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

Author: Stefan Sadnicki

Modern urban wastewater treatment plant. Close-up view

Anglian Water is an innovative company whose mission is “to put water at the heart of a whole new way of living” and raise awareness about how essential water is to life, to the environment, and to a vibrant and growing economy. The company is the largest water and water recycling company in England and Wales—and Copperleaf’s first client in this sector!

We recently completed the implementation of Copperleaf C55 and it was one of the most challenging, yet rewarding projects any of us have ever worked on. I sat down to catch up with Chris Royce, our primary stakeholder and project champion, to get his thoughts on how everything went. As Head of Strategic Investment Management for Anglian Water, Chris was involved with the project from before it was a project! As the implementation draws to a close, I’d like to share some of the highlights:

What was the most challenging part of the project?

For Copperleaf, this was a new country (UK) and a new sector (water). We could see the potential of the C55 system and the benefits it would provide, and in reality many utility assets are very similar and the principles of risk-based decision making are similar. Ultimately, we now have a fantastic solution that combines the power and capability of the core C55 solution with the maturity of the UK water sector. It’s really exciting to see. This continuous planning and management capability really puts us in a new space.

What was the most rewarding part?

For the procurement process, we put together our set of requirements, including many ambitious areas of functionality that we were going to need to meet future challenges. We were unsure if any suppliers could achieve them all, but we knew what best practice could look like—and the Copperleaf team committed to deliver them all. It’s been hugely rewarding to see the vision become reality throughout the project.

Is there anything unique that AW is doing with C55 – something that hasn’t been done before?

There are lots of things. In particular, we started capturing cost data in 2005 and have been carrying out cost estimation-linked investment planning since 2007, using over 1,800 cost models built up from that data. As such, it was very important for our new solution to be able to build on that library of knowledge. Working closely with our Cost Estimating Team, Copperleaf built out a new Cost Estimation module, integrated with the rest of C55, to execute our cost models within the planning process.

Have there been any other added benefits?

At the start of the process, we undertook a comprehensive process mapping of ‘as is’ and ‘to be’. This highlighted a number of pinch points in our process, which Copperleaf was able to ‘systemise’ as part of the implementation.

How has the C55 solution been received in the wider business?

We’ve had a great response from end users. As one user put it during a training session: “I’ve only been using C55 10 minutes and it’s already a significant improvement over our previous system.”

Any anecdotes from the project?

During evaluation, we held a number of reference calls and I joked that Copperleaf must have some magic stardust they put on their users’ keyboards, because I had never heard such positive references about an IT provider. I have to say they were honest! I believe it’s Copperleaf’s focus on the customer experience that made the difference.

What made the project a success?

It may be a cliché, but the joint Anglian Water and Copperleaf delivery team deserves a large amount of credit. We started from a strong position; we had a clear idea of what we wanted to achieve due to our maturity, and the right product to deliver it. But ultimately, the drive and dedication of the team is what has carried us to a successful go-live. Anglian Water is very strong in alliancing and is recognised as an industry leader in this regard, so I wanted to carry this through into this project. And on the Copperleaf side, just the simple thing of having one dedicated project manager for the duration of the project made all the difference in having a collaborative and innovative delivery approach.

To learn more about Copperleaf’s work with Anglian Water, click here.

About Stefan Sadnicki

Stefan is Managing Director for Copperleaf in Europe. He works both with Copperleaf partners and directly with asset-intensive organisations to solve their asset investment planning challenges. His background is in business analytics and consulting and he is an active member of The Institute of Asset Management (IAM). Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Every year, millions of dollars needlessly go down the drain in large organisations. It’s money that can easily be saved, if you know why it’s disappearing and how to save it.

To illustrate, let’s look at a real-life example. Links

We are regularly asked to lead projects to review maintenance strategies sites and assets that are not meeting their availability targets, are suffering frequent unplanned failures, or high costs.

We typically set to work collecting the asset hierarchy, work order history and current maintenance plans. Using all this data, we apply sophisticated methodologies to build an optimised maintenance strategy. In a particular project the resulting revised strategies were forecast to reduce maintenance costs by -18% per annum, and improve availability by +3%.

