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Reliality Roadmap

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The Asset Reliability Roadmap Graphic. Copyright. Mark Brunner 2009.

Following the Asset Reliability Roadmap

Acknowledge your reality.  Are you always working reactively and rarely have enough   time to resolve issues so they do not reoccur? do you have maintenance planners and how well are you using them? Do you manage spares? Is a work management process in place? Use the asset reliability road map’s  Benchmarking tool to understand your reality. The findings from this tool will allow you to build a Vision for the future. Go to asset management benchmarking tool.

Develop a Vision. Do you believe your equipment will be more reliable in 12 months time if you do nothing different? The reality is “if you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you have always got”. No matter where you are in your asset reliability journey, you need to develop a vision of where you want to be in 2 to 3 years time. This vision becomes your business plan, of which the detail will become part of a submission to management and your workgroup. Use the asset reliability road map’s vision development tool to help to build your vision. Go to the Vision development tool.

Gain Management support and Gain Team support. These sections of the journey to improved asset reliability are the biggest roadblocks, and they will make or break your efforts from here on in. Without management and work team support your best efforts will never be embedded and are doomed to fail.

The key to gaining support from management is to present your Vision and Business plan convincingly, and this must be supported by evidence that what you are recommending will lead to improved asset reliability and hence more output for less cost.

To gain support from your own team they must have been involved in the development of the vision and business plan as this will promote ownership of them. Don’t expect support  if you develop a vision and then tell your people that this is what we are now doing.

So you now have a Vision and the support of management and your team. What do you need to do first?

Build or review the equipment register. The equipment register is the backbone of your reliability journey. All of your PM inspections, work instructions, maintenance history and costs will be linked to this register. Setting this up correctly is critically important, as it will help in building up accurate history of events and costs. Improvements in reliability are dependent on having accurate data complied against your equipment register.

Understand asset criticality. Your reliability improvement journey must be started on your most critical assets. An assessment of criticality should include how reliability effects the cost of lost production, the cost to repair, the effect on safety, and the effect on the environment. Generally your long standing employees will have a reasonable understanding of plant criticality, and this can be backed up by the used of a criticality assessment tool

Work management system. Even smaller manufacturing facilities can have hundreds of work requests per month. Do you have a defined method as to how they should be handled? Does he who shout the loudest get the most attention even if the work request is a low priority? A work management model must be designed for your business. This model must define who does what, it must have a prioritisation system and  a closeout system that capture history and improvement.

Develop PM’s. As you now have a work management process in place you can start to develop new, or review your existing tasklists for scheduled PM’s. Start on your most critical equipment as determined by your earlier assessment. If you have failure data, analyse it and determine your most recurring and expensive failures. Use a tool such as FMEA, RCM or PMO to determine possible failure modes. Use the collated data to build your tasks lists. This is a lot of work and needs to be effectively resourced  but it will payoff in the long run.

Preventative, Predictive, Proactive? You need to focus as many of your PM tasks as possible on Predictive and Proactive  Maintenance. Use technologies such as Thermography, Ultrasonic detection, Vibration Analysis or just simple visual inspections. Unless you have a well understood failure rate or there is a statutory requirements, time based overhauls need to be avoided wherever possible. Do you asses your failure data regularly? These predictive and proactive maintenance  practices should feedback into your work management system so they are acted on in an appropriate manner and reasonable time frame. 

Lubrication. For those of you with rotating equipment; if there was one thing you need to get right, this is it. It is obvious to state that machines break when they are not lubricated correctly, but how often is poor lubrication the cause of unplanned downtime in your business? A well-managed lubrication strategy is the place to start developing PM’s for.

Organisation structure. Does your maintenance structure meet the business needs? Most manufacturing businesses have a level of reactive maintenance. How is this managed in your workplace? Do you constantly miss doing planned work because of breakdowns? Often it makes sense to have a dedicated crew for what I call “Front line Maintenance” . This group should be sized to meet plant reactive demand. The rest of your crew are now dedicated to planned and scheduled work. Are your mix or trades correct for the business. Are you carrying other tradesman that would not be considered critical in a manufacturing environment. Often they are more cost effectively controlled as contractors. Ideally your structure should be sized to meet the base workload of your business. Extra labor requirements related to shutdowns and other special maintenance events can often be more cost effectively covered by contract labor.

Planning and scheduling. The best Maintenance organisitions plan and schedule 80% of there work, while on the other hand many industries still don’t understand the the value of planning and scheduling. Any site with more than a handful of tradesmen will benefit from having a planner. If done well improvements in reliability and costs will be realised without adding any additional labor. How can this be the case you may ask? It is widely quoted that planned work can be up to five times more cost effective than fixing things when they break. When you consider the extra costs associated with procuring equipment in a hurry, significant overtime and the loss of output when equipment is down, it isn’t to difficult to work it out.

Spares management. How often has a piece of equipment been down for an extend period because a spare part was not immediately available? Ideally all spares for your plant should be cataloged and listed in bills of materials in your CMMS. Spares deemed as critical  should be kept in your local store if you have one. Alternately you should ensure your vendor can look after you in quickly in times of need. “Squirrel stores” or personal stashes of equipment is not the way to manage your spares. You are then relying on individuals to ensure they always have the parts available, and how does anyone else know is available? The other issue is that often multiple people will keep the same spare which becomes an expense the business didn’t have to incur. On the other hand how much redundant equipment is sitting on shelves and no-one can remember what it is for? “We cant throw it away, just incase we need it”. Spares are often the forgotten component of Asset management, but they are critical if you want to become one of the best.

Workforce Capability. Tradesmen/Craftsmen must be able to support the needs of the business. Do they have the skills required to effectively maintain your plant. Develop a skills matrix that details what you require from your people, then assess the abilities of the crew against the matrix to determine what needs to be done so the skill level meets the requirements. Sometimes this may be external training but more often than not, the skills can be learnt with the help of senior tradesmen or by following detailed work procedures.

Root cause analysis. So far we have been building the foundation of your Asset Management improvement journey. How can you take it to the next level? Root cause analysis processes will help you address the causes behind expensive failures or resolve those nagging issues that just wont go away. Although the concepts of RCA are fairly simple, it is a good idea to have formal training. Here in Australia Sirf have a really excellent system, and the other worth recommending is Apollo  RCA. If you want a free tool go to the tools page on this web site.

Continuous improvement. If you accept your current reality, you will get what you have always got. If you decide it is time to improve then follow the Asset Reliability Roadmap as described. If you want to continue to improve you have to apply a continuous improvement philosophies to all of the above elements. Generally we are all good at implementing things but to often we don’t check how well the changes have worked. Constantly review the outcomes from your initiatives and make changes for the better. A few examples:

  • review your skills matrix on a 6 monthly basis to see if you are better meeting the business needs.
  • Get your tradesmen/Craftsmen involved in feeding back on the quality of the work instructions. (Make sure you can take some criticism about this)
  • Ensure all follow up work from inspections are entered into the CMMS.

Keep in mind that the roadmap is a guide in which detours are allowed. There may only be some of these areas that you need to work on. Also many of the steps can be completed in parallel which may shorten the journey. I cannot hide the fact that this is a tough road to follow, but if you want to help your business to survive it can only be of benefit.

The Asset Reliability Roadmap Article and Graphic. Copyright, Mark Brunner. 2009.

Posted 28th May 2009.

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Copyright, Mark Brunner, 2009

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