Monthly Archives: June 2017

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Author: Amir Datoo

Microsoft Excel is an amazing tool. Yet it has its limitations and flaws for engineers who aren’t trained in computer programming.

The main problem with Excel for managing maintenance programs is a simple one, yet it’s largely unavoidable. It’s called human error. No matter how fastidious you are when creating a spreadsheet, a single line of data that is entered incorrectly—or, worse, an inaccurate user-defined formula—can have huge implications down the track.  bigstock--124618859

In fact, a study by Raymond Panko has found that 88% of spreadsheets contain errors. He warns:

These error rates are completely consistent with error rates found in other human activities. With such high cell error rates, most large spreadsheets will have multiple errors, and even relatively small “scratchpad” spreadsheets will have a significant probability of error.

When it comes to maintenance, these small errors can quickly add up.

Think of a multi-million-dollar maintenance project. A maintenance manager unwittingly enters a few incorrect cost estimates. Decisions are made based on the calculations resulting from this incorrect data, and machinery is not maintained when it should be.

Or, the equation for failure probability is not quite right. According to the spreadsheet, a major piece of equipment isn’t likely to fail anytime soon, so you delay maintenance. Whoops. The equipment fails and the whole plant needs to be shut down. The downtime costs tens of thousands a day.

Yes, Excel can be used to create links between different sheets, develop hierarchical relations and create simple pivots. It can even run complex Monte Carlo simulations for determining probabilistic likelihoods of asset failure. It’s flexible and easily adaptable. But can your organization afford the risk of compounding errors due to incorrectly entered data or a flawed formula?

Making sense of work management

As any maintenance engineer or manager will know, work management is a critical piece of the maintenance puzzle. It’s all about evaluating your equipment, deciding what you need to do with it, scheduling the work in, completing the work and finally reviewing your actions.

You’d be hard-pressed to find an organization that doesn’t have a good work management process in place. And a raft of enterprise software systems exist to help manage the activity (think SAP PM or Maximo).

Yet these enterprise systems fall down in one crucial area: Asset Strategy Management. Reliability analysis is not built into the tools, and so organizations fall back on spreadsheets to manage things like predictive failure analysis, failure mode effects analysis and reliability simulations.

The good news? Implementing an Asset Strategy Management (ASM) solution removes the inconsistent outcomes from asset strategies and drives continuous reliability improvement. Asset Strategy Management helps to answer the ‘what’ and ‘when’ of maintenance, and is proving to save money, dodge downtime and improve overall business performance.

Key benefits of Asset Strategy Management

The use of an enterprise ASM solution over spreadsheets offers huge value to any organization.

First, as a structured solution, you know that it has gone through rigorous rounds of testing by experienced programs. Formula errors simply don’t exist.

What about human error? An ASM solution helps you avoid user input errors through data validation and verification. You set up business rules and logic that immediately flags if an error has been made. For example, there’s a common field called a ‘system condition’. You can set the field as mandatory—a user must enter a number to progress to the next field. You can even stipulate what number/s it can be. Competitive Advantage in a Business Competition Environment 3D I

ASM delivers huge efficiency gains.  We have seen it take almost three years to develop a reliability management strategy using Excel spreadsheets. Using an enterprise ASM software tool, complex reliability strategies were up and running in six months.

Efficiency is also found in the reduction of the number of files being used. If you’re using spreadsheets to manage maintenance schedules, it’s common to have a different spreadsheet at each site. A change that needs to be deployed globally requires huge effort and carries risk of error. When data is consolidated into one ASM system, changes can be made singularly and globally. Reliability studies seamlessly interact with the CMMS without version issues and/or loss of data. Perhaps the most significant benefit of an ASM solution is its ability to facilitate risk-based decision making. Spreadsheets do no provide real-time analytics to guide informed decisions. With the right Asset Strategy Management system in place, all the key metrics you need to make those business-critical decisions that could make or break your business are at your fingertips.

To learn more about Asset Strategy Management watch this webinar on-demand “Harnessing Technology, Innovation, and Big Data to Reshape Asset Strategy Management and Unlock Unrealized Value.”

