Maintenance Foundations Maintenance Management

MS-APR-5, Improve Maintenance one step at a time

Maintenance is like life, you grow anyhow in each of them. You’d rather improve while growing. Maintenance can be improved in endless ways.

We had emphasized on your ability to start a maintenance system anytime in the last posts: How to start a Maintenance System NOW?, MS-APR-4 and Stop looking for a Maintenance System to parent you. Regardless of the size of the business or how long it has been running, there is an opportunity to start a maintenance system just at the moment you intend to do so. This can be simply done by being aware of what you do that is considered maintenance and to record it. But, why is it better to have a maintenance system? Well, to improve it. Really that’s the correct answer. You should always target conscious improvement in your life as well as everything you are doing. One of the business and life functions that you can not skip is maintenance.

A maintenance system starts by recording what you are doing, recording data related to what you are doing and, reviewing you data. Then making indications/indices/ mile stones that tells you whether you are in the direction you want or not. Finally, you make a conscious improvement decision.

That’s why you should always target improve your maintenance performance to improve your life and business. Read more thought about life maintenance examples here: What is Maintenance?

First Step, make a system. Second Step, Improve it

If you are doing business of any size you have some systems running in the background of the business. Your record keeping for the taxes purpose is mandatory, otherwise you will receive an estimation on the high end of the tax range. You have a record for the rental, wages, health insurance and other administrative work and you keep a close eye on it.

You purchase raw material, you don’t wait for the raw material to finish then you start searching for some. Even if you purchase raw material based on the orders you receive and you don’t keep stock, then you have a purchase system and you know from where you can get the quality and price needed for your next order. With time you have an experience with the tax records and raw material purchase that you improve your performance and hence you maximize your profit which is the ultimate goal of doing business.

A good example of small business when you think about starting a coffee shop or a restaurant or, thinking of expanding your business to have branches. If your first branch didn’t build a system to inherit it to the next branch, you will succeed but, every new branch will face the startup challenges and stumbling around of the staff as if you are starting from scratch.

How it is related to maintenance?

All successful stories had started with data recorded about your activities as the sources of raw material and the lead time to deliver. Exactly the same applies for your maintenance. Recording maintenance data in a easy to retrieve way gives you a chance to improve the system with time. Improvement doesn’t mean complication, it means to be more effective and efficient while doing the jobs you are used to and even doing it differently or finding new needful jobs. Efficient maintenance is doing the maintenance job in the right manner. While effective maintenance points towards doing the right maintenance in the first place then doing it right.

If you don’t have records of the maintenance activities, failures will always take you by surprise and some surprises won’t be nice ones. There are many improvements that will enhance the maintenance and consequently the business performance. we shall touch one or two in every chat. Today we shall have a brief talk about the equipment labeling, failure trends and maintenance costs.

Equipment codes

One of the basic corner stones of your system are the equipment labels or codes. Though it seems very simple and basic but it is crucial for many reasons:

  • Correct recording of data. Even if you got a couple of machines, the system may get jeopardized if you recorded the maintenance task done in the record of the wrong machine.
  • Meaningful data analysis and decision making
  • Proper planning and assignment of maintenance tasks.

In case the equipment labels or codes are not distinguishing the machines clearly or if they are not used by everyone it may cause a lot of confusion. That’s one of the chapters we detail about in our maintenance course about how to tune to the maintenance management mind.

That’s one of the areas you can start by to make a boost for your maintenance system. It will be rewarding on the short term and on the long run when you add equipment or replace them. The survey that will be made to collect the equipment data, organize the equipment and then label them may cause miracles specially in large industries. You may find duplicated equipment, neglected though needed equipment or equipment that you don’t know about. All these hidden data may take you by surprise when failure occurs.

Look for failure patterns

Another easy but extremely helpful improvement to the system. After recording the activities that are already under corrective maintenance approach, you can easily find a pattern in the data for the failure cycle. Example is a sensor that fails every 5-6 weeks. You can quickly plan some actions that can improve this condition:

  • Inspect it after 4 weeks, you may find its fixation losen. So fix it and this way you saved the failure time and cost. You may look to modify the fixation so it is not subject to vibration. Or, you may simply add a locknut but, the vibration still damages the sensor without getting loose fixation. So, you look for the source of vibration
  • When inspecting the previous few failed parts, you may reach a conclusion that it is fried. Then, either you make thermal protection or look for a sensor that could withstand higher temperature.
  • Replace it after 4-5 calendar weeks. At least you saved the extended time needed to repair a sudden failure.

That’s the aim of all maintenance activities to avoid sudden failure. achieving this point might be deceiving in some cases as it may cause a jump in the maintenance cost due to over-maintenance and frequent calendar base equipment replacement. This approach need to be properly justified as well as all other maintenance approaches by considering the real cost of the failure.

Maintenance costs

In a nutshell one of the big favors you can do to yourself is to record the real cost of the maintenance. This includes, parts, man-hour, production stoppage, lost raw material and any cascaded failures due to the original one as the bearing housing or the motor winding when the bearing is left to fail. This calculation will give you a great justification for any additional costs that are needed to improve maintenance.

You might think that this calculation will bring negative attention rather than praise to the role of maintenance. Truth prevails regardless of any other political considerations. It is better for you and the organization that you are aware as a first step of your real cost and effects on the cost sheet before it is spotted by other auditing body. The value you gain from understanding your maintenance cost elevates your role and your perception of the value of the work you do. Next step, after planning your actions, you might need some additional costs, your justification would be ready and accepted.

Suppose that based on the analysis of the maintenance activities, you had recorded, you need to:

  • Add a new member to the maintenance staff
  • Outsource some activities
  • Get some training
  • Purchase some tools

What better justification you can submit to get the approval than the direct and hidden costs that you are going to save based on this investment.

Hidden and unrecorded Costs vs Direct and recorded Costs

I will leave to gaze for some time at the above image with your coffee. Do you prefer it Espresso or Lungo?

Then we conclude,

Maintenance is like life, you grow any how in each of them. you’d rather improve while growing instead of looking outdated. Improvement needs to be based on data to weigh its payback. Maintenance can be improved in endless ways. We had touched the equipment coding, failure patterns and costs. We shall elaborate in our next chat.Will you select the Espresso or the Macchiato?

If you feel you need help with any of these ideas we discussed, drop us a line for initial investigation in the form by Clicking here or request Management Consultancy or Coaching Services From our Store

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By Rezika

I intend to create a better-managed value adding working environment.
Projects and Maintenance Manager with broad experience in industrial plants. Managed Projects and applied different maintenance strategies and improvements tasks in different industrial plants: steel, cement, and food industries.

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