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Developing and Implementing a Work Execution Management Improvement Process

Maintenance Work Execution Management

Maintenance Work Execution Management

Implementation Flow

Uptime® Elements Reliability Framework and Asset Management System™ includes the Work Execution Management Domain with an acknowledgment that many asset management strategies and reliability strategies fail in execution.

Having an efficient work execution program is an important capability in the reliability journey.

Execute returns not strategyFigure 1: Execute returns not strategyImage courtesy of: Terrence O'Hanlon,

There can be considered, a logical flow to implementing work execution management. This flow depends on the previous element being effective before implementing the next element. This relationship is highlighted in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Typical implementation flow for work execution management [WEM]Image courtesy of:

The flow depicted in Figure 2 helps to emphasize the necessity for reducing the amount of reactive work as an organization implements work execution management. A preventive maintenance program should help an organization reach the threshold of less than 20 percent reactive work. The defect elimination process helps to further reduce the amount of reactive work and continues to reinforce precision maintenance.With the amount of reactive work continuously decreasing, MRO inventory and purchasing can then be implemented successfully. Once MRO inventory and purchasing controls and processes are properly implemented, the organization can focus on effective planning and scheduling. While this will be covered in more depth later in the guide, clearly understanding the processes and communicating them to the organization is essential for effective planning and scheduling. Somewhere in the process of getting to planning and scheduling, a CMMS is required to process all the data that will be generated for the assets being maintained. The CMMS is a relational database that stores and processes this data. When an organization has achieved this level of maturity, it is likely that operators will be involved in some basic maintenance activities.The implementation sequence of the WEM elements is critical to avoid excessive costs and a high probability of failure. For example, if an organization tries to plan and schedule maintenance activities while 50 percent of its work is reactive, it would not achieve a high level of benefit from this practice. However, once the amount of reactive work is below 20 percent, then the productivity gains from planning and scheduling can be realized.

Developing a Preventive Maintenance Process

When an organization decides to develop a preventive maintenance (PM) program, it is usually in response to a high rate of equipment failures. It is essential to avoid the trap of trying to develop a PM program for every piece of equipment in a plant or facility. That is why the first step should be to determine the critical equipment in the plant or facility. It is likely this information has already been gathered by one of the reliability engineers for maintenance exercises. Once the critical equipment has been identified through a process, such as ISO14224, it is necessary to develop a component listing for each critical piece of equipment.

While some critical equipment may seem very complex, it eventually will break down into a series of basic components. These may be things like electrical or electronic control systems, mechanical drives, fluid power systems, or a combination of them. Once the complex systems are broken down into their basic components, it is easy to determine the maintenance requirements for these components. For example, what maintenance is required for a V-belt drive? Or a chain drive? Or for an electronic control system? Once these basic PM requirements are identified, it is a matter of putting them in detail in a PM task.

This leads to developing a detailed job procedure for all maintenance tasks. This requires step-by-step instructions on how to perform the maintenance. While this may seem a time-consuming and tedious task, it is essential to have the details to ensure the PM is performed correctly. This level of detail may include items, such as torque specifications, normal operating pressures, normal operating temperatures, etc.

Once the detailed procedures are developed, the next step is to schedule the PM tasks. A task can be scheduled on some type of time basis, such as daily, weekly, monthly, etc. Some tasks may be able to be scheduled on a usage basis. This could be run hours, machine cycles, product produced, etc., to ensure the equipment will be serviced at the appropriate frequency.

Figure 3: Process flow for developing a PM programFigure 3: Process flow for developing a PM program

Figure 3 provides a process flow for developing a PM program. While this example may not apply to all organizations, it can be used as a guideline for developing company specific PM development flows.

Defect Elimination, Zero Breakdowns

Under defect elimination, defects are generally classified into five categories:

  1. Operations
  2. Workmanship
  3. Failure events
  4. Design
  5. Raw materials

Sources of defects Image courtesy of: Terrence O'Hanlon,

Defects caused by operations are typically generated by the way operations utilizes an asset or piece of equipment. When standard procedures are not followed, the equipment is subjected to misuse not planned for in the equipment design.

Defects caused by workmanship are typically generated by poor maintenance procedures, lack of technical training, or a skills gap that has developed.

Defects resulting from failure events are also referred to as collateral damage after a failure. For example, a bearing may lock out, causing damage to a shaft or coupling. Without a good inspection and analysis process after a failure, this damage may not be detected for a period of time. This will contribute to poor operation of the equipment during this time.