Author: Jason Apps

Use the content and equipment expertise you already have to drive performance improvement

Do you get the sense that your organization is unable to deploy the best maintenance strategies to all assets, at all times? Do you suspect that money is being wasted through ineffective strategies? An Asset Strategy Management process could be just what your organization needs.

In short, Asset Strategy Management means that:

  1. The best strategies, developed by your best subject matter experts, are in place; and
  2. They are deployed to all your assets all the time; and
  3. They continually evolve based on real data and an effective review process

It unlocks value currently being left on the table through ineffective strategies and the inability to deploy the best tactics to all assets in moments.

What is Asset Strategy Management?

Most organizations have attempted, at least in part, to standardize Master Data and even strategies for common equipment. It makes logical sense to consolidate and deploy common data wherever relevant.

Yet there are two common problems holding organizations back:

  1. Creating and deploying generic content cannot be done effectively within a CMMS or ERP system. These systems are designed to support the execution of work; not the management of strategy decisions. By their very nature, they cannot truly utilize generic content in a continuously deployable and connected way.
  2. While there may be a sound, defined work management process in place to drive consistent execution of work, there is limited or no process in place to manage the review and evolution of strategies and content. Quite simply, parameters associated with the strategy can be changed on a whim with no requirement for subject matter involvement or approval.

Essentially, most organizations have not separated work management and strategy management – yet they are entirely different processes with completely different objectives.

Work Management = managing execution of work

Strategy Management = managing the strategy that will be executed

So what does strategy management cover? ASM Cog

  • Tactical:  The maintenance tactics that will be executed. Including the tasks to be performed, when they are done, how they are done, who does them, materials required.
  • Asset/Fleet: The decisions made at an asset level such as major component or asset replacement ages, major shutdown or system outage schedules.
  • Portfolio: Optimization of budget allocation for a portfolio to maximize value given the financial and resource constraints.

In many cases, there is an iteration whereby constraints at a portfolio level drive the need to change tactical level strategy to deliver the required performance with the available funds.

ASM ComponentsThe ideal situation

This environment – where strategy management is separated from both work management and performance management, where it is implemented – allows for management of generic content, rapid deployment, and intelligent strategies that continually learn from your best decisions no matter where they are made.

Your subject matter experts can develop a strategy for an equipment type, and then rapidly deploy the strategy to all relevant assets. When a change is made to one instance of that particular equipment type, you can see exactly where else it is implemented – so that maintenance plans can be updated in the CMMS, across the whole asset base if needed.  Caution

It is critical to note that Asset Strategy Management is not:

  1. Just an FMEA library
  2. Just a maintenance tactic library
  3. Just a project to review or develop maintenance tactics

Rather, it is a process that continually manages asset strategies over time. It delivers the required performance and allows you to effectively manage and deploy generic maintenance plans at a speed that matches the decision making.

Of course, for the process to work, Asset Strategy Management allows for local variations of content to account for different operating contexts or duties, environments, local workforces or regulations – while maintaining the link to generic content for rapid deployment of the latest thinking in the future.

What’s required for Asset Strategy Management?

Like all effective workflows, Asset Strategy Management needs the right infrastructure in place. You need:

  • A clearly defined process, with roles and accountabilities outlined
  • The right technology to identify underperforming assets and implement appropriate solutions using data-driven insights
  • A strategy for educating all people involved in every step of the process
  • Support mechanisms
  • Effective triggers
  • An Asset Strategy Management solution

But get it right and the results speak for themselves. With Asset Strategy Management, you will realise significant cost savings by deploying your best strategies to your entire asset base, all the time.

This is a guest post written by Copperleaf.  ARMS Reliability is an authorised distributor of Copperleaf’s C55 Asset Investment Planning & Management solution. 

Author: Barry Quart – Copperleaf, VP of Marketing

Close up of hand of man playing chess holding queen. Business ma

In any discussion about asset management these days, the ISO 55000 standard is bound to come up. ISO published the standard in 2014 to provide guidance on best-in-class asset management practices and help organisations “realise the maximum value from their assets.”

In a nutshell, it’s about choosing the ‘right’ things to invest in—the projects that will deliver the highest value, and are most aligned with your company’s strategy.