It was a great outcome. But – and herein lies the problem – the site failed to effectively implement and execute the strategy, and so continued to suffer from unplanned failures and poor availability. There’s the money down the drain.

To truly realise the value good strategy needs to be implemented and then updated over time. In essence the strategy needs to be managed. This includes workflows, review and approval by appropriate subject matter experts, use of generic content wherever possible and data driven decision making.

Learning from past failures

Ten years ago, when Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM) was really hitting its strides, more and more organisations started investing in the task of developing maintenance strategies. But according to research a massive 60 per cent of these strategies were never implemented. Think of the money wasted.

Or, if a strategy was implemented, it is likely that it may get changed over time with little or no oversight, typically the good strategy work is undone for it only to be put back to how it was.

Realistically any change to a strategy such as the interval, durations, specific tasks, and instruction content should be managed with a dedicated workflow which would include justification and the opportunity to utilise any great improvements across your entire asset base.

The power of combining Work Management with Strategy Management

To fix these endemic problems, the focus of an organisation needs to evolve to strategy management as well as work management.

 Think about it. Work management is all about executing tasks. Strategy management is all about deciding what tasks should be executed. You can have the best work execution process, but if you’re not working on the right strategies then it won’t deliver results. Asset Managers need to make sure that teams are effectively executing the right strategy.

ASM Graphic

Furthermore, reliability and maintenance teams need the agility to adapt if a positive change is made to a strategy at one site in a multi-site organisation, or a common asset used multiple times on a single site. How do you quickly deploy this cost-saving change across other sites in the organisation?

For example, think of a water utility that operates 400 pump stations across the country, with each one operating the same equipment. Say there’s a pump failure at one site, and a technician does some good root cause analysis work which leads to a recommended strategy around a task that needs to be done. If their decision could come back to a central area for review and approval, and then get deployed efficiently and electronically to all the other pump stations, the utility could potentially save thousands on future fixes, reduce risk and improve performance.

Wherever you find pockets of excellence you need to deploy them everywhere, effectively.

Adopt a best practice approach and create a culture of excellence

 The secret of successful strategy management lies in looking beyond the SAPs and Maximos of the world. You can try to standardise these systems for a “generate once, use many times” approach, but it won’t work. A CMMS is designed to manage work tasks, not manage strategy.

Instead, you need a separate approach and solution for strategy management, which directly integrates with your work management system. This way, if your reliability team and subject matter experts devise a new asset strategy that is going to save your organisation millions of dollars, then you can be assured that it will successfully be applied to all the relevant assets across all sites. Likewise, you will gain visibility into single site strategy excellence and be able to quickly and easily deploy it enterprise wide. With an Asset Strategy Management program, your asset strategies will be dynamic, constantly evolving and will instill a culture towards achieving excellence in reliability.

This makes reliability a reality.

Find out how you can adopt a best practice approach to Asset Strategy Management  and unlock unrealised value, enterprise wide.

A true Asset Strategy Management program delivers predictable outcomes and avoids unexpected failures, outages, safety exposures and costs. ???????????????????????????????????????????????????

Poor reliability of equipment and processes can have sudden and disastrous effects on the ability of an organisation to deliver operational or project objectives. Reliability problems can lead to unexpected downtime, poor quality product or service, missed operational targets, significant remedial costs, poor safety and a rise in incidents.

Managing reliability well seems elusive to most organisations who find it difficult to connect reliability strategy to maintenance execution. In many organisations, the tendency is to focus on maintenance execution alone, in the belief that plant reliability will improve. In order to improve execution, focus is placed on the work management process, work management KPIs, and Master Data. The reality is that even world class execution of a poor strategy won’t deliver on operational objectives in a predictable consistent way. Many organisations are executing inconsistent or sub optimal strategies, leading to variable results, continued under-performance, and significant failures and outages.

