Boosting maintenance efficiency

30 March 2017

Currently more than 70% of maintenance work is conducted on a reactive basis. Liam Fitzpatrick, digital marketing manager, PEMAC, outlines seven steps to help companies reduce that figure by implementing a Maintenance Intelligence Program

The main reasons for a high percentage of maintenance work being carried out on a reactive basis include: Machine condition, availability of spare parts, lack of resources, demand on maintenance operations, production needs, lack of discipline, and company culture.

Maintenance and engineering departments can save time, budget, improve production, have high-quality maintenance operations and lead change within their organisation by considering the following steps

•  Step 1 – Gather and assess data

Create measures of the current approach, highlight what’s wrong and identify the scale of the challenge. 



Planned Vs Unplanned Maintenance

Maintenance Maturity

Machine Downtime

Top 10 Most Defective Assets

Meantime Between Failure

Machine Availability

Mean time to Repair

Maintenance Effectiveness

Total Maintenance for Machine vs Replacement Cost

Capital Replacement

Outcome: These measures help to highlight recurring problems and put financial measures around the current approach. You will be able to effectively calculate downtime costs, e.g. average cost of one hour of downtime for each specific machine. 

•  Step 2 – Determine the bottom line value of maintenance to your organisation

Use your per hour of downtime cost estimate to determine how much money you can save by improving your maintenance process.  Calculating the value increased availability of an asset will add to your organisation by looking at machine availability and the per hour cost of downtime previously analysed.

Outcome: A small decrease of 3 to 5% will have a huge impact on your bottom line. Justify an increase in spend on preventative maintenance and understand why a machine needs to be taken out of production to save money.

•  Step 3 – Analyse other variables

An unplanned maintenance job is three to five times more expensive than a planned job. Look at factors that affect asset availability. What’s the underlying root cause – man, machine, method, material? Use the data to deploy the correct fix and assess the processes that impact asset availability. 

Outcome: Examining the cause of downtime and then fixing the underlying cause and not the symptom allows you to eradicate an issue removing the costs permanently from the business. 

•  Step 4 – Invest in the right software solution

The right CMMS package can be tailored to fit your organisation’s needs and automate maintenance, track and manage all work, perform Root Cause Analysis, record costs while keeping a record of work performed, manage spare parts, plan work orders, show resource usage and track costs – automatically generate key measures that you need to drive the business change.

Outcome: Improved response time, work orders closed out effectively, better management of personnel, lower mean time to repair and reduced downtime. 

•  Step 5 – Preventative maintenance

Preventative maintenance is planned and performed on assets while they are still in working order, this soon becomes predictive maintenance because your CMMS will be calculating the next projected failure.

Outcome: Increased lifespan for your asset, higher levels of performance, reduced levels of downtime, a decrease in the number of major repairs, reduced cost and overall a better performing maintenance operation. 

•  Step 6 – You have a Scheduler, now use it

The scheduler function will allow you to plan maintenance, allocate a technician and order or reserve parts to ensure your strategy runs smoothly. The predictive element of the system will show whether the original interval you set for maintenance is correct. 

Outcome: The feedback loop between Unplanned and Planned work makes you more effective and hence more efficient, allowing you to save resources for where they are needed.

•  Step 7 – Set your sights on higher standards

Implement condition based monitoring, aim for Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) or Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM). Finally, bring in third-party experts to rate the efficiency of your maintenance department. 

Outcome: Increased asset availability, continuous improvements, happy and motivated maintenance and engineering staff. Your Maintenance department is now in a position to enable and drive your organisation towards business success.