Asset Management Consultants, USCCG Maintenance Management Capabilities, Ivara EXP, Reliability, RCM, RCM II, Uptime, OEE

By: Usc Consulting Group  09-12-2011

Reliability Centered Maintenance

Studies originally conducted in the airline industry, and subsequently validated across other industries, have shown that approximately 80% of all mechanical, electrical, and structural failures are random in nature and cannot be effectively correlated to time or operating hours. While most industrial maintenance organizations have relied on time-based replacement and adjustment maintenance tasks to prevent failures, recognizing that most failures are random, and thus not preventable by implementing a time-based approach, has caused many companies to re-evaluate their maintenance programs.

Invariably, if the majority of an organization’s maintenance activities are time-based, then the wrong work is being done. And it’s not just a question of using such statistical tools as ”Weibull analysis” or others to fine tune the timing of age-related PMs. Instead, leading companies are learning to develop the right kinds of proactive tasks to manage random failures using reliability centered maintenance methodologies combined with world class maintenance processes and management.

Implementing a reliability program and defining the right proactive work is not simple. However, there are many well-documented, proven methodologies available to an organization committed to “doing the right work, at the right time.” Aladon’s RCMII and Ivara’s Maintenance Task Analysis (MTA) can assist firms in identifying the right work, and, when combined with solid management practices, ensure work occurs when it should in order to optimize asset utilization.

These approaches look at all of the ways an asset can fail (Failure Modes), and take a different approach to failure management. This new approach focuses on mitigating the consequences of failure at the Failure Mode level, rather than using time-based tasks to manage the asset. This approach looks at each specific Failure Mode, and determines the best proactive task or tasks to detect failure or prevent its consequences.

Done properly, the result will be a high percentage (>80%) of tasks that requires some form of condition monitoring, and a much lower percentage (<20%) that relies on time-based tasks, or tasks related to operating age. In addition, the failure analysis will identify the corrective work to be performed when early signs of failure are detected.

Condition monitoring tasks, driven by an understanding of failure modes, create a picture of equipment health from visual inspections, the appropriate use of predictive technology (thermography, vibration, non-destructive testing), and online equipment data (pressure, temperature, flow, amps, etc.). All of these condition-monitoring activities generate data related to the health of the equipment.

This data, properly managed, drives action to prevent further failure, much like monitoring one’s blood pressure to prevent catastrophic results. Done effectively, this management of condition information will lead to dramatic improvements in asset reliability.

USCCG, in conjunction with our strategic ally Ivara Corporation, will help your organization implement the appropriate methodology, deploy enabling tools, and provide reliability expertise to prolong the productive life span of mission-critical capital assets.

World Class Reliability Maintenance Management

A world class maintenance operation differs from a run-of-the-mill operation only by the degree to which it achieves its primary function: to ensure that the right amount of equipment is ready and available at the right time, at a reasonable cost. Quality maintenance practices keep operations running smoothly and profitably. Poor practices can bring productivity to a halt and seriously affect the bottom line.

Unlike some business improvement organizations, USCCG does not view Reliability Centered Maintenance and World Class Maintenance Management as competing methodologies, but rather, as complementary methodologies that each enhances the other’s results. As discussed in the previous section, World Class Maintenance Management techniques will fall short if “planned work” is rooted in time/age/calendar-based replacement and adjustment activities. Using only proven failure analysis to define work will fall short if there are not effective management processes in place to ensure that the work force and other resources are properly scheduled, assigned, measured, and reviewed for improvement opportunities.

Ivara EXP™ Software

One of the most common roadblocks to successful implementation of condition-based or reliability-based maintenance across more than just a few assets is the enormity of data that must be managed once the program has been started. To ensure that USCCG’s clients’ improvement efforts are not inhibited by this data management requirement, or that they aren’t required to add headcount to manually convert the data to useable information, we have partnered with Ivara. Ivara has developed a superior product for automating “condition monitoring.” Additionally, EXP™ acts as a single application with which to develop a complete Asset Reliability Program in order to automate the documentation process and ensure the organization can sustain the improvement effort beyond the initial project.

EXP™ works in conjunction with an existing computer maintenance management software package (CMMS) or can be configured to perform those actions in the absence of a CMMS.