Institutionalising Asset Strategy Management (ASM) into the operation reduces failures, downtime and risk, and as a consequence, total cost of operations are lower. Deploying the optimal strategy across all assets and monitoring performance provides the means to improve reliability across all assets, and to sustain the improved performance over time, and throughout periods of change.

ASM removes the inconsistent outcomes from asset strategies, allows for any pockets of excellence to be deployed to all relevant assets, and drives continuous reliability improvement.

What’s the roadblock?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are designed to execute strategy, they are not designed to develop, maintain and manage good strategy.  Many organisations have not yet realised that strategy is separate to execution. ERP systems are designed to support efficient execution, and in order to be effective, have to be continually populated with appropriate Master Data and optimal strategies.

What’s the Solution?

An ASM solution acts as the thread across all systems. It allows organisations to capture and review data from all sources and leverage learnings to enhance reliability strategies by identifying the pockets of strategy excellence and deploying those strategies across the organisation wherever they are relevant.

Standardising and leveraging good strategy

At the core of an ASM solution sits an asset strategy library which houses reliability-based tactics. These asset strategies can be deployed rapidly and support regional or local variations to cater for different operational or environmental conditions. Strategy variation is visible organisation-wide via a reporting functionality, where all learnings drive continual improvement in the asset strategy library, which can be accessed and redeployed to any asset.

Achieve better benchmarking

Operation executives are held accountable for performance, but they don’t have access to all of the data and knowledge they need in order to make accurate decisions. In numerous multi-site organisations, reliability strategies are not standardised across all sites, adding to the confusion between data, strategies, and outcomes. These factors make it difficult to benchmark and thus compare costs and performance of like equipment across the organisation. An ASM solution captures data from many sources and presents it in one place. It allows managers to set up benchmarks, develop and deploy the best strategies consistently, monitor KPIs and align strategies across their whole operation.

Gain control over execution

Asset Managers often have no control over the deployment and execution of the strategies they develop. An ASM solution gives managers the ability to ensure that standardised procedures for strategies are deployed to all assets, at all sites, and to make certain that any modifications to procedures go through an approval process first. In addition, managers gain the ability to monitor the effectiveness of all strategies and to identify system wide and specific enhancements that should be made.

Future-proofing

When changeover takes place among maintenance, reliability and project engineering personnel, quality and consistency issues can arise. It’s critical that standardisation is maintained over the longer term regardless of personnel changes, such that baseline strategies are deployed and monitored according to standards and quality assurance rules. To ensure strategies remain optimum over the asset life, the rationale for each strategy decision is maintained and can be revised, improved or changed as business needs change.

Rapid integration

Time is money. The sooner a reliability strategy can be developed and deployed, the better. An ASM system integrates with an organisation’s existing ERP system for easy, efficient and rapid deployment.

Case in Point

Major LNG operator develops & deploys strategies in only 44 days

The Goal

  • To develop maintenance strategies for a major LNG brownfield operation.

The Situation

  • Had no clear method to develop and standardise maintenance strategies in a rapid and efficient manner for all brownfield assets.
  • Many existing PMs were outdated.
  • Many assets did not have strategies.

How an ASM solution was leveraged

  • Generic maintenance strategies were developed for 122 unique equipment types.
  • Variations were made on generic strategies where applicable to meet asset operating context.
  • Strategies were then uploaded to SAP and deployed to 3,631 assets.

Outcomes

  • Client now has a single, standardised database in which strategies can be quickly updated and uploaded to SAP.
  • Entire process was completed in 44 days vs. 90+ days if a traditional method had been used.
  • Client is going to leverage the strategies and learning from this project to assist with the rollout of an upcoming Greenfield initiative.

Would you like to know how you can leverage your organisation’s pockets of excellence and build a best in class asset strategy management program? OnePM® is an innovative reliability strategy management solution, created by ARMS Reliability. LEARN MORE

OnePM® is a trade mark of ARMS Reliability and registered in Australia.

Author: Jason Ballentine

Developing a maintenance strategy requires careful consideration and due process. Yet from what I’ve seen, many organizations are making obvious errors right from the start — missteps that can torpedo the success of the strategies they’re trying so hard to put in place.??????????????????????????????????????????