Design defects are created when equipment is used differently than its original specifications. Operating equipment beyond its design parameters shortens its expected life, while operating equipment at less than its design parameters does not produce a good return on investment.

Raw materials defects are from the quality of materials, which can be process related. However, poor quality MRO spares also can create defects. How MRO spares are stored or handled also can contribute to defects.

By carefully considering these items, the amount of defects that are introduced into the company’s equipment can be significantly diminished.

MRO Inventory and Purchasing

MRO-spares management is balancing the cost of inventory with the cost of downtime to deliver an optimal spare parts strategy. Organizations need to give attention to MRO-spares management because it comprises somewhere between 40 to 60 percent of the company’s total maintenance budget. It is necessary to balance spare parts costs against the cost of unavailability. Unavailability means the equipment process is disrupted and unnecessary downtime incurs while waiting for a spare part. Balancing the cost of this downtime versus the cost of keeping the spare part in stock can have a significant impact on the profitability of the organization.

In most organizations today, poor service levels from the storeroom are typical. Poor service levels are defined as lower than 95 percent. With these service levels, stock out percentages are high, resulting in lower maintenance productivity. This creates a culture of “hoarding” and “pirating” spare parts, which drives inventory levels higher than necessary and creates unnecessary maintenance costs.

There is also a tendency in most organizations to incorrectly staff the storeroom. This self-service attitude results in missing spare parts due to improper documentation of transactions. This practice results in inaccuracies in stock outs, causing delays in work execution. The situation is usually remedied when an annual inventory reconciliation is taken and the inventory write-down is calculated. The amount will typically pay for the salary of the necessary storeroom personnel.

MRO-spares management is necessary to deliver savings in the areas of overall spare parts costs, maintenance labor productivity costs, purchasing costs and equipment downtime costs. MRO-spares management is an essential component to any WEM system.

MRO-spares management should have an organizational structure that eliminates wasted maintenance productivity, standardized work processes for receiving, issuing and returning stock items, appropriate numbering systems for stock inventory and key performance indicators for measuring the service level and total valuation trend.

MRO spares and purchasing typically make up 40 to 60 percent of the overall maintenance cost. However, holding costs for spare parts are typically around 30 percent of the purchase price. Balancing inventory costs against downtime costs requires an MRO organization to collect data while following best practice processes.

Some MRO management system components include:

  • Location identification and structure that match the maintenance structure;
  • Storeroom organization
    • by part type for larger storerooms,
    • by equipment for smaller storerooms;
  • Securing spare parts;
  • Item master identification;
  • Development of stocking policies and calculations, including:
    • reorder points – safety stock plus minimum quantity;
    • reorder quantities;
    • service levels – part availability 95 to 97 percent.

In addition, it is necessary to develop the appropriate work process flows for an MRO inventory and purchasing organization. This allows the entire organization to understand how MRO inventory and purchasing business is transacted. A sample flow of how to request spare parts is highlighted in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Process flow for requesting spare partsFigure 4: Process flow for requesting spare parts

At a minimum, these processes should be documented:

  • Material/spare part ordering process;
  • Expediting process;
  • Delivery acceptance process;
  • Receipt and binning process;
  • Spare parts issuing process.

Depending on the size of the MRO storeroom and purchasing organization, there may be additional process flows that need to be documented. This is necessary to ensure that the MRO inventory and purchasing department is truly run as a business.

Planning and Scheduling

Once the basic controls and disciplines for maintenance are in place, improving maintenance effectiveness begins by understanding the impact planning and scheduling have on maintenance costs. The general rule is that proactive work can be performed for 1/4 to 1/2 of the cost of reactive work. The three main areas of savings are: maintenance labor, maintenance materials and maintenance contractors.

The goal of maintenance planning and scheduling is to improve maintenance labor productivity, thus eliminating waste from the maintenance work processes. In a reactive maintenance environment, where greater than 20 percent of maintenance resources are deployed on unplanned and unscheduled work, maintenance labor productivity is typically less than 30 percent. With an effective planning and scheduling process, maintenance labor productivity can possibly reach the 60 percent level. This basically doubles the amount of work that can be performed with the same resources.

