Focus on Reliability


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Do Storeroom’s really need KPI’s?



In business, we use acronyms to communicate and abbreviate content. One such acronym KPI (Key Performance Indicator) we hear and use regularly. In maintenance there are several KPI’s used including those tracking MRO Storeroom performance. Recently we conducted a poll asking which Storeroom KPI people considered most important.

Topics: Maintenance and Reliability Storeroom/ Materials Management materials management training purchasing bestpractices

Focus on Reliability | Maintenance and Operations Practices

Maintenance Planner with PMO or Preventive Maintenance optimizationSadly for some organizations, their maintenance and operations practices are not much different than the small bands of gold miners going for broke in the Alaskan wilderness as reflected on the television shows.  Operating on s shoestring budget, they try to bootstrap their way along, experiencing increased losses from a run to failure mentality.  While run to failure can be a strategy for some equipment, it shouldn’t be for all of your assets, especially the critical ones.  Proactive organizations learned a long time ago that you can’t typically sustain your business with that approach.

Looking the gold miners, they begin the season by pulling in their heavy equipment and setting up shop on tract of land or claim..  Little is done from condition monitoring perspective to anticipate impending failures. There are no written procedures.  Training occurs from the perspective of tribal knowledge, if someone in the tribe has that knowledge for starters.  In the quest to meet the production numbers, operators push the equipment to its limit. When critical assets fail such as the separation equipment, the operation grinds to a halt. Bootstrapping along the way from a cash perspective, they have few if any spare parts on site.  The nearest spare parts are days away.  This holds true for even benign parts like belts and bearings.  Once the operation restarts, the pressure is on to make up for lost numbers.  When the season ends, they pull back the equipment. Little is done from a time based scheduled restoration perspective to prepare for next season.  They set themselves up for the cycle to repeat, the cycle of despair and reactivity.

Contrast those concepts to your organization and its approach to maintenance and reliability.  Are you operating with an overall run to failure mentality?  If so, use education about the Maintenance Best Practices to help your organization gain a competitive advantage. What else could you do to drive the culture change necessary to gain a proactive reliability based approach?




Focus on Reliability | CMMS | Busting out of our silo

Maintenance scheduling for Operations or Production personnelFrom a maintenance perspective, are you scheduling Operations and other support functions?
In many organizations, I find that people are not utilizing the CMMS/EAM to the fullest extent with respect to “crafts” when it comes to coordinating work. You will probably tell me, “Jeff, no surprise there”. It doesn't have to be this way.

Let me explain what I mean. When I look at schedules for maintenance work, rarely do I see crafts listed other than those from the maintenance organization. Let’s take a job like welding on a product tank in a food plant as an example. We need Operations personnel to empty and clean the tank in advance of the welding work. Once the welding work is complete, we may need Operations to clean and sanitize the vessel. Following on, Quality Services or lab personnel may be required to swap the tank for microbial contamination and release it for refill with product. These are all coordination activities that we want to cover with child work orders as an example. In addition, should we not coordinate these activities from a scheduling perspective?

The bottom line is that just like we have crafts such as pipefitter, mechanic, or electrician, we should also have operator, lab tech, or other support functions identified in the CMMS. The work of those individuals and the required coordination of those activities should appear on the weekly schedule with the work order numbers/ work descriptions. When we are in next week’s scheduling meeting, we can set the expectation with Operations and our other partners that we will be needing assistance with equipment availability, possibly help with the maintenance tasks themselves, and the restart of that equipment. Approaching our maintenance tasks and their coordination from a more holistic inclusive viewpoint helps us build better partnerships with the other stakeholders.

Check your schedule and your approach. Are you doing this?

Speak soon,
Topics: Planning and Scheduling

Maintenance Planning Goals - Video

From the People and Processes Youtube channel, I have embedded this video on Maintenance Planning

Topics: Planning and Scheduling

Twenty Thoughts on Maintenance Planner Scheduler Tasks

The Maintenance Planning and Scheduling function has four basic objectives:

  1. To provide the right information for the technician to more easily to perform the job
  2. Have identified the right parts and materials, having them staged and kitted
  3. Interface with the Operations partner to ensure the equipment is available for Maintenance at the specified time.
  4. To ensure the right priority Maintenance work is accomplished based on business needs
In the end, the function is all about doing the right work while addressing avoidable delays i.e. driving technician wrench time up.  To do this, there are a number of tasks that the Planner Scheduler performs.

  1. Avoids getting involved with this week’s emergency work as planning must be focused on the future
  2. Reviews work orders requiring planning to understand the requested work
  3. Evaluates and understands planned work priorities
  4. Job scoping/ research – spends 1/3 of the day in the field
  5. Prepares job plans based on level of detail required
  6. Maintains a job plan library for reuse
  7. Identifies and requisitions/ reserves parts and materials
  8. Prepares the job package
  9. Interfaces with the Operations group to validate work priority and equipment availability
  10. Collaborates with Maintenance Supervisors on next week’s available labor hours to build the weekly schedule from.
  11. Develops the next week’s maintenance schedule based on priority
  12. Provides a level of coordination in the planning and scheduling phases, not during the execution of the work which the responsibility of maintenance supervision
  13. Leads the weekly maintenance scheduling meeting
  14. Ensures the preventive maintenance program is scheduled and work-leveled
  15. Maintains the asset hierarchy if so required
  16. Develops and improving the asset bill of materials
  17. Reports on the Key performance indicators (KPI) if required
  18. Performs other administration tasks of the CMMS/ EAM if required
  19. Reviews completed job feedback to improve job plan content and estimates
  20.  Integrates key words on work order closure to assist the data mining for reliability engineering purposes

Get more information on how to improve your maintenance planning and scheduling processes or learn how we guide you to success in the process here. There you will find our training courses, planner coaching, assessment, and more resources.