Without further ado, here are five common maintenance strategy mistakes:

  1. Relying solely on original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or vendor recommendations.

It seems like a good idea — you’d think the people who made or sold the equipment would know best. It’s what they don’t know that can hurt you.

Outside parties don’t know how a piece of equipment functions at your facility. They don’t understand how much this equipment is needed, the cost of failure, whether there’s any redundancy within the system… OEM and vendor maintenance guidelines are geared to maximize the availability and reliability of the machine, but their strategies might not be appropriate for your unique circumstances or needs. As a result, your team could end up over-maintaining the equipment, which can actually create more problems than it solves. The more you mess with a piece of equipment, the more you introduce the possibility of error or failure. Some things, in some situations, are better left alone.

What’s more, OEMs and vendors have a vested interest in selling more spare parts (so they can make more money). That means that their replacement windows might not be accurate or appropriate to your business needs. Rather than relying on calendar-driven replacement, your maintenance strategy might focus more on inspecting the equipment to proactively identify any issues or deterioration, then repairing or replacing only as needed.

It’s fine to use OEM/vendor maintenance guidelines as a starting point. Just make sure you thoroughly review their recommendations to see if they align with your unique needs for the given piece of equipment. Don’t just blindly accept them — make sure they fit first.

  1. Relying heavily on generic task libraries for your maintenance strategy.

This is surprisingly common. Some organizations purchase a very generic set of activities for a piece of equipment or equipment category, and attempt to use them to drive maintenance strategy. But generic libraries are even worse than OEM/vendor recommendations because they are just that — generic. They aren’t written for the specific equipment make and model you have. They might even include tasks that simply don’t apply, such as “inspect the belt” on a pump that uses an entirely different drive mechanism. Once a mechanic attempts to perform one of these generic, ill-suited tasks, he or she stops trusting your overall maintenance strategy. Without credibility and compliance, you might as well not have a strategy at all.

Like OEM and vendor recommendations, generic task libraries can help you get started on a robust maintenance strategy, if (and only if) you carefully examine them first and only use the tasks that make sense for your particular equipment and operational needs.

  1. Failing to include a criticality assessment in your strategy decisions.

If you choose and define tasks without factoring in criticality, you run the risk of wasted effort and faulty maintenance. Think about it: If a piece of equipment is low on the criticality scale, you might be okay to accept a generic strategy and be done with it. But for equipment that’s highly critical to the success of your operations, you need to capture as much detail as possible when selecting and defining tasks. How can you know which is which without fully assessing the relative importance of each piece of equipment (or group of equipment) to the overall performance of your site?

  1. Developing maintenance strategies in a vacuum.

Sometimes, organizations will hire an outside consultant to develop maintenance strategies and send them off to do it, with no input from or connection with the maintenance team (or the broader parts of the organization). Perhaps they figure, “you’re the expert, you figure it out.” Here’s the problem: For a maintenance strategy to be successful, it must be developed within the big picture. You’ve got to talk to the mechanic who’ll be doing the work, the planner for that work, and the reliability engineer who’ll be responsible for the performance of that equipment, production, or operation. Their input is extremely valuable, and their buy-in is absolutely critical. Without it, even the best maintenance strategy can be met with resistance and non-compliance.

  1. Thinking of maintenance strategy development as a “one-and-done” effort.

For some organizations, the process of developing a maintenance strategy from the ground up seems like something you do once and just move on. But things change — your business needs change, the equipment you have on site changes, personnel changes, and much more. That’s why it’s vitally important to keep your maintenance strategies aligned with the current state of your operations.

In fact, a good maintenance strategy is built with the idea of future revisions in mind. That means the strategy includes clear-cut plans for revisiting and optimizing the strategy periodically. A good strategy is also designed to make those revisions as easy as possible by capturing all of the knowledge that went into your strategy decisions. Don’t just use Microsoft Word or put tasks directly into the system without documenting the basis for the decisions you made. What were your considerations? How did you evaluate them? What ultimately swayed your decision? In the future, if the key factors or circumstances change, you’ll be able to evaluate those decisions more clearly, without having to guess or rely on shaky recall.

