MRO Magazine

Setting goals for maintenance

By By Peter Phillips   

Facilities Maintenance Machinery and Equipment Maintenance

This month, we’re taking a break from reporting on the maintenance assessment we are conducting at an Ontario food plant. The plant is still working on the changes we recommended during our previous visit in November. Our next on-site...

This month, we’re taking a break from reporting on the maintenance assessment we are conducting at an Ontario food plant. The plant is still working on the changes we recommended during our previous visit in November. Our next on-site visit was scheduled for late January, so we will pick up on that story in our next column.

Since it is still the early part of 2014, we want to look forward to the coming year and help you set some maintenance goals. We have chosen three categories to focus on and have added some achievable goals for you to work toward.

The first category is equipment reliability. Before you start making changes in the way you do things, you need to benchmark where you are right now so you can measure the improvements later.

When looking at equipment reliability, some key values you need to record are:


• TBF (meantime between failures), sorted by equipment

• the number of repetitive failures

• the number of hours for repair and breakdown work orders

• the work order completion rates, sorted by work order type.

Not only does this benchmark exercise provide values to compare after your improvements, it will identify where you need to focus your attention. 

To improve the number of breakdowns and MTBF, you need to review your preventive maintenance routines to ensure that they are addressing the failures you have discovered.

Most PM instructions are very general in nature, however, they need to be specific and explain exactly what you want the craftsperson to check and inspect. Maintenance personnel need to know how to perform the inspection and how to take critical measurements. Manufacturer’s recommendations and failure analysis findings also need to be incorporated into the PM.

A complete review of the PM will reveal which components need more inspections and which ones can have a longer duration between checks.

Repetitive failures offer many opportunities. The majority of craftspeople, when given the time, will jump at the opportunity to investigate repetitive failures. Finding the root cause of repetitive failures not only improves reliability, it frees up time for maintenance people to work on other maintenance activities. It also helps to improve relations with the production departments, because they most likely have been asking to have these repetitive issues addressed for some time.

Our second category is craft utilization. The goal here is to increase the tool time of the craftspeople.

In order to establish a benchmark, you will need to review work orders and:

• alculate the number of hours each maintenance employee records on their work orders per day

• dentify the type of work they are doing (breakdowns, repairs, PMs and projects).

Many of us have been in the maintenance game for many years and we know that some maintenance employees are more productive than others. This is the opportunity to ensure that every person is working to their potential. 

You can use your maintenance program to record the hours worked and create work time reports for each person. This report is generally easy to create in a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) and has the benefit that employees are able to see their own work hours. This, in turn, increases productivity, because they know supervisors and managers also can view the report. The goal here is to improve tool time and to create ownership of each person’s time.

You should set a target of 80% of daily employee hours being used on work orders.

Take time in your maintenance meetings to review work order completion, breakdown percentages and overall maintenance performance.

Our last category is cost reduction. Maintenance budgets across every industry are tight, and any glitch in maintenance expenses, like a major breakdown, can throw a big wrench into the maintenance budget.

The largest expenditure for most maintenance departments is the cost of parts. Buying parts for repairs and to replenish stock levels drills a significant hole in the monthly maintenance budget. Stock outages and wait times (looking for parts) add hours to repair times and increase production losses.

Some benchmarks for cost reduction would be:

• the time for maintenance to find parts in the stockroom. Anything over five minutes is unacceptable (typically it ranges from 15 to 30 minutes)

• the number of stock outages (how many times that you had zero stock)

• the overall value of parts kept on-site.

We have talked before about stockroom organization and the sheer magnitude of a stockroom project. However, the cost payback for an organized stockroom is relatively short, usually six to 12 months.

Organizing a storeroom is an eye-opener most people never forget. You’ll likely find parts that are no longer used because the equipment is long gone, plus mountains of used parts that don’t work. 

Recently, while working on a stockroom project, we found 30 special bearings worth $1,000 each and there were 10 more on order, because the staff could not locate the bearings in their own stockroom. That’s $30,000 of lost stock.

Every part needs a home and every part location needs to be recorded in your maintenance program. If you have satellite storerooms throughout the plant, make sure they get organized as well. 

If these extra storage areas are not necessary, move the stock into the main storeroom. Many duplicate parts may be found in these remote stock areas and they add significant cost to parts ownership.

These three categories are tightly intertwined and one directly affects the other. Making a plan this year with these three goals will set you up for success, not only so you can reap new benefits in 2014, but for every year thereafter. 

Peter Phillips of Trailwalk Holdings, a CMMS consulting and training company, can be reached at 902-798-3601 or by e-mail at


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