Maintenance material costs are also reduced by maintenance planning and scheduling. With better maintenance controls in place, including forecasted demands, material costs are reduced by these activities:

  • With a forecasted demand available from good planning and scheduling, it is possible to obtain better pricing from vendors.
  • With planning and scheduling in place and, again, having forecasted demands, optimum stocking levels can be decided, with resulting optimized service levels.
  • With closer tracking of the inventory, there is less loss due to expired shelf life of spares and/or supplies.
  • With less reactive work and utilizing forecasted demands, there are lower expediting costs.
  • With enhanced inventory spare parts tracking, there are fewer storage locations, which contributes to just-in-time spare parts delivery and usage.
  • With enhance planning and scheduling, kitting and staging become viable, thus further increasing the efficiency of maintenance resources.

These cost savings can be substantial, further reducing material costs for an organization with effective maintenance stores and purchasing processes.

In addition, where internal maintenance labor productivity and material costs are reduced by planning and scheduling, contractor costs are also reduced. Contractor costs are reduced in the same way as internal maintenance resources – through more effective and efficient deployment of resources.

In developing the maintenance reliability organization, the maintenance organizational structure plays a key role. To be effective with planning and scheduling, it is essential to have an efficient and effective maintenance organization in place. It is truly one of the hidden “enablers” in work execution management. Without this, there is no opportunity to standardize maintenance reliability processes sufficiently enough to produce professional business results.

The components of an efficient and effective maintenance organization are:

  • Maintenance Organizations:
    • Goals and objectives
    • Organizational structure;
  • Geographical and Reporting:
    • Roles and responsibilities;
    • Staffing levels.

CMMS / EAM Systems

One key business process that many industries are currently focusing their attention on is the maintenance business function. While this business function is often viewed as a necessary evil, with a continual focus on cost reduction, it is now being seen as an untapped opportunity for increased revenue generation.

Cost reduction in maintenance does not mean a reduction in the level of service or the quality of service. It means a better control of the maintenance organization and related areas. The concept of lean maintenance is to drive the waste out of the maintenance process. To properly control maintenance in any facility, information is required to analyze what is occurring. Manually, this requires a tremendous amount of effort and time.

In recognition of this, many progressive companies are developing and using computer programs geared toward control of the maintenance organization. These systems are referred to as a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) or an enterprise asset management system (EAM). The CMMS or EAM system is designed to focus on gathering all maintenance-related data and filing it in the history of the proper asset, whether it is a piece of equipment, location, or the building-floor-room locator typically used in facilities. Figure 5 shows the flow diagram for a typical CMMS or EAM system.

Figure 5: An example of a flow diagram for a CMMS/EAM systemFigure 5: An example of a flow diagram for a CMMS/EAM system

Astute observers of the market for computerized maintenance management systems may have noticed that software vendors are beginning to call their products enterprise asset management systems instead of computerized maintenance management systems. To understand the reason for this change, one must be aware that many companies use enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to manage all resources required to produce a product or provide a service. These systems are connected with businesses from order entry to order fulfillment. The majority of ERP systems contain an EAM system as a module.

By contrast, a CMMS is used by the maintenance department to manage the maintenance function. Typically, a CMMS is independent of the main business system (usually an ERP system), requiring manual schedule integration to avoid conflicts.

When there are conflicts between ERP systems and a CMMS, it is often because of the failure to give sufficient emphasis to the maintenance function. In general, a company cannot successfully plan and schedule resources (assets) at an enterprise level without managing assets at that level. Most companies still manage assets at a department, or at best, a plant level.

Conflicts also develop due to poor equipment availability, when excess assets are purchased to ensure enough capacity to meet market demands. This strategy is uncontrolled, often resulting in excessive maintenance, repair and operating costs, as well as lower asset utilization. Excess (underutilized) assets lower the return on assets (ROA), signaling to investors that this is a poor investment.

The solution is to move beyond ERP and CMMS to an integrated EAM solution. EAM systems seek to manage a company’s assets at an enterprise level to optimize their utilization, thereby maximizing the return on investment (ROI) in the assets. EAM includes using real-time information from all parts of the company to balance the maintenance and operational needs in a financial equation to maximize the shareholder’s investment in the assets. In other words, EAM takes a process or asset focused view of the entire business, as opposed to a product focused view.

In summary, ERP systems entail planning based on capacity. EAM enables or delivers that capacity. Thus, EAM is more than maintenance management and EAM software aims to be more than maintenance management software.

Another way to determine the differences between any CMMS and EAM system is to review the business functions each includes. The basic outline for a CMMS focuses on managing maintenance and MRO inventory and purchasing. To have a full EAM system, items like company financials, human resources, time and payroll, and material requirements planning must be integrated. In addition, there are technical modules, such as radio-frequency identification (RFID), mobile devices, calibration devices and real-time asset health monitoring devices, that must be integrated. When all these are included with a focus on properly managing the assets, full EAM is achievable.

