Nine maintenance practices to prevent downtime

Fight the "Doris Day Syndrome" with preventive maintenance.

There's a deadly virus on the loose. It's been around awhile, but it's quiet and pervasive and it's found its way into just about every organization. It's the Doris Day Syndrome, and it's most harmful to maintenance departments.

Most of you will remember movie screen siren/good girl/singer Doris Day. In one of her most famous songs, she sings, "Que sera, sera, what will be, will be." Don't listen to her. You can't wait to see what will be. The way to fight the Doris Day Syndrome is to practice preventive maintenance.

I first heard about the Doris Day Syndrome from Ricky Smith, executive director for Maintenance Solutions at Life Cycle Engineering, Inc., in North Charleston, S.C., during a class he conducted on preventive maintenance at a recent users' conference. He said that preventive maintenance is "a controlled experiment." Maintenance crews must get plant equipment under control and then prevent its condition from declining. Smith stressed that preventive maintenance doesn't provide reliability, it maintains reliability. He also emphasized that the basics of maintenance must be in place for any preventive program to succeed.

Smith provided a list of nine best maintenance practices. I thought I'd share them with you, in case you want to keep that Doris Day Syndrome far from your department.

Work orders cover 100 percent of a maintenance technician's time.

In one of her most famous songs, she sings, "Que sera, sera, what will be, will be." Don't listen to her.

Preventive maintenance inspections generate 90 percent of work orders.

Preventive maintenance is 30 percent of the work.

Ninety percent of work is planned or scheduled.

One-hundred percent reliability is reached 100 percent of the time. Note: Smith said maintenance models should be based on the reliability levels a company expects from its equipment. How much reliability does your company need?

Spare parts stock outs are rare, less than one per month.

Overtime is less than 2 percent of total maintenance time. "We need to do it right. We need to have a life," Smith reminded the class. "I want maintenance guys to coach little league." He said most folks in the maintenance department don't want to give up overtime pay. "All that overtime means big bucks," he said. "I know. I had a truck, a GTO, two motorcycles, a surfboard, etc., but I never could use any of it because I was working maintenance."

Maintenance budget stays within a two-percent deviation. "This can save people's jobs," Smith explained. Check to see how much non-maintenance work you actually perform.

The mission is proactive maintenance.

Stay healthy. Avoid the Doris Day Syndrome. Follow these maintenance best practices, and prevent trouble.