If you’ve found yourself making any of these mistakes, don’t despair. Most errors and missteps can be addressed with an optimization project. In fact, ARMS Reliability specializes in helping organizations make the most of their maintenance strategies. Contact us to learn more.

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Author: Jason Ballentine

Many organizations believe that making sound maintenance decisions requires a whole lot of data. It’s a logical assumption — you do need to know things like the number of times an event has occurred, its duration, the number of spare parts needed, and the number of people engaged in addressing the event; plus the impact on the business and the reason why it happened. ????????????????????????????????????????

A lot of this information is captured in your Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS). The more detail you have, the more accurate results you can get from maintenance scenario simulation tools like Isograph’s Availability Workbench™. Unfortunately, your CMMS data may be lacking enough detail to yield optimal results.

It’s enough to make anybody want to throw his or her hands up and put off the decision indefinitely. If you do, you could be making a big mistake.

No matter what, you’re still going to have to make a decision. You have to.

The truth is, you can still do a lot with limited or poor quality data, supported by additional sources of knowledge. Extract any and all information you have available, not just what is in the CMMS. Document what you’ve got, then use it to make a timely decision that’s as informed as possible.

Don’t get caught up in the fact that it’s not perfect data — circumstances in the real world are hardly ever ideal. In fact, as reliability engineers, most of the data we get is related to failure, which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid. Actually, if we are tracking failures, having less data means we are likely doing our jobs well because that means we are experiencing a low number of failures.

The bottom line is: we can’t afford to sit and wait for more data to make decisions, and neither can you.

Gather as much information as you can from all available sources:

CMMS

In an ideal world, this is the master data record of all activities performed.  As discussed previously, that is almost never the case; however, this is an important starting point to reveal where data gaps exist.

Personal experience and expertise

There’s a wealth of information stored within the experience of people who are familiar with any given piece of equipment. Consider holding a facilitated workshop to gather insight on the equipment’s likely performance. Even a series of informal conversations can yield useful opinions and real-world experiences.

The Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

Most OEMs will have documentation you can access, possibly also a user forum you can mine for additional information.

Industry databasese.g., the Offshore and Onshore Reliability Data Handbook (OREDA) and Process Equipment Reliability Database (PERD) by Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS)

Some information is available in these databases, but it’s generic — not specific to your unique site or operating context. For example, you can find out how often a certain type of pump fails, but you can’t discover whether that pump is being used on an oil platform, refinery, power station or mine site. Industry data does, however, provide useful estimates on which you can base your calculations and test your assumptions.

Capture all these insights in an easily accessible way, then use what you’ve learned to make the best decision currently possible. And be sure to record the basis for your decision for future reference. If you get better data down the road, you can always go back and revise your decisions — after all, most maintenance strategies should remain dynamic by design.

Don’t let a lack of data paralyze you into inaction. Gather what you can, make a decision, see how it works, and repeat. It’s a process of continuous improvement, which given the right framework is simple and efficient.

Availability Workbench™, Reliability Workbench™, FaultTree+™, and Hazop+™ are trademarks of Isograph Limited the author and owner of products bearing these marks. ARMS Reliability is an authorized distributor of those products, and a trainer in respect of their use.

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Author: Jason Ballentine

As with any budget, you’ve only got a certain amount of money to spend on maintenance in the coming year. How do you make better decisions so you can spend that budget wisely and get maximum performance out of your facility? ??????????????????????????????????????????????

It is possible to be strategic about allocating funds if you understand the relative risk and value of different approaches. As a result, you can get more bang for the same bucks.

How can you make better budget decisions?

It can be tempting to just “go with your gut” on these things. However, by taking a systematic approach to budget allocation, you’ll make smarter decisions — and more importantly you’ll have concrete rationales for why you made those decisions —  which can be improved over time. Work to identify the specific pieces of equipment (or types of equipment) that are most critical to your business, then compare the costs and risks of letting that equipment run to failure against the costs and risks of performing proactive maintenance on that equipment. Let’s take a closer look at how you can do that.

