Peak performance: How to achieve world-class asset management

Too often, reliability professionals chase after opportunities where the potential payback is not worth the time invested.

By Phil Beelendorf, Roquette America

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While the ISO 55000 set of standards is a great overarching document that establishes a general framework for asset management, the standards do not necessarily provide a detailed tactical road map to help organizations successfully execute an asset management strategy. If you are a reliability professional working in an organization that is considering adopting a formal asset management strategy, it’s highly likely that you will play a key role in the strategy’s creation and, most certainly, its execution.

So how does the reliability professional integrate asset management into his or her current set of objectives? Having a road map that aligns with and complements your current reliability program is key to a successful implementation.

First and foremost, you cannot adopt an asset management strategy for all asset classes at once. So where should you start? Remember, at the end of the day, your organization’s executive leadership cares only about three things:

  • Are we supplying customers product that meets their expectations (quality, quantity, on-time delivery, etc.)?
  • Are we effectively managing the risks that threaten business continuity?...And once these are addressed,
  • Are we consistently lowering the cost of our products?

If the goal of your asset management strategy is to master these essential hallmarks of a world-class business operation as quickly as possible, then the answer to the following questions might help you select your starting point:

1. Which class contains the greatest number of assets at your facility?

2. On which asset class do you spend the most money?

3. Which class contains the asset(s) that pose the greatest risk to your business (environmental, safety, customer impact)?

...And, finally,

4. By adopting an asset management strategy, where can you make the greatest impact with the least amount of time and energy?

When establishing priorities, question four is not asked nearly often enough. The number of new opportunities that present themselves each day can be overwhelming. As I review each opportunity that crosses my desk, I try to concentrate my time and effort on the ones that land in the upper left-hand quadrant of the matrix shown in Figure 1.

If the answers to the first three questions I asked above lead you to select an asset class where the opportunities for improvement are difficult to achieve (upper right-hand quadrant), I urge you to select another asset class.

Nothing will derail your asset management strategy quicker than getting bogged down in the weeds. If it takes a great deal of time or effort to resolve an opportunity, chances you will not find the time to resolve it. Last time I looked there were only 24 hours in a day, and most sane people would like to spend at least 12 of those hours away from work.

A few years ago when our organization decided to adopt an asset management strategy, we chose motors, centrifugal pumps, and mechanical seals as our starting point. Go back to the four questions I just asked you to consider.

1. Which class contains the greatest number of assets at your facility? Electric motors are the most numerous rotating asset in any facility. I haven’t seen too many hamsters on exercise wheels powering rotating equipment. In the corn milling industry, centrifugal pumps are the most common driven asset, and the pump’s mechanical seal acts like the fuse in an electrical circuit. Understanding the root cause of why it fails is crucial if you are serious about improved pump reliability.

2. On which asset class do you spend the most money? Based on the sheer number of assets, the amount of money spent on these two classes was significant at our facility.

3. Which class contains the asset(s) that pose the greatest risk to your business (environmental, safety, customer impact)? When a motor fails, rotating equipment stops rotating. And when a centrifugal pump fails, product stops moving from Point A to Point B. Again, by sheer number, many motors and centrifugal pumps are critical to our business. Leveraging what you learn across multiple assets improves overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) substantially.

4. By adopting an asset management strategy, where can you make the greatest impact with the least amount of time and energy? The most important factor in choosing motors, centrifugal pumps, and mechanical seals as our starting point was one of expediency. The reliability principles associated with these assert classes have been around a long time and are well-understood. It wasn’t a matter of “reinventing the wheel” as much as it was adopting basic tried-and-true principles that already existed.

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