Operator Driven Reliability

Operator driven reliability (ODR) means different things to different organizations. There is no right or wrong way to involve operations in maintenance or asset management activities on the company’s equipment or assets.

The focus should be on using operations personnel in a way that accomplishes the goals of ODR within the company. This puts in place a solid foundation, which is necessary for any operations involvement to be sustainable. It is also necessary for the organizational culture to have matured.

In outlining the ODR process, there are many different steps that show maturity levels in training operators about how to take care of their equipment. Equipment operator inspection and maintenance training steps can be sequential, depending on the level of involvement the company sets as a goal. For example:

  • Basic cleaning (cleaning is inspecting);
  • Developing permanent solutions to the sources of problems and/or contamination;
  • Improve the mean time to repair (MTTR) or time to perform inspection/service on the equipment;
  • Develop cleaning and maintenance standards; (It should be noted that these four are considered the foundation for any ODR effort.)
  • Develop training for the operators to be competent when servicing/inspecting the equipment;
  • Plan, schedule and follow up on all operator duties, such as cleaning, inspecting and lubricating;Organize the workplace for maximum efficiency and effectiveness;

Communicating the intent of the key elements of ODR is critical. Too often, ODR is started without clear goals. This leads to management desiring a reduction in the number of maintenance technicians, which ultimately results in the failure of the ODR effort.

The levels of organizational maturity for ODR should be viewed as a journey to maturity. The organization should value a proactive maintenance and reliability mentality. The key measure at this point is maintenance resource usage. If ODR is to be successful, at least 80 percent of all maintenance resources should be planned and scheduled each week. In addition, all equipment repair information must be recorded in a CMMS or EAM system. This means instead of waiting for equipment-related problems to develop, the organization is proactively eliminating or mitigating these problems. This has a dramatic impact on the reliability and, ultimately, the capacity of the company’s assets.

For assets to produce efficiently, they depend on both operations and maintenance. However, in immature organizations, the relationship between operators and maintenance personnel is often adversarial. No matter how hard maintenance personnel work, they make very little progress in maintenance and equipment improvement because the operator’s attitude is: “I operate it – you fix it.”

If, on the other hand, operators participate in the maintenance function by becoming responsible for some activities, maintenance goals and objectives are more likely to be achieved. This cooperative effort allows maintenance personnel to focus their energies on technologically advanced tasks, which produce more efficient and effective maintenance.

Maintainability is defined to be the probability that a failed system will be restored or repaired to a specified condition within a period of time when maintenance is performed in accordance with prescribed procedures.

Maintainability can be specified, predicted and measured. The biggest opportunities to "improve" Maintainability is through planning and execution.

RAMS2F Reliability Availability Maintainability Safety Sustainability and FunctionabilityRAMS2F Reliability Availability Maintainability Safety Sustainability and Functionability

Competency Based Learning [CBL]

To learn more about the maintenance work execution management domain we recommend the Certified Maintenance Manager [CMM] Workshop or the Certified Reliability Leader [CRL] Workshop depending on your role and your goals. You can find out more about CMM or CRL Training in the Events Calendar

Certified Maintenance Management Certified Maintenance Management

Certified Reliability Leader training is based on the Uptime Elements framework.

Uptime Elements Reliability Framework and Asset Management System Image courtesy of: Terrence O'Hanlon,

Terry Wireman

Senior Vice President, Strategy
Vesta Partners

Terry is the senior vice president of strategic development. He leads Vesta’s maintenance and reliability seminars and training, and provides strategic guidance to help the firm shape its market strategy and long-term direction. For over four decades, Terry has been specializing in the improvement of maintenance management and reliability.

He helps customers develop “best-in-class” maintenance and reliability policies and practices. As an international expert in maintenance/asset management, he has assisted hundreds of clients in North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim to improve their maintenance and asset effectiveness.

In addition, he has authored twenty four textbooks and scores of white papers and articles related to maintenance management process and technology.

Terry is currently a member of the US Technical Advisory Group working on producing the ISO-55000 standard. Terry is committed to keeping Vesta on the forefront of thought leadership pertaining to maintenance and reliability strategies.

Terrence O'Hanlon

Terrence O’Hanlon, CMRP, and CEO of® and Publisher for Uptime® Magazine, is an asset management leader, specializing in reliability and operational excellence. He is a popular keynote presenter and is the coauthor of the book, 10 Rights of Asset Management: Achieve Reliability, Asset Performance and Operational Excellence.

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