Nine maintenance practices to prevent downtime

Dec. 15, 2002
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.


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.

Sponsored Recommendations

Arc Flash Prevention: What You Need to Know

March 28, 2024
Download to learn: how an arc flash forms and common causes, safety recommendations to help prevent arc flash exposure (including the use of lockout tagout and energy isolating...

Reduce engineering time by 50%

March 28, 2024
Learn how smart value chain applications are made possible by moving from manually-intensive CAD-based drafting packages to modern CAE software.

Filter Monitoring with Rittal's Blue e Air Conditioner

March 28, 2024
Steve Sullivan, Training Supervisor for Rittal North America, provides an overview of the filter monitoring capabilities of the Blue e line of industrial air conditioners.

Limitations of MERV Ratings for Dust Collector Filters

Feb. 23, 2024
It can be complicated and confusing to select the safest and most efficient dust collector filters for your facility. For the HVAC industry, MERV ratings are king. But MERV ratings...