We all know that in a reactive maintenance organisation 60-70% of crafts people’s time is wasted on finding out what to do, sourcing parts and materials.

We also know that the solution to this situation is to become more proactive and in control. This can be done by better condition monitoring, planning of work and scheduling of work combined with an efficient store, including an accurate bill of materials.

The best organisations I have worked with have little wasted time due to good leadership and an efficient work management process. More importantly, they have higher reliability and faster production throughput and consequently lower manufacturing costs. They see lower costs as an outcome of higher reliability and faster production throughput.

Less efficient organisations are more short-sighted and put the emphasis on staying within the maintenance budget rather than doing what is necessary to deliver a stable and reliable quality production output. Maintenance managers are often driven to stay within budget to the extent that reliability suffers.

As a maintenance manager, you need to have a three to five-year plan covering:

  • How good your organisation is today?
  • How good it can become?
  • How you are going to close this gap?
  • How much it will cost?
  • How much of a saving in reliability and costs will be generated?

All of the above must be supported with a strong business case so you can sell it to decision makers. Remember, most of this is common sense so do not over complicate it. It is not a question of having a large amount of capital, if any; it is a matter of doing better with what you have.

As part of your business case you should know where your maintenance organisation spends its maintenance hours. This does not mean that you do any time studies. Instead you divide where time is used in three categories:

  • Corrective maintenance
  • Preventive maintenance
  • Continuous improvement

Corrective maintenance is done to correct a failure or a break down. It can be done in four different ways:

  1. Planned and scheduled
  2. Only planned.
  3. Only scheduled
  4. Break in work in schedules

Numbers 1 and 2 are where you like to spend most time. The fact is that most organisations spend the majority of their time for weekly and daily maintenance on numbers 3 and 4. During shut downs the situation is better, but if you spend more that 5% of your time on numbers 3 and 4 during a shut down, you need to improve on this.

Preventive maintenance (PM) is done to prevent failures or to discover failures before they develop into a break down. If your PM has the right content and is executed correctly, your organisation should not be in a reactive mode.

Continuous improvement is work for root cause problem elimination (RCPE). In a reactive organisation this is close to zero maintenance hours, even if organisation has a process and people have been trained.

Image: courtesy of IDCON. In this actual example of a world class or great organisation time is used as in the example in Figure 1. Preventative maintenance, including basic inspections, predictive maintenance and lubrication, is about 10% of all maintenance hours if all tasks are optimised. Only scheduled and break in work is 10%. Planned and scheduled work is 60% and hours for continuous improvement are 20%. Reliability is steadily increasing and costs are decreasing.