Without EXP, maintenance planners will be required to compare reported asset conditions against defined condition states and then determine the corrective action, if any, to be planned, scheduled, and assigned. EXP captures and monitors the asset state based on inspection inputs and then “pushes” the proactive tasks to the CMMS, thus significantly simplifying the resource scheduling and planning activities. EXP is an enabling and sustaining tool for managing the health of assets.

Best Practices

There are five key components for attaining world class maintenance status as defined by Terry Wireman, author of World Class Maintenance:

  • Quality equipment maintenance;
  • Positive attitude toward preventive maintenance activities;
  • Effective labor planning;
  • Optimal inventory control; and
  • Automation to optimize the maintenance department’s ability to meet its goals.

Each of these areas must be tracked closely with clearly defined metrics that allow for quick problem spotting and even quicker resolution. Optimizing one without managing the others can actually make an organization less effective. This means a holistic approach must be defined and systemically implemented. Fortunately, regardless of where your organization is currently on the “World Class Reliability Maintenance” continuum, you can achieve results quickly and implement the process in such a way to maximize sustainment.

Most companies are experiencing at least some of the same recurring problems, among them:

  • High “availability” metrics, yet low “reliability” metrics which result in missed schedules, low customer service levels, and/or high inventory levels, to buffer poor equipment reliability;
  • Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) that don’t deliver expected financial benefits;
  • Production planning out of synch with maintenance plans, resulting in high labor overtime and/or critical assets failing due to overdue PMs;
  • Overrunning planned shutdown times on equipment and/or equipment having high failure “post shutdown;”
  • Mismanaging outside contractors;
  • Overlooking work order disciplines, resulting in missed schedules, overdue tasks, low confidence level in maintenance effectiveness by equipment owners, and/or material expediting charges;
  • Poorly defined labor productivity; and
  • Stagnant or lowering revenue per asset dollar spent.

These problems stem from a number of common management mistakes that occur on a fairly routine basis. USCCG and our reliability partners have a proven track record in developing the business case, working with client leadership in developing an achievable and interlocking scorecard, then implementing improvement efforts, starting with a prototype area and implementing in an iterative fashion to drive benefits quickly, while involving the organization in the change.

The Big Picture

You can’t look at the maintenance process in isolation and expect to attain world class status. You have to look at the grand scope and involve people from every part of the operation and at every level. There are certain things that need to be done and certain changes that need to take place within the production group or the operations group that can facilitate what’s being done in maintenance.

For example, while working with an open pit mine client, we addressed truck maintenance problems that were created by the poor quality roads over which they traveled. The roads were maintained by the operating group and were bumpy and rough – far from high driving quality. In isolation, the operations group did not “see” the wear and tear cause by the road conditions, even though low truck availability and reliability was devastating to production. Prior to our engagement, operations viewed the role of maintenance as one of fixing things only when they were broken, which is not a world class view. World class organizations view maintenance as everyone’s responsibility, which means preventing things from breaking.

By bringing the two groups together during the failure analysis process, the team easily identified the need to base the road grading activity based on the condition of the road, not simply based on time. Defining the required condition, establishing an inspection process, and scheduling re-grading on “condition based” analysis extended truck life enormously and not only improved “availability” (reducing the amount of time trucks spend in planned maintenance), “reliability” (absence of unplanned maintenance) was improved to almost 100%.

By bringing together the different operational and maintenance elements and analyzing the information to determine the root causes for the problems, it was possible to develop a new reliability plan, not only reducing long-term maintenance costs, but more importantly significantly increasing the “available” asset capacity. It was a big step toward world class maintenance practices for this mine.

Climbing the World Class Ladder

  • Step One – Determine where you stand today
  • Step Two – Create a vision for the future
  • Step Three – Involve employees in the change process using a structured prototype
  • Step Four – Roll out successes across the organization
  • Step Five – Avoid backsliding through quarterly systems audits
  • Step Six – Automate the system

Rank your company against world class maintenance management practices

  1. Understand the P-F curve for critical assets
  2. Focus on task, labor, and material planning
  3. Maintain work coordination and control
  4. Identify problems for quick resolution
  5. Continue to improve every step of every process every day

You can rank your operation against world class practices and your competition by contacting USCCG for its World Class Reliability Maintenance Comparative Diagnostic audit. It’s available, free of charge, in Excel format. Simply answer the questions and return the file to us to receive a report showing how your company ranks. All information provided will be kept completely confidential.

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