Maintenance Performance Improvement

“Unexpected maintenance issues result in downtime, lost capacity, and cost our company a lot of time and money. How can we improve our maintenance performance?”

Maintenance Performance Has a Significant Impact on Productivity, Capacity, Downtime, Throughput, and More

Transforming manufacturing operational performance requires analyzing the systems, processes, and behaviors woven into the fabric of an organization, from inputs to outputs, from the top floor to the shop floor. One element that should be on every organization’s radar for improvement is maintenance performance or MRO. 

MRO stands for Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (or sometimes Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul). MRO refers to the equipment, tools, and activities associated with performing daily business operations. MRO doesn’t include materials, products, and services used directly in production but instead acts as the glue that holds everything together.

MRO is often divided into four repair and maintenance categories:

  1. Infrastructure, which is typically focused on keeping the organization’s facilities up and running.
  2. Production equipment used to process the inputs and outputs throughout the value chain.
  3. Material handling equipment and systems involved in transporting raw materials and final products to and from production lines.
  4. Tooling and consumables, which are any smaller, handheld tools required in day-to-day operations.
POWERS manufacturing maintenance performance improvement photo 2
POWERS manufacturing maintenance performance improvement photo

Maintenance management falls into these four categories, whether planned or unplanned:

  1. Corrective maintenance – Replace components upon failure. Only repair when there are errors.
  2. Preventive maintenance – Replace components before failure, repair equipment before the date of expected failure, prevent errors before they happen.
  3. Predictive maintenance – Monitor components, often with the advent of technological advancements like CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System)IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), and Digital Twins. When problems are detected, take corrective action. 
  4. Proactive maintenance – Identify and correct root causes of failure to help avoid maintenance issues.

Expertly managing the reliability of every asset along each link in your value chain involves transforming your maintenance mindset from reactive to proactive to excellence. But with each department and production line straining under the current global supply chain and market demand pressures, how do you make maintenance a priority?

What we’ve found is this: maintenance performance excellence can be a key to unlocking supply chain bottlenecks and uncovering added capacity and throughput. Getting maintenance performance right can be like “found” money and dramatically impact ROA (Return on Assets).

In this economic climate, manufacturing facilities and operations managers constantly battle to increase profitability and minimize costs. Increasing production is often one of the corrective measures taken to decrease the unit cost. Unfortunately, this “lever” is sometimes pulled without considering the added maintenance requirements or impact on reliability. Instead, production is ramped up without considering how long the equipment can sustain the increased output without going down or breaking entirely.

According to data from WSJ, unplanned downtime costs industrial manufacturers an estimated $50 billion annually. Equipment failure is the cause of 42% of this unplanned downtime.  

When downtime and production losses increase, management sees it as a maintenance problem. However, the issue originated in management’s failure to assess the risk before the production increase and act accordingly. Whether senior managers realize it or not, minimizing cost while maximizing profit is dependent on equipment operating safely and reliably. That’s why maintenance has a big part to play in the overall health of your organization.

In a world where supply chain, cost reduction, and market demand pressures are through the roof, doesn’t it make sense to find any additional reliable and safe capacity and throughput from your existing assets? Maintenance performance excellence can be that key. But where do you start?

Step 1. Maintenance Performance Assessment

Analyzing your current maintenance scheduling, processes, and procedures is a critical first step toward improving performance. You must understand your entire organization’s maintenance needs and how you’re already performing, across the enterprise, accounting for every asset. This assessment is typically a deep-dive analysis that may require outside resources. If you’re like a lot of manufactureres today, your maintenance team is probably understaffed and overworked. Adding an assement of this magnitude is probably unrealistic.

The maintenance team keeps processes running smoothly, ensuring the product can keep flowing to the customer. Corrective maintenance is necessary when equipment availability meets demand or when equipment needs repair. If maintenance performance needs to be improved in any area like preventive maintenance, maintenance staffing, or planning and scheduling, the overall production—not to mention the company’s bottom line—will suffer.

There are many maintenance philosophies, ranging from a mentality of “run until it breaks” to the constant monitoring and repair of equipment through a CMMS (Computerizeed Maintenance Management System), and even Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). The goal of TPM is to achieve perfect production; no breakdowns, small stops, accidents, or defects will occur. A preventive maintenance program ensures the most efficiency and the best performance in most facilities. Regular equipment maintenance is essential in preventing the failure of the equipment, which can significantly affect productivity. 

Download our Free
Maintenance Assessment Guide

Take the first steps in assessing and improving your maintenance performance. Download our free Maintenance Assessment Guide to begin asking the right questions in critical areas of your maintenance program.

  • Work Order System
  • Work Estimates
  • Backlog
  • Staffing
  • Work Assignments
  • And More

Step 2. Develop an Action Plan

Overall, downtime costs most factories somewhere between 5% and 20% of their productive capacity. – PTC

Unplanned downtime costs industrial manufacturers an estimated $50 billion annually. Equipment failure is the cause of 42% of this unplanned downtime.  – IndustryWeek

In order to improve maintenance performance, the first thing you need to do is develop a plan for improvement. The purpose of this development is the highest maintenance optimization. Perhaps you want to minimize downtime of equipment or maybe you want to reorganize your assets. To see the maintenance performance improvement you want to see, you will first need to develop a plan and a timetable.

At POWERS, we aren’t your typical consultant or advisor. We analyze your current maintenance processes to develop a plan customized to meet the needs of your organization. We help you to implement the plan so that your maintenance team can become accustomed to any new processes. With the improvement of maintenance performance and the implementation of best practices, overall productivity will increase.

Step 3. Update Maintenance Technology

Updating maintenance department technology is especially important if your organization relies on pen and paper, a whiteboard, or spreadsheets to track your assets and work orders across the enterprise.

Optimizing your maintenance operations may be time to look at a more robust and technology-driven solution such as a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS).

CMMS is software that helps streamline your maintenance processes and manage your organization’s assets, schedule maintenance, and track work orders.

Implementing a CMMS system creates a more straightforward process for work orders, accurate time maintenance information, preventive maintenance scheduling, and labor reports, increasing productivity, reducing labor hours, reducing downtime, and improving performance.

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The POWERS Difference

As an external presence in your organization, we can provide objective analysis of your maintenance processes and help drive maintenance performance improvement. When improving a manufacturing maintenance optimization, you need to talk to an expert. We hold a mirror up to your organization, providing an unbiased view of your current processes. We identify the areas where your maintenance department is performing well and the areas where there could be some improvement. We work with your organization to develop a plan, implement the training across your plant, and empower you to see maintenance performance improvement.

Our Maintenance Performance Improvement Approach is a Deep Dive into the Following Areas of Your Business:

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