MRO Magazine

Tracking Your KPIs

By Peter Phillips   

Machinery and Equipment Maintenance

The maintenance of equipment drive system components, which include motors and gearboxes, can benefit from the use of a computerized maintenance management system. Breaking down your equipment list in...

The maintenance of equipment drive system components, which include motors and gearboxes, can benefit from the use of a computerized maintenance management system. Breaking down your equipment list into parent and child relationships can help track maintenance on these critical drive components.

Also, proper data entry into the CMMS will allow you to create reports that accurately identify areas performing well and areas needing improvements. A reliability centred maintenance (RCM) program, as discussed in this issue’s pulp and paper industry case study (see page 15) can use this information to plan corrective actions.

In order for your CMMS to return meaningful reports — commonly known as KPIs (key performance indicators) — you need to do several things:

1. Have a comprehensive equipment list


2. Develop detailed PM procedures

3. Maintain a spare parts list

4. Determine your KPIs

5. Create a business process flow for your CMMS to return valid reports.

Let’s examine each of these five items in order.

1. First up is a comprehensive equipment list. We need this list to accurately report on critical equipment components. Breakdown repairs and preventive maintenance (PM) frequencies that are recorded in your CMMS must be specific to the equipment. A poorly constructed equipment list will not give you the maintenance history you need to make educated decisions on component reliability.

When developing your equipment list for your software, first you need to understand what constitutes a piece of equipment and what are its parent and child relationships.

When creating an equipment list, you should break them down into three sections — parent equipment, subassemblies and components. When considering the equipment list, take into account the following criteria:

• Problematic areas will have a more detailed equipment list.

• If equipment components will use Time-Based Maintenance (TBM), they will have an equipment number.

Section 1. Parent equipment: This is defined as a machine with a single discrete function related to a process, for example, a blast furnace, mixer, silo or compressor.

Section 2. Subassemblies: This is a logical grouping of components that carry out a unique function within a piece of equipment, for example, conveyors, pump sets or drive assemblies.

Section 3. Components: A component is a wear item that is defined as a part, and this is at the level where the maintenance strategy considers it for TBR. If it can be replaced, it is a component. Examples include motors, gearboxes and pumps.

We also construct a naming convention to follow our equipment parent and child relationships.

Example 1: DL-E010-S010. Here we have the product line with a silo as the parent equipment and a sifter as the subassembly or child. (DL = Donut Line, E010 = Stone Ground Flour Silo, S010 = Stone Ground Flour Silo Sifter. The equipment description would be ‘Donut Line -Stone Ground Flour Silo Sifter’.)

Example 2: DL-E140-S101-C010. Here we have the same production line. The oven is the parent and the motor is the subassembly. In this case, the brake on the motor is considered for TBM so it has an equipment number. The motor and brake are both children of the oven. (DL = Donut Line, E140 = Acme Bake Oven, S101 = Drive Motor for Oven, C010 = Brake for Oven Drive Motor. The equipment description is ‘Donut Line -Bake Oven Drive Motor Brake’.

As you can see from this list, components such as motors and gearboxes are identified as children of the parent equipment.

The children records in the CMMS will show the detailed specifications for the part, as well as the complete work order history.

Drive systems make up the majority of our children records. A piece of equipment does not do much unless it has a drive unit. Breaking down the equipment list to parent and children allows work orders to be created for the exact equipment the work was performed on, thus creating a detailed maintenance history on motors, gearboxes and other components.

Tracking equipment history helps determine reliability and knowing its specifi cations and the vendor makes it much easier to order a replacement. All this information will be stored in the software.

2. The second area on our report creation list is to develop detailed PM procedures. To keep equipment reliable, there are certain maintenance activities we absolutely must do without fail. These specific tasks have been identifi ed as critical procedures that keep the equipment from failing. Maintaining these components is key for RCM. Many PMs will be predictive. However, in order to predict when a component will fail, we need to build some equipment history.

Many maintenance departments fail to achieve 100% PM compliance. In other words, they don’t get their PMs done on time, or not at all. Identifying in your CMMS that a PM was closed but not completed is an important KPI.

3. The third item on our list is maintaining a spare parts list. It is impossible to keep equipment in service when you don’t have the parts to repair it. Identifying a critical spare parts list is another essential ingredient for RCM. Many spare parts in reliability centred maintenance are simple replacement parts. They can be as common as filters, oil, grease, etc.

Many failures are a direct result of not performing simple tasks. Studies have shown that a lack of lubrication is one of the major causes of equipment breakdown. As a result, maintenance departments are building comprehensive lubrication schedules.

Maintenance departments also are adopting time-based replacement of wear parts. To keep equipment reliable, motors, gearboxes and other components are changed out at regular intervals. For example, your equipment history identifi es that a specific part has failed at approximately every 8,000 hours of operation. A time-based replacement schedule would replace this part every 7,000 hours, therefore avoiding a breakdown condition.

4. The fourth item on our list is determining your KPIs. Key Performance Indicators plot your progress towards your maintenance goals. Some indicators you’ll want to calculate will be such things as MTBF (mean time between failures), PMC (preventive maintenance compliance) and BRKH (breakdown hours).

A CMMS can display the results of your KPIs in different formats. Most programs have comprehensive report and graph functions. More sophisticated software packages have what are called dashboards that display virtual gauges or other symbols that graphically show your maintenance efforts.

5. KPIs are extremely important for RCM. Capturing the data to report KPIs leads me to the fifth item on our list: Create a business process flow for your CMMS.

Although this item is number five on the list, it is a crucial part of pulling your maintenance activities and your CMMS together.

So what is a business process flow for your CMMS? It’s a detailed map of how you will use your CMMS. This is one of the first exercises we give our customers. Normally we get all the key software users together, and on a whiteboard we map out the process flow for work orders, parts management and purchasing.

The work order process flow details the route a work order will take from the time it is created in the software until it is closed.

The process flow is like a map of the countryside. It will visually show points of interest. Work order directions depend upon the type of work order. Is it a PM, repair or project? Its route will also change if it needs parts, materials or engineering, etc.

Every person in the process will know his or her responsibility to get the work order to the next step. When properly populated with data, the work order can be closed. The work order road trip is now complete and memories of its adventure have been stored in the CMMS.

Keeping all your work orders in a CMMS allows your maintenance staff to analyze every piece of equipment. A reliability plan can then be put into place to counteract failures. Drive system parts can be properly identified and detailed records can be created in the software.

Indeed, a CMMS is a key ingredient in a successful maintenance plan. It marries all the relevant information into one prefect union.

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


Stories continue below

Print this page