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Fixing the Process, Not Just the Problems | Part 4 of 5 

discussion about effective maintenance management

The MicroMain Blog is pleased to present another entry in our guest blogger series. We are reaching out to third-party industry experts for their take on maintenance management, especially as it relates to a successful CMMS solution.

Dale R. Blann is the Principal/CEO of Marshall Institute, a leading asset management consulting and training company. In this blog, the fourth in his five-part “world class maintenance” series, he describes how achieving maintenance excellence requires a close look at your existing processes.

View his first three blog posts in the “world class maintenance” series: Three Steps to World Class Maintenance (Intro), Maintenance Excellence (Step One), and Getting Beyond the Boundaries (Step Three).

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World Class Maintenance Series Part 4 of 5

Guest Blogger: Dale R. Blann, Principal/CEO, Marshall Institute Inc. | | 919-834-3722
By Dale R. Blann, Principal/CEO, Marshall Institute Inc.
In Step One, we “got our act together” by getting the systems right. In Step Two, we “got beyond the boundaries” by engaging production as partners in equipment care. Now, in Step Three, it’s time to go beyond doing the work more efficiently, or doing it in partnership with other functions in the plant. It’s time to stop doing it at all! “Zero breakdown maintenance” is the goal. It’s time to “change the process,” not just “fix the problems.”

Total Productive Maintenance

The concepts of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) and Reliability Centered Maintenance have taught us that “zero breakdown” is actually attainable, for all intents and purposes. The proof of it is plants that operate with downtime measured in minutes per year, and airplanes that simply do not fail (statistically speaking) in any significant way.

Total Productive Maintenance is a powerful tool that literally changes the culture on the shop floor. It fully engages the entire organization (especially maintenance and production) in eliminating every possible thing that gets in the way of Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE, or Availability x Production x Rate x Quality Rate). OEE is a performance measure that, to be maximized, must be shared by both maintenance and production.

Reliability-Centered Maintenance

Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) is a systematic, highly-structured, disciplined approach to maximize the safety and function of equipment assets. RCM uses a rigorous framework for identifying all the potential ways an asset can fail to perform its intended function and/or the consequences of that failure. In a sense, it’s a new way of thinking about maintenance: rather than preventing failure in all cases and at all costs, it rather tries to avoid the consequences of failure.

It combines all the techniques of reactive maintenance (breakdown or run-to-failure), preventive maintenance (PM–frequency or cycle-based), predictive maintenance (PdM–condition-based), and failure-finding (a new category to some people), and seeks to optimally apply these strategies (often in combination) in such a way as to achieve high equipment reliability in the most economical way.

PM Optimization

RCM and PMO have the same aim–that is, to define effective and economical maintenance procedures for equipment assets. PMO has been designed primarily for application where the assets are in use, where PM procedures exists, and for which failure history is available. PMO is far more efficient and flexible in analysis than RCM.

In many companies, maintenance practices are somewhat informal, not well-organized, and not based on “best practice” approaches. Good systems of work control are either inadequate or not present at all. Breakdowns are frequent and the majority of maintenance activity is reactive. Often the PM program is simply costing too much, and producing too little benefit. PM Optimization specifically addresses these issues with the result that downtime is reduced, maintenance costs are reduced, and the resulting maintenance procedures are actually more effective.

The Third Step is Strategic.
Virtually every key business function—manufacturing, procurement, distribution, marketing, product and process development, maintenance—is being challenged to develop strategies for improvement–of production, capacity, asset utilization, return on assets, quality, profitability, and competitiveness. An alphabet soup of improvement methods have been applied to achieve such improvement objectives: WCM, JIT, TQM, CIM, Lean, Six Sigma, and others, at the cost of millions of dollars–everything but maintenance and reliability.

Unfortunately, in many plants, maintenance is not perceived as a “value-added” contributor to such desirable ends such as output, quality, productivity, safety, and environmental security.

It’s time that enhanced asset reliability is recognized as a critical element in manufacturing performance and market competitiveness (and maybe even survival) in today’s manufacturing environment. It’s time management reconsidered the impact and importance of increasing equipment availability and utilization (decreasing downtime, higher production efficiencies), increasing maintenance productivity and resource utilization, and increasing quality and responsiveness of maintenance services in meeting overall goals to achieve World Class status.

It’s time that maintenance is recognized as a cost to be optimized, not as “necessary evil” to be minimized!



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