Author: Jason Ballentine, VP of Engineering for ARMS Reliability

Starting From Scratch With Spares

Portrait of warehouse worker talking to supervising manager whilAs anyone with a hand in running a household knows, it’s important to keep a stockpile of key items. You certainly don’t want to find out the hard way that you’re on your last square of toilet paper. But in the case of a facility like a power plant, a missing spare part could be more than just a nuisance—it could be downright expensive.

Determining the appropriate spare parts to have on hand in a large facility, however, can be tricky. This is especially true after building a facility from the ground up, when you don’t have a frame of reference for which spare parts you’re most likely to need first.

Most organizations deal with this in one of two ways: 1) they guess or 2) they purchase according to a spares list provided by an equipment vendor.

A Reliability-Focused Purchase List

There are obvious limitations when it comes to guesswork—making the wrong guess can result in huge expenses either in unnecessary spare parts or in costly downtime. A vendor-suggested list is probably somewhat more accurate, but such suggestions are unlikely to take into account the specific needs of your organization. We approach spare part holding recommendations through the lens of reliability as it applies to each specific operation. As factors change, it’s important to re-evaluate, making sure to take into account everything that could influence purchase priorities.

Recently, a utility company approached us to review the list of spare parts their equipment vendor had recommended. According to the vendor, this utility needed to purchase $4.9 million worth of spare parts up front. The utility wanted a second opinion before making such a sizable investment.

Our Approach

We started the spare parts analysis by looking at the list provided by the equipment vendor, but then we dug much deeper. We explored a series of questions, including: How often is this part likely to fail? What is the cost of the downtime if the part is attached to a critical piece of equipment? What is the unit cost of the spare part? What is the lead time to obtain a spare? Is this part likely to fail at any time throughout its lifecycle, or is it only likely to fail at the end of its life? There is no point in purchasing a spare today if you are unlikely to need it for another 20 years.

In all, about 1,500 pieces of equipment were reviewed over 40 days before providing a recommended list of spares. The final list included some of what the vendor had recommended, left off many of the vendor’s recommended parts, and suggested a few additional parts that weren’t in the original list.

The final critical spares list that was recommended included a total of $2.2 million in spare parts—a savings of $2.7 million over what the vendor had originally recommended.

Built to Adapt

Saving money with ARMSOur recommended spares list is intended to be responsive to changing needs and new information. When the utility took a second look at its downtime cost and calculated that it was actually $10/megawatt and not the $23/megawatt they had initially determined, we re-evaluated the spares list, reducing the utility’s recommended purchases by another $200,000.

Conclusion

If your organization is like most, you probably run into trouble when it comes to having the right spares on hand. Either you’re missing the right parts when something breaks down, or you have expensive spares gathering dust and potentially going bad in storage. ARMS Reliability takes the guesswork out of developing a critical spares list, taking into account item costs, the likelihood of failure, lead times, downtime costs, and all other relevant factors.

The investment this utility made to conduct the analysis with our help ultimately reduced their bottom line equipment costs by $2.7 million—which represented a savings of 50 to 1. Beyond the monetary benefit, the utility’s Reliability Engineer felt much more confident in the approach taken. He was also relieved to avoid grossly overspending on spares.

Find out more about ARMS Reliability’s Spare Part Holding Analysis

bigstock-Training-Courses-on-Ring-Binde-121847267_Resized.jpgThe previous article in our blog series on RCA Program Development described the responsibilities of the six roles required for your program to function well. The next step in achieving a successful RCA program is to develop a comprehensive RCA training strategy that will ensure sustainability of the effort to reduce the frequency and severity of undesirable incidents into the future.

A common mistake is to under-train, primarily RCA facilitators, in relation to the trigger diagram which we discussed in an earlier blog post.  You may recall that in developing the trigger diagram, a 3-year baseline of triggering events is reviewed to ensure an adequate balance of events and trained facilitators. Assuming the RCA facilitation responsibilities will be an addition to the existing position responsibilities, one would expect a facilitator would be leading a triggered RCA on average once per month with a series of less important ad hoc RCAs in between to stay current on skills.

There should be at least one Super User at each facility and at the corporate level. Likewise, all personnel that may be either a first responder to a triggered event or expected to participate in the RCA should be trained to an appropriate level as outlined in the table below (click photo to enlarge).

