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Taking Maintenance Excellence to the Next Level

From the process perspective, maintenance is often at loggerheads with various other departments in manufacturing. Normally, maintenance must work with planning to gain access to the asset, but unless under breakdown, there is typical resistance from production to handover the asset to maintenance. Similar issues are confronted with work order management, where several factors can impact efficiency. These hurdles often include:

  • Lack of proper prioritization (everything cannot be priority #1)
  • Lack of readiness of the asset (cleaning, LOTO etc.) for execution of work order
  • Incomplete information regarding the exact intervention required, leads to the maintenance team arriving at an asset under-prepared, with lack of tools, spares, or other resources.

The time lost in making the right arrangements can be frustrating for all involved and significantly hampers the process. One of the most underutilized solutions to streamlining this process and overcoming inter-departmental coordination challenges is the implementation of an effective performance management system.

Performance Management in Maintenance

Not many organizations can boast of a robust performance control system (PCS), also known as the performance management system (PMS), for their maintenance department. An effective PCS/PMS is one that links organizational objectives to Shop floor activities.

With respect to maintenance, the Key Management Indicators (KMI) for the leadership team can be asset efficiency, return on capital employed (ROCE), profitability etc. At plant level, the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) can be OEE, Quality, MTTR, MTBF etc. which further translates into Operating Performance Indicators (OPI) at department level. Examples of maintenance department OPIs are no. of breakdowns, plan vs actual and backlogs. Finally, at the line/machine level, the performance is measured in terms of Key Activity Indicators (KAI) such as adherence to schedule, number of PM done, time report filled etc.

Once the right performance indicators are known, people at each level can follow the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) concept to improve their productivity and efficiency. Handshake meetings, tool-box meetings etc. are great examples of where teams come together during shifts to discuss work orders, report problems and provide input to next level meetings. In weekly meetings, the weekly maintenance schedule is finalized, in agreement with other departments, so Production can prepare the asset for handover at the appropriate time and the Operations Planning department can prepare the work orders accordingly. Combining the human dynamics approach of Performance Behaviour at this stage adds the much-needed element of connecting and activating behaviours that leads to performance. Performance behaviour elements ensure that participants in a morning meeting show the right level of collaboration, openly highlighting issues, challenging in constructive manner discussion elements etc. – all of this with the ultimate goal to come to better decisions. We experience performance behaviour also helps to improve engagement, ownership, responsibility and accountability at all levels in the organization.

The effectiveness of the Performance Control System (PCS) is ensured by developing the right behaviours.

Digital 4.0 assisting Predictive Maintenance

We live in the Industry 4.0 world, which makes us think about using technology in everything we do. However, the important part is to make a balanced choice between what is required and how much is worth spending on creating a digital infrastructure to support maintenance. We now have smart machines, capable of finding data patterns to extrapolate generalizations based on self-analysis. This leads to predictive forecasting and improving asset availability through reliability-centred maintenance based on data analysis. It is also important that the choice of digital tools for predictive maintenance is based on the fundamentals of condition-based monitoring parameters, such as – vibration analysis, thermography, energy consumption for motors, ultrasound etc.

Some of the practical applications of digital aids in the maintenance area are:

  • Sensors for rotating equipment and motors together with appropriate algorithms that can predict the moment of component failure with high accuracy.
  • Handheld devices (Mobiles, Tablets etc.) that store work instructions, real-time information on spare parts availability, maintenance schedules plan etc.; thereby creating Connected Workers and increasing efficiency of work order execution.
  • RFID codes to identify assets and directly access work orders for the assets, their breakdown history etc.
  • Integrated CMMS (computerized maintenance management system) – SAP or add-ons to ensure efficient work order management/handling.

Maintenance Module within OpEx 4.0 Deployment

EFESO has a dedicated maintenance module deployed as part of our OpEx 4.0 offering which allows the client to manage the process of maintenance requests, work orders (corrective and preventive), maintenance plans and inspection plans. The system also has a failure analysis module with integrated root cause tools and action plans.

Key impact points of deploying this system are:

  • Standardization of check sheets, forms, databases etc.
  • Reduction on time to attend
  • Elimination of NVAA to generate reports and filling in paper forms
  • Improvement on performance management (e.g. real time information, cost and manpower management etc.)
  • Control and traceability of maintenance tasks
  • Reduction of equipment breakdowns/downtime