50 Ideas for an Effective Maintenance Program

When a maintenance program is successful, every area of the company is positively affected. Today, top organizations are reaping the benefits from implementing well-designed and managed reliability programs. Are you ready to take your reliability program to the next level? Here are 50 ideas to get you started:

Learn the 12 elements of effective reliability management. Be sure your organization understands these important elements and the impact they have on performance – starting at the very top. Without this leadership focus for your maintenance program, nothing else matters.

Track maintenance metrics. Using metrics and KPIs, maintenance organizations can efficiently manage maintenance activities and focus improvement initiatives on driving value.

Employ maintenance planning and scheduling. With effective planning, work can be completed with the least interruption to operations and the most efficient use of maintenance resources.

Consider an operator-driven reliability program. Without the ownership of your equipment in the operator’s hands, it’s difficult to be reliable. Using a well-planned approach involving all employees, equipment reliability will have a direct, positive impact on your bottom line.

Improve basic work systems. Many organizations spend too much time searching for new reliability and maintenance concepts, and very little time on implementing and improving what they just started.

Use joint reward systems to drive results. If an organization is serious about a closer integration between departments, the rewards systems must be designed to drive everybody’s actions and performance toward the same goal and rewards.

Construct your maintenance plan. Creating a maintenance plan is generally not difficult to do. But creating a comprehensive maintenance program that is effective poses some interesting challenges. what makes the difference between an ordinary maintenance plan and a good, effective preventive maintenance program.

Listen to your equipment. Do you listen to your motors complaining about overload? Do you see your pump packings crying a flood? Do you hear your bearings whine about contaminated lubricants? Do you notice your steam system coughing excessive condensate and complaining about strained elbows?

Stop rewarding failure. Managers can talk all day about the organization’s desire to be proactive, improve reliability, reduce costs, etc. But people don’t pay attention to what you say; they pay attention to what you do. If you talk “reliability” but pay and recognize for failure, guess what you’ll get? What gets rewarded gets done, period.

Target the 60 percent. On average, 30 percent of all preventive maintenance activities do not add value and should be eliminated. Another 30 percent of these activities could be replaced with condition-monitoring technologies and a predictive maintenance approach.

Go all-in with condition-based monitoring. There is little to no payback from using one or two condition- monitoring technologies – or applying CBM to a small amount of your assets and hoping it will evolve into a successful program.

More accurately estimate labor hours. Experience shows that the best labor estimates are routinely off as much as 100 percent. A job estimated to take five labor hours might take as many as 10 hours or as few as two.

Get the right leaders onboard. Corporate reliability leaders say that if they could do it over again, they’d spend more time choosing the right people for key leadership positions. With the right leadership in the right areas pushing the right things, you have success.

Employ a multi-tool approach for more savings. The preventive maintenance team at American Axle and Manufacturing addressed an issue found during a routine preventive maintenance work order using multiple condition monitoring tools.

Build a detailed and accurate equipment list. Despite what you may have heard, the foundation of a successful reliability program is a list – a detailed, accurate equipment list ideally recorded in your CMMS software. It contains the vital information you need to design, develop and engineer your maintenance program from the ground up.

Never accept “good enough”. In a maintenance improvement process, there are several areas where there is always a desire or undercurrent to shortcut the process. One of the most important actions of maintenance and reliability leadership is to expect and set the environment to allow the entire organization to practice “Good Enough Never Is” every day.

Improve work processes. Operating practices are a vital part of any preventive maintenance program. Good practices prevent failures. Poor practices encourage failures. This article discusses sample business practices that must be implemented to improve overall plant reliability.

Use the right predictive maintenance metrics. What gets measured gets improved. Or conversely, what doesn’t get measured never will be improved. Tracking and reporting on key metrics lets you focus squarely on the behavior changes you want.

Create a clear, concise vision. One of the first responsibilities of leadership is to provide a simple, clear view of what the future can and should look like. Having a clear, concise vision to improve your plant is important. This vision must be simple and visible.

Learn root cause analysis techniques. When a reliability problem arises, most organizations either address it at the symptomatic level or seek immediately to lay blame on a person or group. Root cause analysis is a systematic process for understanding and addressing the underlying causes of a problem.

Look, listen, feel, smell. Regardless of whether you’re doing inspections with handheld computers or a paper system, can trend data or not, or have key performance indicators or not, you won’t be successful unless your people can do quality inspections on equipment.

Decide on a lubrication staffing model. The question of who in an organization should be responsible for day-to-day machinery lubrication tasks is common. Learn the three most common organizational structures and create your own.

Create a planned backlog. The first maintenance scheduling principle is the prerequisite of having a planned backlog. Learn how to prepare and use a schedule as a control standard to improve maintenance productivity.

Use Reliability-Centered Maintenance analysis. A Reliability-Centered Maintenance analysis should be viewed as a serious exercise for your business. An RCM analysis is an investment that takes time, resources and money to complete, but is worth the effort.

Implement Total Productive Maintenance in 12 steps. Implementing TPM using these 12 steps will start you on the road to “zero breakdowns” and “zero defects.” Achieving 100 percent reliability takes discipline and teamwork.

Break out of maintenance budget jail. If you are in budget jail and have tried to get out by preaching reliability to the people above you but have made little headway, here is a plan to break you out.

