5 Elements That Drive Maintenance Success 63c98d4d23949

5 elements that drive maintenance success

Jan. 19, 2023
Tom Moriarty says it’s always best to have a big picture model in mind.

I’ve been writing for Plant Services Magazine for more than fourteen years. I think that’s long enough, and it’s time for you to hear other perspectives on leadership and management. While the Plant Services team identifies another person to take my place, I’ll be writing just a couple more columns. It has been an honor and a privilege to have had this opportunity to give back to the men and women of manufacturing.

Before signing off, I wanted to ensure I got some of the most important big picture concepts clearly stated. It’s always best to have a big picture model in mind. Models help us to picture our situation. It allows us to think through the way things are and to identify gaps in our current performance. Knowing the gaps helps us to prioritize and move towards solutions.

My consulting practice is mainly in maintenance and reliability, so many examples that I use are from that perspective. The model I use is the five-element structure. These elements are sequential. Element number 1 should be in place and functioning well before Element 2 can get traction. When I say “functioning well” I mean they must be functioning good enough so that value can be obtained from subsequent elements. The elements are:

1. Available resources – This means having funding and personnel that are properly organized and led. An organization or team can only perform to the limits of the resources that are available. During my years in the Coast Guard, we were often faced with budget cuts. There was always more that needed to be done than there were resources to do them. My typical approach was to determine the amount of work I could get done with the resources available, at historic performance levels. I then notified my chain of command of what things we would not be able to do due to the lack of resources. They could certainly redirect my focus, but if my boss added something, then an offsetting activity or activities would have to be removed. There is no free lunch for resources.

2.  Asset information – This refers to information on the things that the team or organization needs data or knowledge of and would be expected to use to carry out their mission. In maintenance organizations these would include things like asset hierarchy, criticality ranking, spare parts inventory, characteristic information on equipment, and equipment identification tags.

3.  Management System – Included in this element are the guidance and tools to manage how guidance was carried out. Think of guidance as the policies, plans, processes, procedures, and measures that define how the team or organization is expected to deploy resources. In maintenance and reliability this would include the work management process and maintenance management software. When work orders are properly planned and scheduled there is at least a 20% resource efficiency than unplanned, unscheduled work.

4.  Asset management strategy – This element includes the principles, tools and techniques required to define the best way to get value from the resources, assets and management system. In maintenance and reliability this includes Failure Modes, Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA) or Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM). We need to know what our assets require in order for them to perform at optimal levels.

5.  Continuous improvement – This refers to the principles, tools and techniques to review performance and to define solutions to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Reviews of resources, asset information, management systems and asset management strategies are undertaken. Tools such as Value Stream Mapping, Weibull Analysis, Statistical Process Control, Root Cause Analysis, Reliability Block Diagrams and engineering analysis are used to make strategic improvements. After the improvements are implemented, mission performance is monitored to ensure the changes actually led to improvements.

In my experience, leadership deficiencies are where the biggest issues exist. Leadership is part of Element 1, Available Resources. If leadership is lacking it impacts every other element. Asset data won’t be collected or kept up to date. Management systems won’t be followed and software capabilities won’t be realized. Asset strategies will not result in reliable performance. Few improvements will be made.

In my book and in this column, I have often conveyed the key elements of the Organizational Reliability Model and the Productive Leadership Model. These models provide the full picture of the Productive Leadership System. When these principles are followed, a leader can get the most value from resources they have been entrusted with. You can think of these five elements as a prioritization map for implementing Productive Leadership. Go forth and do great things.

About the Author

Tom Moriarty | P.E., CMRP, President of Alidade MER, Inc.

Tom Moriarty, P.E., CMRP is president of Alidade MER, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in asset management, reliability engineering, and leadership improvement. He is a member of SMRP (Florida Chapter Board Member and CED Director), a past Chair of ASME’s Canaveral Florida Section, and author of the book “The Productive Leadership System; Maximizing Organizational Reliability”. He has a BSME, an MBA (organizational development), is a licensed professional engineer (PE) in Florida, and a Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP). Contact him at [email protected], (321) 773-3356, or via LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/alidade-mer.

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