4 steps to maximize your maintenance budget

1.  Assign a criticality level for each piece of equipment. Generally, this is going to result in a list of equipment that would cause the most pain — be it financial, production loss, safety, or environmental pain — in the event of failure. Perform a Pareto analysis for maximum detail. 

2.  For your most critical equipment, calculate the ramifications of a reactive/run-to-failure approach.

  • Quantify the relative risk of failure. (You can use the RCMCost™ module of Isograph’s Availability Workbench™ to better understand the risk of different failure modes.)
  • Quantify the costs of failure. Keep in mind that equipment failures can affect multiple aspects of your business in different ways — not just direct hard costs. In every case, consider all possible negative effects, including potential risks.
    • Maintenance: Staff utilization, spare parts logistics, equipment damage, etc.
    • Production Impact: Downtime, shipment delays, stock depletion or out-of-stock, rejected/reworked product, etc.
    • Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Impact: Injuries, actual/potential releases to the environment, EPA visits/fines, etc.
    • Business Impact: Lost revenue, brand damage, regulatory issues, etc.

For a more detailed explanation of the various potential costs of failure, consult our eBook, Building a Business Case for Maintenance Strategy Optimization.

3.  Next, calculate the impact of a proactive maintenance approach for this equipment

  • Outline the tasks that would best mitigate existing and potential failure modes
  • Evaluate the cost of performing those tasks, based on the staff time and resources required to complete them.
  • Specify any risks associated with the proactive maintenance tasks. These risks could include the possibility of equipment damage during the maintenance task, induced failures, and/or infant mortality for newly replaced or reinstalled parts.

4. Compare the relative risk costs between these approaches for each maintenance activity. This will show you where to focus your maintenance budget for maximum return.

When is proactive maintenance not the best plan?

For the most part, you’ll want to allocate more of your budget towards proactive maintenance for equipment that has the highest risk and the greatest potential negative impact in the event of failure. Proactive work is more efficient so your team can get more done for the same dollar value. Letting an item run to failure can create an “all hands on deck” scenario under which nothing else gets done, whereas many proactive tasks can be performed quickly and possibly even concurrently.

That said, it’s absolutely true that sometimes run-to-failure is the most appropriate approach for even a critical piece of equipment. For example, a maintenance team might have a scheduled task to replace a component after five years, but the problem is that component doesn’t really age -— the only known failure mode is getting struck by lightning. No matter how old that component is, the risk is the same. Performing replacement maintenance on this type of component might actually cost more than simply letting it run until it fails. (In these cases, a proactive strategy would focus on minimizing the impact of a failure event by adding redundancy or stocking spares.) But you can’t know that without quantifying the probability and cost of failure.

Side note: Performing this analysis can help you see where your maintenance budget could be reduced without a dramatic negative effect on performance or availability. Alternatively, this analysis can help you demonstrate the likely impact of a forced budget reduction. This can be very helpful in the event of budget pressure coming down from above.   

At ARMS Reliability, we help organizations understand how to forecast, justify and prioritize their maintenance budgets for the best possible chances of success. Contact us to learn more.

Availability Workbench™, Reliability Workbench™, FaultTree+™, and Hazop+™ are trademarks of Isograph Limited the author and owner of products bearing these marks. ARMS Reliability is an authorised distributor of those products, and a trainer in respect of their use.

Author: Scott Gloyna

For any given asset there are typically dozens of different predictive or preventive maintenance tasks that could be performed, however selecting the right maintenance tasks that contribute effectively to your overall strategy can be tricky, The benefit is the difference between meeting production targets and the alternative of lost revenue, late night callouts, and added stress from unplanned downtime events. Construction Worker Pointing With Finger. Ready For Sample Text

Step 1: Build out your FMEA (Failure Mode Effects Analysis) for the asset under consideration. 

Make sure you get down to appropriate failure modes in enough detail so that the causes are understood and you can identify the proper maintenance to address each specific failure mode.

