specified events? Right now when my company has a failure that was unexpected, we do a root cause analysis, and one of the first questions we ask is, “Is this on a PM? If not, should it be?” If somebody ran into someone with a forklift, I’m not going to create a PM to go check and see if the forklifts are driving properly, I can’t do too much about that. But is it something that maybe should have been on a PM? Or is it already on a PM but the frequency is wrong? Those are the types of things you can look at.
- Are Reliability Centered Maintenance principles in use?
Not all organisations are at the same level of maturity, and therefore should not be focusing on the same improvements. First figure out what stage you’re at, and then focus on the small improvements that will eventually get you to where you want to be.
This post is based on Kevin Desrosiers’ top-rated presentation at Mainstream Conference 2017. You can watch his full presentation here: “Choosing Metrics to Achieve Cost Optimisation and World Class Performance”.
About the Author
Kevin Desrosiers is Systems Reliability Team Lead at Monsanto (USA). He has been in Engineering and Maintenance for 35 years: moving from plant engineer to maintenance supervisor to maintenance superintendent to engineering manager, and finally as a corporate strategic asset planning manager. He is a Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional.