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What is a Maintenance Strategy?

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A maintenance strategy can play a key role in improving the availability, reliability, and quality of operating fixed assets and optimizing the cost of maintenance programs.

Business owners may still consider maintenance as a support function or a cost center, which is why many businesses have not developed a proper maintenance strategy, although the operational availability and reliability  of operating fixed assets have become more and more important especially in capital-intensive industries.

Are You Running Your Assets To Failure?

In order to stop running your fixed operating assets to failure business owners should identify the long-term strategic goals and objectives of operations and maintenance and let the operations and maintenance management teams work together to select appropriate maintenance strategies and develop maintenance programs for operating fixed assets as well as set the short-term operational objectives and maintenance activities to achieve the strategic goals of operations and maintenance.

This blog post will explain:

  • What Is The Purpose of Maintenance?
  • What Is The Goal of Maintenance?
  • What Is a Maintenance Strategy?
  • What Are Maintenance Objectives?
  • How To Select The Right Maintenance Strategy?

 

MAINTENANCE PURPOSE

What Is The Purpose of Maintenance?

Business owners define first the purpose of the company and then they develop the mission, vision, and value statements of the organization to be used to make decisions and plan direction moving forward.

Business novelists Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox wrote a book called "The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement" where they claim that the purpose or goal of a company is to make money.

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Photo by Andreas Klassen on Unsplash  

The purpose of maintenance can be defined in general terms as follows:
The purpose of maintenance is to ensure the efficiency and availability of the property, plant, and equipment, utilities and other facilities of the business at minimum or optimal cost and under satisfactory conditions related to operational availability, reliability, and quality, safety and to the protection of the environment.

The purpose of maintenance must be derived from the purpose of the company and it should be aligned with the mission, vision, and value statements. 

 

MAINTENANCE GOAL

What Is a Maintenance Goal?

If the purpose or goal of your company is to make money, then you should focus on improving productivity by:

  • increasing throughput while simultaneously;
  • reducing inventory; and
  • reducing operational expenses.

A maintenance goal related to increasing throughput could be:

The goal of maintenance is to reduce unplanned maintenance downtime to zero by 2025.

A maintenance goal related to reducing inventory could be:

The goal of maintenance is to identify and merge duplicate spare part and material items by 2025.

A maintenance goal related to reducing operational expenses could be:

The goal of maintenance is to reduce the emergency maintenance activities to less than 2 % of all maintenance activities by 2025.

These goals are a SMART goal i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

 

MAINTENANCE OBJECTIVES

What Are Maintenance Objectives?

Maintenance objectives are defined by the European standard (EN 13306:2017) as follows:

Maintenance objectives are targets assigned and accepted for the maintenance activities.

Maintenance objectives should be aligned with operations and maintenance goals so that operations and maintenance can work together to achieve their strategic objectives. These targets may include for example operational costs, availability, reliability, and quality as well as healthy and safe working environment, and environmental emissions.

Maintenance objectives will guide the selection of maintenance strategies and the development of maintenance programs for operating fixed assets.

 

MAINTENANCE STRATEGY

What Is a Maintenance Strategy?

A maintenance strategy is defined by the European standard (EN 13306:2017) as follows:

"A management method used in order to achieve the maintenance objectives. 

There are two fundamental types of maintenance strategies to choose from and they are defined by the European standard (EN 13306:2017) as follows:

  • Corrective maintenance is maintenance carried out after fault recognition and intended to restore an item into a state in which it can perform a required function;
  • Preventive maintenance is maintenance carried out intended to assess and/or to mitigate degradation and reduce the probability of failure of an item.

Many business owners understand the benefits of preventive maintenance strategy; however, they often don't even consider any other types of preventive maintenance than predetermined time-based maintenance.

 

CORRECTIVE MAINTENANCE STRATEGY

Corrective maintenance strategy is also called as a run to failure strategy where maintenance is undertaken only after machines have broken down or equipment have failed in operation.

The purpose of the corrective maintenance strategy is to restore the function or condition of the fixed operating assets.

Corrective maintenance strategy is selected for fixed operating assets, whose failure is acceptable i.e. there are no significant consequences of failure to the people, property, plant, or equipment, nor the environment. And there are no technically or economically feasible ways to prevent equipment failures or machine breakdowns.

There are two main corrective maintenance types namely deferred and immediate corrective maintenance. Immediate maintenance is also called as emergency maintenance and it must be avoided as much as possible because it is the most expensive type of maintenance.

The most expensive type of maintenance is emergency maintenance

Emergency maintenance tasks are often planned in a hurry or not planned at all and therefore emergency maintenance is inefficient and expensive. Many times as expensive as well-planned preventive maintenance. You should ensure that no more than 1 - 2 % of your total maintenance is emergency maintenance.

How much time, money, and energy do you spend on emergency maintenance?

 

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Photo by Matt C on Unsplash

How does it feel like running your maintenance operations in a corrective mode?

  • Managing your maintenance team feels probably like running a central fire department or an emergency care unit of a university hospital.
  • Maintenance management receives angry calls from operations management on a daily basis requesting for emergency maintenance services due to machine breakdowns and equipment failures.
  • And, if your unplanned maintenance downtime is relatively high and more than 80 % of your maintenance costs are accrued from the planning of non-recurring repair work orders and the execution of urgent maintenance tasks, you can safely say that you are in the corrective mode.
You are saving the lives of your property, plant, and equipment

 

PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE STRATEGY

Preventive maintenance strategy is undertaken before machines will brake down or equipment fail in operation.

The purpose of the preventive maintenance strategy is to keep the property, plant, and equipment in good working order and operations up and running.

Preventive maintenance can be classified into four categories:

  • predetermined time-based or usage based maintenance,
  • condition-based maintenance, and
  • predictive maintenance as well as
  • prescriptive maintenance.

Time-based and usage-based maintenance don't take the condition of the fixed operating assets into consideration which may lead to unnecessary maintenance work orders and increased cost of maintenance. Other preventive maintenance types use machine condition data to schedule the execution of maintenance tasks which reduces unnecessary maintenance and costs.

 

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Photo by Aneo Software Oy

How does it feel like running your maintenance operations in a preventive mode?

  • Managing your maintenance team feels probably more like running your local fire department or the health care unit of your local hospital.
  • Maintenance management receives friendly calls from operations management on a weekly basis requesting for information about planned maintenance services requiring operational downtime during the next upcoming weeks or months.
  • And, if your unplanned maintenance downtime is relatively low and more than 80 % of your maintenance costs are accrued from the planning of inspections and preventive maintenance work orders and the execution of recurring preventive maintenance tasks, you can safely say that you are in the preventive mode.
You are extending the useful life of your property, plant, and equipment.

 

RISK-BASED MAINTENANCE

How To Select The Right Maintenance Strategy?

 

Risk-based maintenance is an approach to help you decide what type of maintenance strategy to choose for your fixed operating assets. You can use risk assessment methodologies to assign your assets to those that carry the highest risk levels and those that have the lowest risk in case of a machine breakdown or equipment failure.

Based on the outcome of the risk assessment you can allocate more frequent inspections and preventive maintenance for assets that have a relatively higher risk and a very high consequence of failure. Lower-risk assets can be allocated for less frequent inspections and preventive maintenance.

 

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