It’s also about creating a plan—a roadmap for success—laying out what will be done, when, by whom and how it will be evaluated. The plan must address how to keep assets operating at their optimal level of performance, while managing risk, and respecting the available budgets and resources. Goal Wish

Sounds simple but this is no easy task, especially in organisations with tens of thousands, or even millions of diverse assets.

Asset Investment Planning & Management (AIPM) is an evolving discipline that helps organisations focus their available resources on doing the right things at the right time. AIPM can help you:

  • PREDICT the long-term needs of your asset base
  • OPTIMISE portfolios of investments to realize the greatest value from your assets
  • MANAGE your portfolios to achieve the highest execution performance

When these three principles of AIPM are put in place, organisations can start to make these complex investment decisions with confidence. AIPM

PREDICT:  Asset managers must focus on predicting the needs of their corporation’s assets, and on developing a realizable investment strategy to meet those needs.  The key word here is realisable. It’s not just about identifying the ideal thing to do for every asset, because you invariably won’t be able to afford to do every “ideal” thing you are asked to. You need to propose a strategy that you can afford, and have adequate resources to carry out. This is where the second part of the strategy comes in.

OPTIMISE:  If your investment requests exceed your available budget and/or resources, you need to develop a plan that delivers the most value for the money and resources you do have. When you can’t do it all, you need to consider deferring some investments and/or evaluate alternative ways to address the needs identified above. Value-based decision making can help you make the difficult trade-offs between risk, cost, and performance, and ensure that for your available funding and resources, you are always executing a plan that delivers the maximum value from your assets.

MANAGE:  Even the best plans never execute as expected. Emergent work, delays, and cost overruns all affect your organisation’s ability to deliver on the original set of objectives. Actual spend and accomplishments should be compared to the original plan, variances explored, and the plan re-optimised to ensure that looking forward, the organisation is always focused on those activities that deliver the highest value. This process of continuous planning is an integral part of a best-in-class asset investment strategy.

AIPM can help you make higher value investment decisions, and justify those decisions to stakeholders. Learn more about how AIPM supports the ISO 55000 standard.

This is our sixth installment in our blog series on Root Cause Analysis Program Development. Earlier in the series, we introduced the six necessary functions within an RCA program and then outlined a recommended team structure to fulfill those functions. In this article, we’ll provide a detailed description of the part each of the six roles plan within an effective RCA program.bigstock-Teamwork-Of-Businesspeople-48286511.jpg

Let’s dive right in.

The RCA Steering Committee

It is the responsibility of the Steering Committee to develop and oversee the strategic functions of the RCA effort.  Steering Committee members should collectively have the authority to assign RCA roles and responsibilities, allocate resources to the effort, and most importantly, have a vested interest in the success of the program.  

Leadership teams of this nature usually already exist in almost all organizations and as such, can double as the Steering Committee by simply adding RCA program status review to regularly scheduled routine meetings as an agenda item. This avoids the creation of more bureaucracy and duplicate meetings.   Steering Committee responsibilities and functions are as follows.

Strategic Responsibilities:

  • Define the scope and breadth of the RCA effort
  • Assign RCA roles and responsibilities
  • Review and approve RCA resource requirements for annual budgeting purposes
  • Set and adjust program KPI’s (at least annually) to reflect improvements in the organization’s performance
  • Set and review threshold criteria (at least annually) to ensure proper balance between trained RCA facilitators and formal RCA demand
  • Sponsor a human change management plan where needed to ensure support from affected positions and departments.

 Tactical Responsibilities:

  •  Approve (or not) recommended RCA solutions for implementation including prioritization and resource allocation
  • Monitor status of open RCAs
  • Monitor and ensure timely implementation of approved RCA solutions
  • Monitor the effectiveness of implemented solutions

The RCA Champion

The Champion serves as a primary sponsor of the RCA effort.  The Champion’s key functions are to promote the RCA effort through sustained advocacy and to make recommendations to the Steering Committee for the resources necessary for the tactical maintenance of the program.  Primary responsibilities include the following.