Learn the value of “P”. Point P on the P-F Curve is where a defect enters a machine. At some time in the future, this will cause a functional loss of some kind. As a defect lingers in a machine, the machine functionality decreases over time. At some point in the future, Point F, total failure of the machine occurs.

Create an equipment bill of materials. An equipment bill of material lists all the components of an asset, including its assemblies and subassemblies. With a reliable equipment bill of materials, a planner can determine exactly what parts are needed. And in an emergency, it provides valuable information to craftsmen and others to ensure that the right parts are identified and procured.

Use P-F intervals to map and avert failures. The P-F interval is a valuable piece of information for any maintenance team, and you don’t need special education to use it. The use of P-F intervals in determining the right maintenance to perform at the right time need not be confined to RCM.

Consider a continuous monitoring system. Continuous monitoring is the application of dedicated devices for collecting predictive maintenance-style data to aid in a condition monitoring program. With each passing year, this technology gets cheaper, and the desire for more complex and more robust monitoring gets larger.

Build a strong relationship with operations. To get better at maintenance, you must get better at building a positive relationship with operations. To achieve maintenance excellence, you must have an excellent relationship. This means having maintenance in full alignment with the larger goals of your operations and your company.

Quantify the cost of a functional failure mode. What is the real cost of a failure? Unfortunately, we don’t know until after the failure has occurred – and reliability is about avoiding the failure.

Develop standard maintenance procedures. Plants often fail to see the importance of having well-written procedures for most tasks. This article discusses the importance of having good procedures and presents the details needed to develop well-written standard maintenance procedures.

Manage assets by criticality. Through proper construction of the criticality analysis model, reliability engineering will be able to illustrate what reliability enhancements must be made to manage criticality, thus improving their ability to manage assets by criticality.

Teach operators the “Should-Actual Five-Whys” method. Operators in a reliability-focused culture should have a questioning attitude and be very observant. The inclusion of the S-A-5Whys tool in their skill set will benefit the organization by the early identification and resolution of problems, leading to increased asset reliability.

Get more out of your EAM. All EAM systems contain the same basic capabilities in support of your maintenance program. They are like any other software package – their success depends on how they are implemented and, more importantly, how they are used.

Optimize outages with effective task planning. Outages can have elaborate schedules, but often are unsuccessful due to ineffective advanced planning, which results in inefficient work execution and outage schedule overruns. Outages can only be successful when the outage work is planned effectively before the work is scheduled and/or started.

Put multiple CBM tools to use. It is essential to understand how equipment performs in a facility and to be able to predict and prevent failures before they happen. The results of the combination of condition-based monitoring technologies will give the reliability engineer an even greater confidence when communicating to management when an asset is approaching an impending failure.

Apply the correct maintenance strategies. True reliability is achieved when the most cost-effective methods are applied to the assets in your plant, thereby maximizing reliability with the minimum total cost to the business.

Benchmark your lubrication program. Benchmarking provides a much-needed scorecard for areas of lubrication that may not be obvious or often considered for improvement. It is true that we “don’t know what we don’t know”.

Detect machine problems early. This massive list of inspection items will allow you to detect problems early, and hopefully eliminate downtime and/or reduce maintenance costs.

Remove process bottlenecks. If your process bottlenecks are linked closely to the maintenance and reliability of your equipment, it is most likely you have a highly reactive maintenance organization. To move from a primarily reactive regime, significant focus must be placed on developing and deploying systems that move the organization toward being proactive.

Optimize PM tasks. Unfortunately, most preventive maintenance tasks lack the detail that will provide quantitative data for equipment history, and they are written without considering failure modes. The solution is to practice Preventive Maintenance Optimization (PMO), using all aspects to write PM procedures that are value added, comprehensive, repeatable, organized, and specify a correct duration and interval of execution.

Create a lean and effective oil analysis program. Oil analysis is a powerful tool in a maintenance program. This case study presents alternatives to expensive in-house test equipment, good utilization of outside labs, oil storage solutions, methods of reporting findings to further the program, and selling the program to upper management as well as to operations and maintenance.

Put maintenance checklists to use. While most groups will say they have checklists, requiring their use and the accountability are often major factors for success. In your organization, what processes do you have in place to ensure that people use maintenance procedures and checklists?

Avoid the 5 biggest risks. Asset management is an integrated approach to optimizing the life cycle of your assets, beginning at conceptual design, through to usage, decommissioning and disposal. By acknowledging and paying attention to these five primary risks to effective asset management, you can put in place plans to mitigate the effects these might have on their program.

Give maintenance technicians equipment ownership. How do you strike a balance between equipment ownership and building the skills through cross training, and having the ability to get the work done all the time? Is it based on the culture of the organization?

Be smart about kitting. Kitting for maintenance crafts to perform their tasks is one of the easier and more effective ways to allow quality completion of the job with minimal productivity impact, especially when accompanied by a well-planned and functionally scheduled job.

Work towards zero failures. Experiences and data show that zero failures are possible in a maintenance program. As someone once said, “If you think you can’t, you’re probably right. If you think you can, you’re probably right.”

Manage the change process. The most difficult but most beneficial aspect of leading a maintenance and reliability improvement effort is managing the change process in organizations. The behavior change process from a reactive state to a proactive state is a challenging transition for any maintenance program.

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