Are these tasks what you expect for the Maintenance Planner Scheduler?  Would you take any away and why? What others would you add and why?
Topics: Planning and Scheduling

Calculating Schedule Compliance

calculating the maintenance schedule compliance metricAt what frequency do you calculate the schedule compliance metric? Is it weekly, daily, or hourly?  Depending on who you ask, you might come up with a different answer.  For me, it depends on several factors.  The first one is the level of Maintenance organization reactivity.  That is followed by how long the organization has been producing next week’s schedule.  It might surprise you but a number of organizations still don’t produce a formal schedule for next week.  Another factor is the partnership between Maintenance and Operations. 

Topics: Uncategorized

Focus on Reliability |Maintenance Planning Scheduling | A Plague Lurks

Maintenance Planning and SchedulingI was recently conducting a Maintenance Planning and Scheduling course onsite.  As with all of the classes that I facilitate, I make an effort to learn about those in attendance on a more personal level.  This class was no different and shortly, I learned about the work history of several people.  One had been there for 44 years, another for 37, and a third for 31 years. The guy who had been there for 44 years was 70 years old and because of his in-depth knowledge, they were asking him to stay around a few more years.  It’s not out of financial need that he stays but a sense of duty and loyalty.

In Maintenance Planning and Scheduling courses, we always talk about the Job Plan and its use in developing precision maintenance procedures.  In the case of these veterans, the Job Plan also serves as a tool to capture their knowledge for use as a training tool later.  All too often, I see this concept ignored.  With many of the organizations that I visit, I often find the average age of the workforce at 57 years and beyond.  Without tools like the Job Plan, how can we expect to capture that knowledge prior to those individuals leaving?  How will you train those who will be needed to fill the veterans shoes?  How many of you are using the Job Plan to capture that knowledge?

Cheers, Jeff Shiver

Get more information on how to improve your maintenance planning and scheduling processes or learn how we guide you to success in the process here. There you will find our training courses, planner coaching, assessment, and more resources.

Topics: Planning and Scheduling Maintenance Management

Focus on Reliability | Maintenance Job Plan |The Outline

If you are like many Maintenance Planners that I have the opportunity to interface with, most aren't doing much using the job plan concept.  The intent of the job plan is to better enable the craftspeople to execute their job with the materials, tools, and information in hand.  Ideally, you really want a template to facilitate the development of these job plans.  Recently, I did a webinar for Emaint which is a CMMS vendor on creating job plans.  You can view it here. What should some of the headers be for a job plan template?

Topics: Planning and Scheduling Maintenance Management

Focus on Reliability | Maintenance Job Plan | Don’t Fly Blind

Maintenance Planning and SchedulingWhy should we bother with this job plan thing anyway, after all the Technicians know what to do, right? If you were undergoing surgery, in addition to the proper training; you would expect a surgical team to have a set of procedures and checklists to perform their work on you. What if they started operating out of sequence before you were fully sedated? What if they left some of their tools or sponges behind when they closed you up? I hear you saying “But Jeff, we aren’t dealing with life or death when we work on equipment!” When you consider the environmental and safety consequences of the equipment that we work on, that may not be the case. I would guess that many of the people involved with some of the life ending and environmental disasters in recent memory never expected things to end the way they did either.

Get more information on how to improve your maintenance planning and scheduling processes or learn how we guide you to success in the process here. There you will find our training courses, planner coaching, assessment, and more resources.

The bottom line is that the job plan can help bring precision to our maintenance work with specifications like tolerances, gaps, fits, torque and so on.. They serve to provide checklists and sequential steps. The plans can be used as training tools when we capture the knowledge before people retire which is a ever more frequent occurrence. The effective job plan can save the technicians from spending hours searching for information or materials. It can also prevent accidents by providing concise lock out and tag out information along with the necessary PPE and required permits. One of the best parts to job plans is that they are reusable as much of our work is repeatable.
Topics: Planning and Scheduling Maintenance Management

Focus on Reliability | Maintenance Planner | Get Out from Behind the Desk

The Maintenance Planner is charged with the creation and maintenance of the job plan to help drive the efficiency of the craftspeople. Since the ideal Maintenance Planner is one of your best craftspeople, they should be quite knowledgeable with regards to the steps required to complete a maintenance job.  However, there is an old saying that “the shortest pencil is better than the longest memory” for good reason, especially if you listen to how my wife reflects on how short my memory really is.  I think it’s more of a case of selective hearing but I’m not going to tell her that.

Anyway… I was recently working with a group of Maintenance Planners and they shared some maintenance tasks lists with me.  When I reviewed the procedures, I thought there might be some gaps in the tasks and their sequence. I like to adhere to the “show me” approach so I suggested that we actually walk down one of the jobs.  When we started the walk down, the Planner showed vast knowledge on the job.  The only problem was about 75% of the activities weren’t on the job plan.  He would mention a task and I would comment back “Oops, that’s not on the plan”. He would go to another task and ask "Is that on the plan?". My reply often was "Nope".

When we got back to their desks, the Planners told me how eye-opening that exercise was.  It turns out that a number of the Job Plans had been done from the desk using their memory.  It’s much better to walk the job and jot down the steps so that you don’t miss things from memory.

Get more information on how to improve your maintenance planning and scheduling processes or learn how we guide you to success in the process here. There you will find our training courses, planner coaching, assessment, and more resources.

When you walk the job, you should consider the following items in addition to the normal job plan items:
Topics: Planning and Scheduling Advanced