A trip down reliability lane at SMRP

Nov. 14, 2012
Mike Bacidore says past SMRP chairs are still committed to reliability.

The Society of Maintenance & Reliaibility Professionals’ annual conference turned 20 in October. The party was attended by 918 guests, roughly four times the number that came to the very first SMRP conference.

Al Weber, senior associate at PCA Consulting in Fort Myers, Florida, chaired the first and second events. He spoke often at this year’s gathering in Orlando, Florida, sharing stories of the early days, as well as offering a presentation on making the business case for reliability, a topic near and dear to plant managers’ hearts.

The six primary areas of focus, when making the business case for reliability, are process efficiency and effectiveness; increased throughput and OEE; impact on cost of quality; impact on spare parts and inventories; insurance implications; and capital deferment, explained Weber, who also cited three key questions to ask.

  1. Is there urgency to change?
  2. What are the barriers that block objectives?
  3. Who needs to buy-in for success?
Mike Bacidore has been an integral part of the Putman Media editorial team since 2007, when he was managing editor of Control Design magazine. Previously, he was editorial director at Hughes Communications and a portfolio manager of the human resources and labor law areas at Wolters Kluwer. Bacidore holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He is an award-winning columnist, earning a Gold Regional Award and a Silver National Award from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He may be reached at 630-467-1300 ext. 444 or [email protected] or check out his .
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Commitment from top management is always important to any initiative, but especially with equipment reliability programs. “If management isn’t asking about how things are going,” warned Weber, “the level of effort and resources expended on the project drops exponentially.” Be sure to keep reliability relevant and demonstrate its effectiveness and impact on profitability with metrics to keep senior leadership from looking for bigger fish to fry. Weber offered some numbers to which plants should aspire.

  • Your maintenance costs should be 2-3% of replacement asset value.
  • Total maintenance costs should be less than 15% of total manufacturing costs.
  • More than 85% of total maintenance should be planned.
  • Proactive maintenance should be 75-80%, and reactive maintenance should be only 10-15%.
  • For the maintenance trades, wrench time should be greater than 60%.
  • Inventory turns should be no more than three per year.

Klaus Blache, PhD, MBA, CPE, is research professor at University of Tennessee College of Engineering and director of the Reliability & Maintainability Center ( Along with Weber, he also chaired SMRP for two years, his tenure being in the late 1990s, and shared expertise in one of the conference presentations.

He identified an engaged workforce as one of the top differences between the best plants and the others. “Why are so many lean implementations failing?” he asked. “A lot of that is failure to engage the workforce. Executives see that engaging the workforce will have a big impact, but they get quarterly bonuses based on production. We’re using the wrong KPIs. The best plants have an engaged workforce. You have to change the thinking process of the people for problem-solving and making decisions based on data.”