Maintenance On The Floor Reliability

Check Your R&M IQ

Klaus M. Blache | April 16, 2018

True or false question in wood type

How much do you know about what makes a successful R&M (reliability and maintenance) program?

What about your colleagues? Management? This month, we have an R&M IQ test to help you establish a knowledge baseline and likely identify areas in which some adjustments are needed. Answer True or False to each statement, then scroll down the page for answers and explanations.

  1. Size of the facility has minimal impact on R&M.
  2. Age of the machinery and equipment has a significant impact on R&M.
  3. Moving from the 4th to the top quartile means being 7X less reactive.
  4. If your reported schedule compliance exceeds 90%, you know that your planning and scheduling is working well.
  5. R&M improvements are more possible in high-volume production versus continuous-process manufacturing.
  6. A maintenance cost as percentage of RAV (replacement asset value) of 2.0% is a good number for a facility with average plant-floor best practices.
  7. Unionized organizations are better at R&M than non-union operations.
  8. Moving from the 4th to the top quartile can result in maintenance cost reductions approaching 20%.
  9. Preventive-maintenance optimization works better in older facilities.
  10. The level of contracted resources has minimal impact on R&M success.
  11. Although there may be an increase in maintenance costs to get to best practices, the improvement in availability can result in a 10-to-15 times greater savings, versus maintenance cost-reduction savings.
  12. Turnarounds have minimal impact on reliability and availability.
  13. Managing your backlog is critical if you want to reduce reactive maintenance.
  14. Performing root-cause analysis has a significant impact on R&M, even with an informal process.
  15. Craft skills are not that important if you have well-written PMs.
  16. Precision maintenance can generate as much as 50% more savings than general training on plant-floor improvements.
  17. Involving the operator helps, but only slightly, when it comes to root-cause analysis.
  18. Reactive-maintenance levels in top-quartile facilities are only about 25%.
  19. At least 25% of your resource allocation should be spent on predictive technologies (finding only, not fixing).
  20. Good lubrication practices are only a concern if you don’t have good housekeeping practices.
  21. Top-quartile companies have spare-parts costs similar to the other quartiles, because parts are needed just in case.
  22. Predictive maintenance is not used by 50% of North American manufacturing operations.
  23. About 80% of maintenance trades/craft time should be scheduled; the other 20% is for unplanned activities. This approach avoids backlogs.
  24. Any planner should be able to handle about 15 trades/crafts people.
  25. Having a good team culture will solve all of your R&M problems.

If you have answered the questions, now is the time to find out what you know and learn more about why each answer is true or false. Be sure to include the rest of your team and appropriate management personnel so you can all learn and identify areas that need addressing or adjustment. As always, contact me at the email address at the end of this column if you have additional questions or would like more explanation.

Size of the facility has minimal impact on R&M.
True: Facility size has little or no impact on whether your R&M efforts can increase efficiency and, therefore, profits.

Age of the machinery and equipment has a significant impact on R&M.
False: The age of machinery and equipment only has a significant impact if the assets have not been properly maintained.

Moving from the 4th to the top quartile means being 7X less reactive.
True: My data indicate that moving from the 4th to the top quartile means you will reduce your reactive activities by a factor of seven.

If your reported schedule compliance exceeds 90%, you know that your planning and scheduling is working well.
False: Too many times I see schedule compliance reported to exceed 90%. When the records are examined, I usually find inadequate planning and scheduling, such as poor practices, high backlog, and unfinished work orders that have been swept away.

R&M improvements are more possible in high-volume production versus continuous-process manufacturing.
False: Whether your operation is high-volume production or continuous-process manufacturing has essentially no impact on R&M program results. Properly implemented R&M processes are effective in all types of facilities.

A maintenance cost as percentage of RAV (replacement asset value) of 2.0% is a good number for a facility with average plant-floor best practices.
False: A maintenance cost as percentage of RAV of 2% indicates a top-quartile operation. If plant floor best practices are average, then a 2% RAV is most likely a result of cutting costs. You can’t cost-cut your way to best practices. Keep spending in-line with R&M process maturity.

