The maintenance business experience

Learn how to discover the hidden value of maintenance.

By Remco Jonker and John Holmes, Mainnovation

In an increasingly competitive market, maintenance organizations are required to improve their business performance. They have to create more value, contributing to the overall company results. Fortunately, many maintenance organizations contain a value potential that has not yet been realized. But where is this treasure hidden and how can it be revealed?

Learning by doing

Besides defining the maintenance strategy using benchmark information and value calculation, VDM also supports the implementation of the strategy. One of the main challenges is to get the people on board to drive the strategy at operational level. People need to accept the burning platform and be able to translate the strategy to the specific role. The main driver to develop the maintenance business experience is therefore to encourage people of all levels in the organization to adapt to the upcoming changes and, if applicable, to use the VDM philosophy. You have to experience the power of the concept by applying it yourself, learning by doing.

Fun to play

The Maintenance Business Experience is an interactive business game for maintenance and reliability professionals and takes place in a competitive environment. Various maintenance teams compete with each other to develop the most value adding maintenance strategy for a fictional company. In the annual strategy assessment, the teams are faced with questions. How many technicians do we need? How many critical spare parts should we have on stock? What is the optimum preventive maintenance for this plant? Which improvements should we implement in our organization? Each year a benchmark report is provided to the teams to see how their strategy has influenced the performance and what needs to be done to further improve it. The experience addresses various learning objectives not only to show the value of a certain strategy, but also how it impacts the day-to-day way of working. The team that has created the highest economic value after four budget years wins the Most Valuable Maintenance Award. The simulation has been applied at different companies, including Volvo Cars, with great success.

Focus and priority setting

In real life the maintenance manager faces three stakeholders with conflicting interests. The production manager is interested in higher equipment availability and reliability, while the financial manager scrutinizes every penny in the maintenance budget, especially during economic downtimes. At the same time the maintenance manager is experiencing mounting pressure from laws and regulations introduced by government and the company.

Making quality choices is paramount in an environment with conflicting interests. The Maintenance Business Experience is a very powerful tool to support decision making based on the economic added value of maintenance. It is an excellent tool for getting everyone in an organization — operators, maintenance, accountants, managers, executives — to understand the effects their decisions have on the company as a whole.

Experience the simulation

The VDM Business Simulation is not only a game that can be played by companies that are familiar with VDM, but by anyone who wants to know and learn about how maintenance can be a driver adding value to the overall company result. You can play the game on Oct. 18 at the SMRP annual conference in Orlando, Florida. For more information, visit www.smrp.org.

Volvo Cars

Volvo Cars uses the Maintenance Business Experience to get the right mindset.
Volvo Cars uses the Maintenance Business Experience to get the right mindset.

Volvo Cars produces more than 460,000 cars per year. At the production site in Gent, Belgium, 260,000 cars are built of various types: Volvo S40, V50, S60, and V70. In total 5,000 people are in service, and 300 of them are active in the maintenance organization. The production process consists of three major steps: car assembly, painting, and assembly of other parts. About 725 industrial robots are commissioned along a production line of 10 miles. A few years ago management received the challenging task to streamline the maintenance processes. This was mainly instigated by macroeconomic trends such as increasing costs of raw materials, a weak dollar against the euro, and at the same time little growth in the major markets due to the economic crisis. This has led to considerable pressure on profit margins.

To standardize maintenance processes, the site managers in Belgium and Sweden decided to set up uniform and transparent work processes in line with VDM. The processes are based on internal best practices across the sites and enriched with external best practices. They are all translated into a standardized common Maximo system. Of course, this whole exercise affected the jobs of many people. “As a consequence the cultural change is probably our greatest challenge to deliver results at the end of the day”, says Marc Begijn, maintenance manager at Volvo Cars Gent. “We decided to use the VDM business simulation to familiarize the key players in the maintenance organizations with the new or adjusted roles and the new way of working. The main objective is to get the right mind set so that people understand the reasons why change is necessary and how it affects the way they work. The results are very promising. We are even considering playing the simulation at board level.”

To learn more about value-driven maintenance, read Discover the financial benefits of value-driven maintenance

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