Asset Care program reduces labor and improves reliability

March 16, 2011
Overall equipment effectiveness is up, inventory is down.

To this point, our organization hasn’t been tasked with contracting or outsourcing MRO services. The Asset Care community within our organization has been tasked with improving reliability and reducing costs, and it has been successful at delivering great results.

Repair parts inventory is critical for assets that have been determined to be run-to-failure assets. In our business, approximately 15% of maintainable assets have been determined to be run-to-failure. As such we have been able to reduce inventory holdings by approximately 40%. Adopting reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) methodology to identify failure modes and implementing cost-effective inspection and replacement strategies have allowed us to reduce stock holdings and rely on just-in-time ordering and delivery to manage parts — all this while improving overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) 20 percentage points.

In addition to reducing repair parts inventory held, the Asset Care organization has been able to reduce costs of labor and improve reliability through focus on the following key drivers:

Design-out maintenance — We focus on ease of maintenance and standard parts when purchasing new equipment. In addition, the process focuses on not repeating lessons learned by including any innovations in new equipment that have been developed to mitigate a problem with existing equipment.

Condition-based maintenance — We have developed small teams, two to four individuals per manufacturing site, who are subject matter experts on predictive methods such as vibration, ultrasound, thermography, oil analysis and motor current analysis. These teams have developed routes utilizing these technologies and others to identify machine and process issues before failure occurs. The teams have also developed operator-based inspections using handheld devices to assess device health. These include temperature measurement, vibration monitoring and visual inspections.


Operator-based maintenance — Operators are trained to complete minor repairs and inspections. This frees craftspersons to focus on tasks requiring specialized skills and reliability improvement activities. We rarely have to call in service engineers for major pieces of equipment as the trades have been able to improve skills to the point that service engineers are no longer needed.

Maintenance-based operations — Craftspersons are assigned to work within operating teams to address breakdowns. The craftspersons also help mentor operators in basic repair skills while increasing their understanding of equipment operations.

RCM task definition methodology — All preventive and predictive inspections and repairs are reviewed using RCM II methodologies. The result has been a more focused and value-added inspection and repair environment.

Training — There has been a renewed focus on understanding job requirements for all operators and craftspersons and the skills required to properly complete tasks.

Change management — A formal change review process has been implemented, and all changes to equipment, controls or process steps are reviewed by subject matter experts for applicability and correctness.

Work planning, execution and controls processes — The work of maintenance, its execution and its effectiveness rely on proper task definition and preparedness, proper work execution controls, and an ongoing review of effectiveness. The CMMS has been optimized to provide a better work planning tool, planners and schedulers were trained in effective use of the CMMS, meetings were formalized to better communicate work plans when equipment will be taken down, and a formal review of all work done during scheduled down periods is reviewed to address inadequacies and identify best practices.

Vendor partnerships established — Several vendor partnerships have been established whereby the vendor provides services at reduced or no cost in exchange for standardization on the vendor’s offerings.

Steven A. Erickson is manager, asset management systems, at MillerCoors in Milwaukee.

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