MTTR can cause reliability problems if not used right

The use of mean time to repair (MTTR) to improve reliability can cause problems if it’s used alone, in immature organizations, or if it’s used without an understanding of the potential problems it can use.

10/31/2016


Metrics, also called key performance indicators (KPI), are a force for good when used at the right time and with the right complementary or supporting elements. When they are used at the wrong time, however, they can have unintentional consequences or drive the wrong behaviors. In particular, the use of mean time to repair (MTTR) to improve reliability can cause problems if it's used alone, in immature organizations, or if it's used without an understanding of the potential problems it can use.

This metric can drive an organization in the opposite direction of the world-class performance that may have been intended. If the organization is immature from a reliability standpoint and chooses MTTR as the focus, then the company is setting itself to become very reactive by very quick to respond to failures. The problems with that include:

  • Reactive response is at least five times more expensive than planned and scheduled work.
  • Operations will demand faster response time to lower MTTR.
  • Rushed repairs are less reliable.
  • Reactive response requires more expensive spare parts stocking.
  • Companies will have skilled maintenance technicians just standing on the manufacturing floor doing nothing and waiting for a failure to occur.
  • Pressure to make the repair as quickly as possible can lead to taking elevated safety risks.

Many sites that choose MTTR as a primary metric early in their reliability journey create a brigade of firefighters at the ready with crash carts and mounds of spare parts. In general, though, companies want to prevent the failures from happening at all or at least reduce the frequency. Metrics such as mean time between failures (MTBF) might be a better option early on in the process and then use MTTR after the reliability has been increased. Using MTTR later allows companies to address issues that can't be prevented and help managers understand training gaps and other issues that might be affecting repair times.

Shon Isenhour, principal at Eduditio, LLC.If MTTR is the only metric being used, then companies will create tools like crash carts and quick response teams (QRT) instead of using tools such as root cause analysis (RCA) to understand and eliminate the reoccurring problem. If your metrics are driving the wrong behaviors, then it might be time to do a reassessment.

What metrics have worked for your company? Let us know in the comments section below.

- Shon Isenhour is a founding partner at Eruditio and is a part of Plant Engineering's editorial advisory board. This article originally appeared on Eruditio's blog. Eruditio is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
2016 Product of the Year; Diagnose bearing failures; Asset performance management; Testing dust collector performance measures
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me