Advocacy:

  • Monitor RCA solution impact on the program KPIs and regularly communicate these results throughout the organization
  • Promote a spirit of success by recognizing and celebrating specific RCA team’s accomplishments and contributions to the organization
  • Attract individual interest in having a role in the RCA effort by communicating its career enhancement value and benefits to the organization   

Tactical Resource Recommendations:

  • Make recommendations to the Steering Committee for RCA program resource requirements for the budgeting process (man hours, positions, training, etc.) necessary to sustain a successful RCA effort
  • Manage the organization’s overall RCA training schedule
  • Regularly track the status of open RCAs and solution implementation
  • Ensure the Steering Committee has accurate and up-to-date RCA and solution status data to make informed decisions regarding allocations of resources and action item prioritization.

The Super User

Depending on the size and structure of the organization, the role of Super User may be beneficial. The Super User is the level above Facilitator in terms of formal RCA training, experience, and expertise with both the RCA methodology and any supporting software. They will also have advanced group facilitation skills and should also be the most experienced facilitator on site.  It is not uncommon to combine the roles of Super User and RCA Champion. Super User responsibilities include the following.

  • Facilitate, or assisting in facilitating, the more significant events and complicated analyses for the organization
  • Performing critical quality assurance reviews of other facilitators’ analysis
  • Act as a mentor to new facilitators
  • Ensure that all facilitators use the proper RCA methodology
  • Deciding, in conjunction with the Champion, when to recommend bringing in facilitation assistance from impartial third-party experts.

The RCA Facilitator

The RCA Facilitators, or methodology practitioners, are fundamental to leading the RCA team in discovering the causes of the incident under review and associated preventative measures or solutions. The Facilitator needs to be neutral in the process. Too often facilitation duties are assigned to positions or individuals because of their technical skills, which can be a mistake. Facilitation skills and technical expertise are two distinctly different talents. Quality RCA facilitators have a naturally engaging personality, logical thought processes, superior group management techniques, and mastery of the RCA methodology. They must create effective RCA team dynamics by ensuring that all team participants are heard, keeping dominate personalities in check, and avoiding group think. Technical responsibilities include ensuring the RCA methodology is accurately followed which includes:

  • Creating a clear and precise problem definition
  • Ensuring that all incident causes are identified and documented in the proper causal relationships
  • Encouraging “out of the box” thinking of the team members during the solution identification process
  • Summarize the results of the RCA with recommended solutions for submittal to appropriate personnel

The RCA Participant

The Participants’ primary role is to be an RCA team member when called upon to do so. They can be anyone from hourly employees, to upper level managers and every position in between. Participants need to receive a level of training on the RCA methodology such that they understand the terminology and the steps involved. Although the level of training is significantly less than that of the Facilitators, Participants often comprise the bulk of the trainees because of the diversity of the personnel requirements for the various RCA incidents. Responsibilities often include the following:

  • Maintain a fundamental understanding of the RCA methodology employed
  • Participate as an RCA team member when called upon
  • Apply their own specific knowledge, skills, and expertise in identifying incident causes
  • Assist in identifying and gathering incident evidence as directed
  • Participate in the solution identification process

The First Responders

The role of a First Responder is to gather as much information and preserve as much evidence as reasonably possible when a trigger incident occurs.  This role is especially important for 24/7 manufacturing operations. Since response time is often critical to preserving evidence, it is important that First Responders be readily available to serve in this role.  For such operations, typical First Responders are shift supervisors, lead hands, shift maintenance personal, etc. Activities of the First Responders primarily include:

  • Notifying appropriate personnel that a triggered RCA event has occurred
  • Securing incident information and evidence for the RCA team which may include:
    • Taking photographs if applicable
    • Identifying eye witnesses for debriefing by the RCA team
    • Securing electronic data related to the incident in question
    • Preserving any physical evidence relative to the incident

By understanding the responsibilities of each of these roles, you can ensure that the appropriate personnel are assigned to the proper roles, while at the same time, balancing existing position duties with any added RCA responsibilities. 

So far, this blog series has covered:

The Key Steps of Designing Your Program

Defining Goals and Current Status

Setting KPIs and Establishing Trigger Thresholds

RCA and Solution Tracking and Roles and Responsibilities

Recommended RCA Team Structure

And, descriptions of each of the six roles within an RCA program.

Next up – Training Strategy and RCA Effort Oversight and Management. Stay tuned for more.