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Editor’s Note: This article highlights a case study showing typical improvements realized from changing an organization’s approach to asset performance management with a reliability system’s perspective.

Did you know that 80 percent of efforts to improve asset performance fail? They either fail to achieve the desired objectives as stated in the initial business case or they fail by exceeding the time and cost to make them worthwhile financially. But, you can join the 20 percent that succeed by taking reliability on like a rock star. In the context of manufacturing plants, this means to create a bold reliability program and communicate it loudly across the facility so that everyone is in harmony, singing from the same song sheet, so to speak.

With comprehensive asset performance management as the end game, it is already known that the ISO55000 standard will get you there if you simply follow the guidelines. However, that’s just a starting point. The problem lies in properly executing a plan to achieve the best practice metrics that really make a difference. So it behooves organizations to have a clearly defined, global asset performance management strategy, which is typically set at the corporate level. The challenge is in aligning all parties to that strategy and carrying it out with precision to optimize the performance of assets, with the ultimate goal of throughput.

Methodology

A comprehensive asset performance management methodology developed by a maintenance, reliability and operational consulting firm, involved processes, people, tools and technology to accomplish the following:

  • Define/develop asset strategy;
  • Manage/execute strategy;
  • Collect data;
  • Analyze and visualize the data;
  • Act/improve maintenance and reliability.

Case Study — U.S. Chemical Company

A major chemical company located in the United States provides a clear measure of maintenance, reliability and maturity based on six main factors:

  1. Bad actors (identification/corrective action);
  2. Asset health assurance;
  3. Work execution;
  4. Maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO);
  5. Change management;
  6. Lubrication improvement.

In this case, the process is still in progress, going on in its advanced stage as the company continues to strive for rock star performance in the realm of proactive maintenance and reliability. The objective is to reduce cost and release capacity via early identification and elimination of asset defects and, in turn, optimize availability, throughput and yield.

An exemplary leadership team took its organization from a regressive, reactive state of “fixing it after it breaks” to a culture of change management and governance to ensure the success of an enterprise-wise paradigm shift. The consulting firm walked the team through a proven strategy, focusing on the six main factors and taking certain steps along the way aimed at making incremental improvements in each area.


Project Metrics

Figure 1’s metrics demonstrate project impact, displayed as a scorecard or dashboard, showing the company’s improvement over the first two years.

Figure 1: Project metrics scorecard

Some key changes included the implementation of root cause analysis (RCA) and the design of a lubrication improvement plan, both hallmarks of attaining big wins in terms of asset stabilization, which translates into less unplanned downtime and released capacity.

Creating the Vision

A strategic business initiative with a maintenance reliability component, staffed accordingly and bringing teams together, as needed, helped to set priorities, remove obstacles, and commit the necessary resources. Additionally, having an executive sponsor, who was actually the company’s chief operating officer (COO), was critical in creating a top-down vision to drive reliability program success across the company. As COO, he was able to align the board of directors on the reliability goals and secure their long-term investment not only in personnel resources, but technology tools, as well. This vision, leadership and long-term commitment made the difference in becoming a true superstar, going from no formal program to experimenting, becoming enlightened, establishing good practices and, ultimately, applying best practices to operate in a lean state.

Figure 2: A major chemical company's strategic business initiative with a maintenance reliability component

Conclusion

Becoming a rock star in reliability improvement does not happen overnight, especially since improvements are made while routine operations must continue uninterrupted. The multi-year project described in this case study was ideal to let things evolve slowly, while only taking on three or four reliability improvement initiatives at the same time.

The hope is that the case study and the applied methods inspire you to embark on your own reliability improvement journey, leading your organization to the next level of profitability.

Michael Aroney

Michael (Mike) Aroney, Sr., Reliability Solutions Consultant, Allied Reliability, Inc., provides essential support to Allied’s customers as they progress on their reliability journey, with a focus on leadership, governance and change management. He specializes in execution and rapid achievement of performance objectives through culture change and organization alignment. www.alliedreliability.com

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