4 Steps to Manufacturing Maintenance Excellence

Maintenance as a percentage of production costs remains a major expense for manufacturing and production facilities. The expense percentage will vary depending upon the type of industry, age of equipment, the sophistication of maintenance programs as well as general management skills. The commonality is that every organization has an opportunity to improve their processes and the lifecycle of assets. Some people focus on management, others on maintenance and a few believe that technology holds all the answers, however, Maintenance Connection Africa believes in a combination of all of these.

The Critical Elements

If we look at 4 Steps to Manufacturing Maintenance Excellence. The critical elements for developing a plan for maintenance improvement in the order of importance are:

1. Management comprehension

Management and maintenance management buy-in is absolutely crucial in order to execute change. Prehistoric mindsets, for example, this is how we have always done things or we tried that once before and it didn’t work plus an aversion to technology must all be challenged. Maintenance Connection Africa’s CMMS is rarely a simple process and requires planning, knowledge, and a willingness to work together for the benefit of a company. Change is a team effort. Lots of consultants will tell you that you need a formal planning group, assignment of accountability, benchmarks, etc. and this is all true. However, the bottom line is an organization cannot be afraid to take a financial step backward (invest in new methodologies or tools) in order to remain competitive in a global economy. Buy-in starts at the top and does not stop until the workers go along with the change. To accomplish this task, management needs a complete understanding of the manufacturing workflow before they think through the changes. With these 4 Steps to Manufacturing Maintenance Excellence, Thinking through the changes means understanding the who, what, why, where, and how the organization currently operates as well the details of how goals will be achieved. This information is knowledge-based and the best of the class of manufacturers are sure to engage multiple departments, line managers, and employees for feedback in order to ascertain enough information to progress forward.

2. Knowing Your Assets

Historically, the Mean-Time-to-Failure (MTTF) curve has indicated that during the lifecycle of an asset or equipment is most likely to need repair in the first few weeks after installation and again toward the end of its lifecycle. Although very important, the age of your assets is only one component of asset detail that needs to be collected. Other significant data collection includes

3. Technology and Existing Knowledge

With the information and support collected in the prior steps, it is time to take a look around and see what technology is available to ease your pain. Technology comes in various forms which includes everything from software to mobile handheld devices to cutting-edge diagnostic tools. Because technology is often industry-specific it is not possible to provide an in-depth discussion for all manufacturing in this article. Some technology keys to consider are

There are many tools and methodologies that may be applied to manufacturing. These include but are not limited to Six Sigma, Kaizen, etc. If using these be sure to incorporate them into new EAM/CMMS tools.
• Identify technology (and vendors) that can grow with you, that are looking for long term partnerships to become industry standards but most importantly can create a vision of an efficient and productive maintenance management team as well as minimize downtime and extend the useful lifecycle of assets.

4. Evaluation

The final step is the analysis of all the information. You now know how your operations. Their flow, the biggest issues, and the technology available that can help you find a solution. Engage in discussions with vendors to identify the optimal maintenance connecting CMMS that best suits your needs. Assign project management/resources to develop an implementation schedule. Involve everyone and create the visibility necessary for senior management, shareholders, and staff to throw in their support. Never lose sight of the original goal. Make a decision based upon which tool will help you make your maintenance operations more efficient, extend the lifecycle of your assets, and optimize your uptime.

By Stuart Smith