Once you’ve made a list of failure modes, then it’s detailed analysis time. If you want to be truly rigorous, perform the following analysis for every potential failure mode. Depending on the criticality of the asset you can simplify by paring down your list to include only the failure modes that are most frequent or result in significant downtime.

Step 2: Identify the consequences of each failure mode on your list.

Failure modes can result in multiple types of negative impact. Typically, these failure effects include production costs, safety risks, and environmental impacts. It is your job to identify the effects of each failure mode and quantify them in a manner that allows them to be reviewed against your business’s goals. Often when I am facilitating a maintenance optimization study people will say things like “There is no effect when that piece of equipment fails.” If that’s the case, why is that equipment there? All failures have effects, they may just be small or hard to quantify, perhaps because of available workarounds or maybe there is a certain amount of time after the failure before an effect is realized.

Step 3: Understand the failure rate for each particular mode.

Gather information on the failure rates from any available industry data and personnel with experience on the asset or a similar asset and installation, as well as any records of past failure events at your facility. This data can be used to evaluate the frequency of failure through a variety of methods — ranging from a simple Mean Time To Failure (MTTF) to a more in-depth review utilizing Weibull distributions.

(Note: The Weibull module of Isograph’s Availability Workbench™ can help you to quickly and easily understand the likelihood of different failure modes occurring.)

Step 4: Make a list of possible reactive, planned or inspection tasks to address each failure mode.

Usually, you start by listing the actions you take when that failure mode occurs (reactive maintenance). Then broaden your list to any potential preventive maintenance and/or inspection tasks that could help prevent the failure mode from happening, or reduce the frequency at which it occurs.

  • Reactive tasks
    • Replacement
    • Repair
  • Preventive tasks
    • Daily routines (clean, adjust, lubricate)
    • Periodic overhauls, refurbishments, etc.
    • Planned replacement
  • Inspection tasks
    • Manual (sight, sound, touch)
    • Condition monitoring (vibration, thermography, ultrasonics, x-ray and gamma ray)

Step 5: Gather details about each potential task.

In order to compare and contrast different tasks, you have to understand the requirements of each:

  • What exactly does the task entail? (basic description)
  • How long would the work take?
  • How long would it take to start the work after shutdown/failure?
  • Who would do the work?
  • What labor costs are involved? (the hourly rates of the employees or outside contractors who would perform the task)
  • Would any spare parts be required? If so, how much would they cost?
  • Would you need to rent any specialized equipment? If so, how much would it cost?
  • Do you have to take the equipment offline? If so, for how long?
  • How often would you need to perform this task (frequency)?

A key consideration for inspection tasks only: What is the P-F interval for this failure mode? This is the window between the time you can detect a potential failure (P) and when it actually fails (F) — similar to calculating how long you can drive your car after the fuel light comes on, before you actually run out of fuel Understanding the P-F interval is key in determining the interval for each inspection task.

The P-F interval can vary from hours to years and is specific to the type of inspection, the specific failure mode and even the operating context of the machinery.

It can be hard to determine the P-F interval precisely but it is very important to ensure that the best approximation is made because of the impact it has on task selection and frequency.

Step 6: Evaluate the lifetime costs of different maintenance approaches.

Once you understand the cost and frequency of different failure modes, as well as the cost and frequency of various maintenance tasks to address them, you can model the overall lifetime costs of various options.

For example, say you have a failure mode with a moderate business impact — enough to affect production, but not nosedive your profits for the quarter. If that failure mode has a mean time between failures (MTBF) of six months, you might take a very aggressive maintenance approach. On the other hand, if that failure mode only happens once every ten years, your approach would be very different. “Run to Failure” is often a completely legitimate choice, but you need to understand and be able to justify that choice.

These calculations can be done manually, in spreadsheets or using specialized modeling software such as the RCMCost™ module of Isographs Availability Workbench™.

Ultimately you try to choose the least expensive maintenance task that provides the best overall business outcome.

 Ready to learn more? Gain the skills needed to develop optimized maintenance strategies through our training course: Introduction to Maintenance Strategy Development

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