 RCATrainingPaths_ProcessFlowGraphic_Rev1.jpg

A “Refresher” course should also be undertaken as needed. An often overlooked element of a training program is the need to maintain optimum skill levels over time, especially if there are prolonged periods where the skill may not be practiced. This can often be the case with triggered events because of their random nature. This creates a danger that skills and knowledge may not improve at the same rate as other jobs skills. This is especially true for Facilitators, First Responders, and Participants. Records should be maintained that track the number of facilitated RCA, first responses, and RCA participations and reviewed at least annually. If Facilitators have gone six months, or Participants/First Responders one year, without using these skills then consideration should be given to the refresher training.

Training is an essential component for all personnel involved with an organizations’ RCA program. Having the right roles with the right skills and ensuring those skills stay fresh over time is important to the overall success of your RCA effort. ARMS Reliability leads world-class training to assist you in every stage of your RCA journey. Learn more about the required and recommended courses, and contact us for more information.

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

Responsibilities of the Six Roles

And, RCA Program Development Training Strategy.

Stay tuned for our next installment on RCA Effort Oversight and Management. 

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.

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.


Our previous article in this RCA Program Development blog series introduced the six roles required in your root cause analysis team in order cover all of the necessary functions. This installment in the series goes into more depth on the team structure and provides some important considerations for deciding whom should be involved.  

Roles and Responsibilities

The RCA effort in any organization will require a number of participants at various levels of the organization having distinct roles with very specific responsibilities.  Once the workflow processes are established it is time to assign these roles and responsibilities to specific individuals, determine training needs, and decide if a formal human change management plan will be desirable to assist employees in assuming their new assignments.  These responsibilities must be clearly understood to ensure that the appropriate personnel are assigned to the various roles which include the following:

 

RCATeamGraphic_72ppi.png

 

To assist in the above, it is helpful to review the nature and dynamics of a functioning RCA team.

The role of an analysis team is to apply the RCA methodology to a particular incident.  A predetermined set of conditions or triggers is used in determining what incidents qualify for a formal RCA.  The RCA Champion in collaboration with a designated Facilitator then decides through the problem definition process how much effort is to be expended on the analysis i.e. what skills participants will be on the team and how many of each, based upon the severity of the incident.  As a general rule, the cost of the resources expended should be significantly less than the potential benefit of a successful outcome.  In other words, the effort should yield a favorable ROI or greatly reduce the risk of a safety or environmental incident recurrence.  It is often useful to define threshold levels, or break points for minor, significant, or major RCA efforts to provide guidance.

The Facilitator leads the analysis process.  Teams should be cross functional and consist of 6 to 8 members depending upon the nature, complexity, and severity of the incident under investigation. When assembling an RCA team, the Champion or Facilitator has the option of including people directly involved in the incident being analyzed on the team, or involve them as interviewees only.  It is often beneficial to include a team member with no firsthand knowledge of the incident, but having familiarity with the process, equipment, etc. in order to help bring objectivity to the group and avoid “group think”. These members need to be carefully selected to ensure they add value. Having people assigned to the analysis team because they are available will only waste time. The team should also have at its disposal all the facts, evidence, and a timeline surrounding the incident.

Certain points in the analysis may require additional information that is not available within the organization.  For example, it may be necessary to contact suppliers or vendors concerning design issues. The incident owner will need to understand and encourage the follow-up on this type of information gathering.

When the RCA program is launched, it is recommended to focus on the quality of the analysis and not quantity. A few quick-wins are important to building momentum and confidence in the process.

Specific RCA team responsibilities include the following:

  • Review the facts, evidence, and timeline surrounding the incident
  • Interview eye witnesses or others that may have useful knowledge of the incident at hand but are not on the analysis team
  • Interview subject matter experts
  • Provide the technical expertise for problem solving including action and condition recognition and possible solution proposals
  • Perform an RCA analysis. The Apollo Root Cause Analysis methodology includes:
  • Validating the problem definition as previously determined by the Champion and Facilitator
  • Creating the cause and effect diagram using RealityCharting® software
  • Identifying conditions and actions that precipitated the incident under investigation
  • Proposing effective solution to eliminate selected conditions and actions that are realistic and under the control of the facility’s management
  • Summarize the findings in a report to the Champion to be presented to the Steering Committee. Be available to answer any question the Steering Committee may have regarding the report.

Once the roles and responsibilities are assigned, a comprehensive training plan covering the RCA methodology and any identified change management needs must be developed with a targeted timeline.

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

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.