By Mike Johnston CMRP, Senior Consultant
Many entities today struggle to keep ahead of reactive maintenance and address the primary function of a Preventive Maintenance program: to properly maintain their assets and prevent unplanned incidents. Unfortunately, many remain stuck in a “doom loop” of continual fire-fighting, often requiring excess staff to deal with the situation, when a tool to correct and reverse these trends is readily available and straightforward to apply.
Planned Maintenance Optimization, sometimes referred to as PMO, is a methodology whose purpose is to improve maintenance efficiency and effectiveness by performing a validation of the existing program and to increase the value of existing PM routines, in terms of completeness, frequency and alignment with critical equipment. Generally, PMO results in the addition of PM tasking or altering the standing PM directives to address failures and unforeseen repairs.
The PMO process is separated into three distinct phases: Data Collection; Data Analysis, Review, and Recommendations; Agreement and Application. A dedicated cross functional team should be assembled to perform the optimization as one individual will not have the wide-ranging knowledge required, and opportunity for buy-in from various stakeholders on the resulting changes will be lost.
In the initial optimization, the data collection should be focused on the known bad actors. The data spread should encompass an agreed minimal time period such as one year. This data should be exported to a spreadsheet where it can easily be viewed and analyzed.
The analysis phase should first concentrate on ranking the assets by criticality and the number of incidents, and determining the Mean Time Between Failure and/or Repair (MTBF/R). In some instances, the causes, impacts, and costs may be readily evident. Where necessary, Root Cause Analysis (RCA) should be performed to identify the sources of the more catastrophic incidents being examined. During the RCA portion, the participation of the maintenance performers who can provide abundant “real-in-the-field” data and feedback regarding the incidents and associated PM tasking is essential. If Operations perform any PM tasking, their input must also be obtained.
In the next, review stage, a comparison should be made between the MTBF/R data, the results of any RCA and the existing PM tasking. How the frequencies of the PM functions align with the MTBF/R and whether existing PM tasks are being completed in the prescribed manner must be determined. Should evidence of pencil-whipping exist – whereby tasks are approved or documented without having been performed – training must be conducted to ensure work is carried out properly. If incidents occur to assets or their components that do not exist within the PM database or discrepancies between OEM specifications and actual tasking can be found, a proper review including MTBF/R data, RCA results, OEM recommendations and input from the entire team must be completed.
Based on the outcome, recommendations must be assembled, quantified and presented to the relevant stakeholders. The following changes should be included in proposals: altering PM frequencies to offset the MTBF/R; adding new tasks to address repetitive issues; reassigning tasks to different skills; augmenting crewing; updating estimated work times; and eliminating non-value added or duplicate tasks.
Once changes have been agreed and implemented, with the exceptions of a few quick wins, extraordinary results will not occur overnight. Depending on the state of the equipment, vigorous execution and management follow-up will be required to drive improved maintenance effectiveness. Time is also needed for the altered tasks to generate from the PM database. It may take more than one PM cycle (monthly, semi-annual or annual) before results are realized.
In conclusion, PMO cannot be treated as a once-off function. For sustainability of dynamic and relevant PM tasking, the PMO process must be viewed as an ongoing exercise required to drive continuous improvement, reduce reactive work and improve reliability.
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