Build your Reliability and Maintenance Strategy

by Owe Forsberg, Vice President

IDCON Inc a Reliability and Maintenance Management consulting firm

Imagine you are the Engineering and Maintenance Manager at a new manufacturing facility. The Plant is a major greenfield site with a CapEx budget over $1 Billion and already broken ground. During the construction and commissioning you’ll be part of startup testing, managing contractors, reviewing final design, hiring, and training the new maintenance and engineering personnel, developing the maintenance PM program, implementing planning and scheduling of work, selecting parts and setting up the storeroom, and anything else that can be thrown your way!

It’s already a challenge to stay on top of the construction, change orders and commissioning and now you must think about developing your reliability and maintenance strategy.

So, what should you do you start building a reliability and maintenance strategy that puts you on the right path to excellent performance?

Here’s some items to get you started:

  • Define The Vision and Mission of reliability and maintenance
  • Asset management responsibility must be anchored, accepted and promoted by top management.
  • Establish detailed targets before the plant startup. Some examples are operations OEE, utility reliability and quality.
  • Develop and implement best practices. Get outside support to avoid overloading the staff; this ensures that all key processes are in place during the startup of the plant.
  • You must hire the right people to implement best practices in R&M.
  • Include Maintenance and reliability early in the idea phase and be part of the detailed design specifications.
  • Develop and introduce workflows for the key R&M processes
  • Involve the asset owners (i.e. operations) when determining criticality. The criticality is the basis for the R&M strategy for the equipment.
  • Implement the root cause problem elimination process for all levels in the organization not just for management.
  • Your RFP must specify the technical information and spare parts to get quality and accurate data.
  • The spare parts budget should be based on the criticality assessment and not an arbitrary number from another plant.

Get a Reliability and Maintenance assessment

Having a partner like IDCON can help you get up to speed on best practices. We start with our Current Best Practices assessment. You’re thinking, “I don’t have anything to assess” that true but our assessment gives you the blueprint to develop your best practices. It’s faster than figuring it out on your own and will give you an idea of the resources you need to have in place.

Maintenance and operations partnership

Your reliability plan is critical to support the overall operational plan. It’s imperative to include operations and quality from the outset. This insures a partnership agreement is formed. You should develop KPIs to measure the success of this partnership.

Build Reliability and Maintenance Workflows

Workflows define the specific activities that must be completed and who is responsible, accountable, consultant and informed (RACI) for them. They are the building blocks to create job descriptions including the roles and responsibilities of key staff members. Your HR department will know exactly what staff you need and what’s required of them.

Work Management workflow
Work Management Workflow with tasks, roles and resources

Equipment strategy – start with a risk assessment

Get the asset owners involved in this process. Work together to determine the risk matrices and criterion.

Score each criterion on a scale from 1-10 creating a reliability ranking of all the production systems. The ranking determines the reliability strategy for each component in the system. An interesting idea is to make the rankings memorable by naming them after something familiar.

The next step is to decide on the technology and procedures to use for condition monitoring. You need to do this prior to engineering design packages, especially if you are planning on using machine learning. Not making these decisions early could cost you more money in the long-run.

Technical Database

We work clients to develop a standard for the the equipment master data as a specification for the project engineering company. These standards include all basic information to be provided in a specific database program.

Why? Projects such as this should have the OEM manuals and spare part lists for all equipment as part of the RFP to the project engineering company. The negative consequence is that the information provided can be delivered in many different formats and may even be missed. This can create a quality concern if you have equipment that directly comes in contact with the product that has to have traceability back in the chain of custody.

These are just a few of the R & M considerations you need to think about. The bottom-line is this: if you are in expansion mode or building a new greenfield plant, you need reliability and maintenance best practices in place. If not, you’re going to behind from the start.

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