#2&3 The assessment and action plan for reliability excellence

Best-in-class performers in the manufacturing world spend 3.5 times less money on their maintenance budget compared to the worst performers, while their assets’ availability is 14% higher. How do they achieve these results? By adopting the Maintenance & Reliability best practices.

A first step in that journey is to compare your organization with the best-in-class players. This can be done with a maintenance and reliability assessment that will, if done properly, provide you with a thorough action plan for you and your team.

A good maintenance and reliability assessment should encompass several key elements to effectively evaluate the performance of a manufacturing plant and its maintenance practices. These elements should include the following pillars.

Source: RAM study, Solomon consulting

Pillar 1: Asset reliability foundation

  • Master equipment list in CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) is detailed, accurate, and complete.
  • Parts (items and materials) are detailed, unique, easily ordered, and optimally stocked.
  • BOMs are accurate and complete.
  • Criticality ranking is performed and up to date, based on impacts on safety, environment, operations, maintainability, and quality.
  • Maintenance strategies are defined for all assets depending on criticality ranking and based on failure modes to have the right task performed at the right time, by the right person, in the right way. Assess their effectiveness in preventing breakdowns and optimizing asset performance.
  • The plant is kept clean, and assets are properly lubricated.

Pillar 2: Work management

  • Review the maintenance workflows and processes, from work order generation to completion. Identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and opportunities for automation or streamlining.
  • Evaluate each element, roles, and responsibilities around the following:
    • Work identification
    • Work planning
    • Work scheduling
    • Work execution
    • Work feedback
    • Work follow-up
  • Monitoring of planning and scheduling efficiency (PM – Preventive Maintenance compliance, backlog, wrench time)
  • Shutdown and Turnarounds are done in an efficient and effective manner.

Pillar 3: Craft skills

  • Technician Skills and Training: Assess the skills and training levels of maintenance technicians. Ensure that they are well-trained and certified to perform their duties effectively.
  • Precision maintenance techniques are known and used by the craftspeople to make sure everything is properly installed, aligned, balanced, and torqued.
  • Operators are trained and encouraged to perform defect elimination.
  • Competency development plans are in place for all trades.

Pillar 4: Parts management

  • Assess the spare parts inventory management system. Ensure that critical spare parts are readily available to minimize downtime during equipment failures.
  • Parts criticality ranking is performed based on lead time, costs, usage, default detectability.
  • Service levels are defined based on parts criticality.
  • Min/max, automatic reorders are automated based on criticality, service levels, safety stocks.
  • Evaluate the warehouse practices: storage, labelling, accuracy, etc.

Pillar 5: Reliability Engineering

  • Reliability Metrics: Define and measure key reliability metrics, such as Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF), Mean Time to Repair (MTTR), and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). These metrics provide insights into asset performance and maintenance effectiveness.
  • Evaluate the plant’s approach to root cause analysis for equipment failures. Determine if incidents are thoroughly investigated to prevent recurrence.
  • Review the use of condition monitoring techniques and technologies, such as vibration analysis, thermal imaging, and oil analysis, to detect early signs of equipment degradation.
  • Data Analytics and Predictive Maintenance: Explore the use of data analytics and predictive maintenance tools to proactively identify equipment issues and optimize maintenance interventions.

Pillar 6: Leadership for reliability

  • Performance Benchmarking: Compare the plant’s maintenance and reliability performance to industry benchmarks and best practices to identify areas where improvements can be made.
  • Continuous Improvement: Establish a culture of continuous improvement, where feedback from assessments is used to drive ongoing refinements in maintenance practices.
  • Budget and Resource Allocation: Ensure that the maintenance budget is aligned with the plant’s maintenance needs. Allocate resources effectively to support maintenance efforts.
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Define and track KPIs related to maintenance and reliability, such as equipment uptime, maintenance cost as a percentage of revenue, and mean time to failure.

How to properly conduct the assessment and build the action plan

Involve all stakeholders during the assessment: maintenance teams, operations, procurement, HSE, and management. That will ensure a more diverse perspective and buy-in for future improvement initiatives.

A typical assessment should not take more than 3 days for a single manufacturing plant. That should leave enough time to conduct 45-minute interviews with the personnel listed above.

Based on findings from the assessment, build an excel table with all action items to put in place. Then prioritize according to the following 2 criteria:

  • Effort to implement (1=high effort, 3 = low effort)
  • Effect/impact after implementation (1= negligible impact, 3 = high impact)

Multiply the 2 criteria and sort by descending order (9 to 1) to identify your low hanging fruits. The prioritization exercise should be done with the participation of key stakeholders at the plant.

Once prioritization exercise is done, identify the person responsible for each item, as well as reasonable deadlines for completion. Also, it is important to consider: budget for each item (capex investment or regular maintenance budget?)

What next?

Identify a champion who will be held accountable for putting everything in place. Recurring meetings should be set up immediately to ensure proper implementation of the action plan.

Remember: reliability in a manufacturing organization is everyone’s business. The champion should count on the collaboration and support from all members of the company, and upper management should lead the change and take part in the implementation process.

In conclusion, a good maintenance and reliability assessment should be thorough, data-driven, and focused on achieving tangible improvements in equipment performance, uptime, and cost-effectiveness. It should also be a dynamic process, with regular reviews and updates to adapt to changing plant needs and industry trends.

Unlock manufacturing excellence with a reliability assessment and action plan. Best-in-class performers achieve 3.5x lower maintenance costs and 14% higher asset availability. Discover how Maintenance & Reliability best practices can transform your organization. Start with a comprehensive reliability assessment encompassing asset reliability, work management, craft skills, parts management, reliability engineering, and leadership. Get a data-driven action plan to optimize performance, prevent breakdowns, and drive cost-effectiveness. Prioritize improvements with stakeholder involvement and set a champion for implementation. Reliability is everyone’s business for sustained success. Adapt to changing industry trends with regular reviews. Elevate your manufacturing reliability today!

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