Author: Dan DeGrendel
Optimizing your maintenance strategy doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. The key is to follow core steps and best practices using a structured approach. If you’re struggling to improve your maintenance strategy — or just want to make sure you’ve checked all the boxes — here’s a 1000-foot view of the process.
1. Sync up
- Identify key stakeholders from maintenance, engineering, production, and operations — plus the actual hands-on members of your optimization team.
- Get everybody on board with the process and trained in the steps you’re planning to take. A mix of short awareness sessions and detailed educations sessions to the right people are vital for success.
- Make sure you fully understand how your optimized maintenance strategies will be loaded and executed from your Computer Maintenance Management System (CMMS)
- Review/revise the site’s asset hierarchy for accuracy and completeness. Standardize the structure if possible.
- Gather all relevant information for each piece of equipment.
- Empirical data sources: CMMS, FMEA (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis) studies, industry standards, OEM recommended maintenance
- Qualitative data sources: Team knowledge and past records
- Assign a criticality level for each piece of equipment; align this to any existing risk management framework
- Consider performing a Pareto analysis to identify equipment causing the most production downtime, highest maintenance costs, etc.
- Determine the level of analysis to perform on each resulting criticality level
- Using the information you’ve gathered, define the failure modes, or apply an existing library template. Determine existing and potential modes for each piece of equipment
- Assign tasks to mitigate the failure modes.
- Assign resources to each task (e.g, the time, number of mechanics, tools, spare parts needed, etc.)
- Compare various options to determine the most cost-effective strategy
- NOTE: Reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) simulation software can be a great help in deciding between run-to-failure, time driven repair/replace and inspection tasks.
- Bundle selected activities to develop an ideal maintenance task schedule (considering shutdown opportunities). Use standard grouping rules if available.
This is your proposed new maintenance strategy.
- Review the proposed maintenance strategy with the stakeholders you identified above, then get their buy-in and/or feedback (and adjust as needed)
- Implement the approved maintenance strategy by loading all of the associated tasks into your CMMS — ideally through direct integration with your RCM simulation software, manually, or via Excel sheet loader.
7. Keep getting better
- Continue to collect information from work orders and other empirical and qualitative data sources.
- Periodically review maintenance tasks so you can make continual improvements.
- Monitor equipment maintenance activity for unanticipated defects, new equipment and changing plant conditions. Update your maintenance strategy accordingly.
- Build a library of maintenance strategies for your equipment.
- Take what you’ve learned and the strategies and best practices you’ve developed and share them across the entire organization, wherever they are relevant.
Of course, this list provides only a very high-level view of the optimization process.