Unionized organizations are better at R&M than non-union operations.
False: Whether an organization is unionized has little or no impact, provided people are treated with respect. For example, organizations using Total Productive Maintenance and autonomous maintenance/operator involvement programs struggle to succeed in union and non-union situations.

Moving from the 4th to the top quartile can result in maintenance cost reductions approaching 20%.
False: My data show that moving from the 4th to the top quartile can result in maintenance-cost reductions approaching 84%.

Preventive-maintenance optimization works better in older facilities.
False: Preventive-maintenance optimization works and is needed in facilities of all ages and in all industries.

The level of contracted resources has minimal impact on R&M success.
True: R&M success is unaffected by the level of contracted resources.

Although there may be an increase in maintenance costs to get to best practices, the improvement in availability can result in a 10-to-15 times greater savings, versus maintenance cost-reduction savings.
True: While there most likely will be an increase in up-front costs as you establish best practices, once in place you will realize 10 to 15 times more long-term savings than is possible by conventional maintenance cost-cutting.

Turnarounds have minimal impact on reliability and availability.
False: Turnarounds can have a significant impact on reliability and availability.

Managing your backlog is critical if you want to reduce reactive maintenance.
True: You must properly and consistently manage your backlog if you want to reduce your reactive maintenance.

Performing root-cause analysis has a significant impact on R&M, even with an informal process.
False: Performing root-cause analysis has a significant impact, but you should have a formal process to share/implement results and maintain standardized work processes.

Craft skills are not that important if you have well-written PMs.
False: Craft skills, such as precision maintenance and predictive technologies, are critical to R&M success.

Precision maintenance can generate as much as 50% more savings than general training on plant-floor improvements.
False: Precision maintenance can generate 300% more savings than can be realized with general plant-floor-improvement training.

Involving the operator helps, but only slightly when it comes to root-cause analysis.
False: The operator can have a significant impact on root-cause analysis results, even if he/she does nothing more than respond to visual aids.

Reactive-maintenance levels in top-quartile facilities are only about 25%.
False: Top-quartile organizations have an average 9% reactive-maintenance level in North America.

At least 25% of your resource allocation should be spent on predictive technologies (finding only, not fixing).
True: Using predictive technologies (finding only, not fixing) should involve at least 25% of your resource allocation.

Good lubrication practices are only a concern if you don’t have good housekeeping practices.
False: Good lubrication practices are a major concern in most facilities, regardless of housekeeping practices.

Top-quartile companies have spare-parts costs similar to the other quartiles, because parts are needed just in case.
False: Spare-parts costs in top-quartile companies are about half the costs of those incurred by companies in
the other three quartiles.

Predictive maintenance is not used by 50% of North American manufacturing operations.
False: Predictive-maintenance practices are inadequate in 75% of North American manufacturing operations.

About 80% of maintenance trades/craft time should be scheduled. The other 20% is for unplanned activities. This approach avoids backlogs.
False: 100% of maintenance trades/craft time should be scheduled.

Any planner should be able to handle about 15 trades/crafts people.
False: An experienced planner should be able to handle about 15 trades/crafts people. A relatively new planner may only be able to handle five.

Having a good team culture will solve all of your R&M problems.
False: While positive results will happen faster with a good team culture, you still must implement the correct processes to be successful. My data show that properly engaging the workforce increases your factor of success by a factor of seven.

These findings are based on more than 30 years of benchmarking data and several-hundred related facility assessments and observations. If you don’t agree with any of the answers or have different or better data, let me know, and we’ll raise our R&M IQ together. EP

Based in Knoxville, Klaus M. Blache is director of the Reliability & Maintainability Center at the Univ. of Tennessee, and a research professor in the College of Engineering. Contact him at kblache@utk.edu.

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Klaus M. Blache

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