The Journey to Maintenance Excellence: Reliability Improvement (Part II)
All work should have a classification scheme that allows for data mining in order to provide the nature of work done on the asset and what the problems are. This needs to be carefully planned at the beginning of the improvement process and should not be so extensive that it is difficult to analyze.
Whatever designations or codes your operation chooses, they must be accompanied by clear definitions on their use, including by whom and under what circumstance. This leads to granularity and standardization of data that eventually provides useful diagnostic information.
If the equipment is not reliable as is required, then a change can be made to the PMs in order to fix the gap. This effort should also be signed-off by operations and maintenance. This constant review of the effectiveness of a PM program is essential to the sustainability of maintenance excellence.
When you are developing your asset-care strategy, it should have availability, mean time between failures (MTBF), mean time to repair (MTTR), or other performance goals defined. As time goes on, some of the equipment will not meet your goals. These pieces of equipment are commonly referred to as “bad actors.” Operations should be a part of this selection as they may have their own criteria or priorities. We find it is a good practice to maintain a “Top-10” list of bad actors and to develop a strategy for each of them. The strategy may be to replace, rebuild, redesign, or change the asset-care strategy. When changes are made, the results must be monitored in order to determine if they are effective.
Once the bad actors are identified and the data is gathered, a structured problem-solving method should be used. There are many methods available, from “5 Whys” to failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA). We have also found that doing this work in a small equipment-improvement team (EIT) can be effective and works best when including the operators.
Once a problem is solved, real productivity can be created by applying the solution to other identical or similar equipment. This disciplined problem solving will also have the benefit of improving morale and the skills of the technicians and operators who are involved.
We have found that having a reliability engineer is an extremely valuable asset since that person can lead the PM, PdM, CM, and PMO efforts. This person can also help in problem solving bad-actor equipment and can lead EITs. This person can also be on the capital-acquisition committee and can represent maintenance in getting new equipment with proper specs, document, and OEM training.
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