Measuring overall craft effectiveness

This is the final part of a three-part series. Part 2 appeared in the November issue, p 31. World-class overall craft effectiveness is still being defined, since the concept of OCE is rather new. There are a limited number of case studies outside the real-world experiences of Maintenance Excellence Institute staff and alliance members.

By Ralph W. "Pete" Peters December 10, 2003

This is the final part of a three-part series. Part 2 appeared in the November issue, p 31.

World-class overall craft effectiveness is still being defined, since the concept of OCE is rather new. There are a limited number of case studies outside the real-world experiences of Maintenance Excellence Institute staff and alliance members. Some organizations try to measure just wrench time. It is accepted that 30%-40% is typical, and 70% is great. Other organizations may measure and track craft performance if a sound planning process and reliable planning times are in place.

Maintenance planning

Since the nature of determining the value of craft service quality can be subjective, this element is typically not used for calculating OCE. However, it is still an important part of effective planning and scheduling. One key part of planning is determining the scope of the repair job and the special tools or equipment required for a quality repair. A continuing concern of the maintenance planning function should be on improving existing repair methods by using better tools, repair procedures, or diagnostic equipment. Using the right skills for the job is also critical.

Providing the best possible tools, special equipment, shop areas, repair procedures, and craft skills can be a key contributor to improving craft service quality. But craft service quality can often be a key performance indicator (KPI) that is determined by periodic review of callbacks, customer complaints, and customer surveys. If reliable data from work orders is available, then all three factors can be combined, as in the overall equipment effectiveness calculation.

Improving craft utilization and performance

Improved craft utilization through more effective planning of all resources will increase available wrench time. Improved performance results from the fact that work is planned; the right tools, equipment, and parts are available, along with the right craftsperson or crew possessing the type of skills needed for the job.

Improving craft performance is a continuous process with a program for craft skills training and methods improvement to do the job right the first time in a safe and efficient manner. The ACE Team Benchmarking Process explained in Part 2 provides reliable planning times based on a consensus of experts and a tremendous repair methods improvement effort as benchmark jobs are analyzed.

Gained value and OCE

Maintenance operations that continually fight fires and react to emergency repairs never have enough time to cover all the work (core requirements) that needs to be done. Over time, more crafts people or more contracted services seem to be the only answers. Improving craft utilization provides additional craft capacity in terms of total productive craft hours available.

In relation to OEE, OCE involves increased people asset availability and capacity. It is gained value that can be calculated, estimated, and measured. The additional equivalent craft hours can then be used to reduce overtime, focus on PM/PdM, reduce the current backlog, and attack deferred maintenance that doesn’t go away.

Typically, operations that gain productive craft hours desperately need to invest the time elsewhere. Likewise, we cannot automatically and indiscriminately reduce head count when we improve overall craft effectiveness. If an organization is not achieving core requirements for maintenance, the cutting of craft positions to meet budget is like using blood letting as a new cure for a heart attack. It will not work.

Maintenance for profit

Today’s maintenance leaders and crafts people must develop the maintenance-for-profit mindset that contractors use to stay in business. Measuring and improving overall craft effectiveness and the value received from improving our craft assets are important parts of total asset management. Profit-centered, inhouse maintenance in combination with the wise use of high-quality contract maintenance services will be the key to the final evolution.

There will be revolution within organizations that do not fully recognize maintenance as a core business requirement or establish the necessary core competencies for maintenance. The bill will come due for the CFO (chief financial officer), COO (chief operating officer), and other C-positions in those operations that have subscribed to the pay-me-later syndrome for deferred maintenance. There will be a revolution within those operations that do not have a CMO (chief maintenance officer) and have heavy losses from gambling with maintenance costs.

Some inhouse maintenance leaders will lose, too, and have little or no time left before the profit-centered contract maintenance option provides the best (or only) option for a real solution to survival of the business.

Road that never ends

We also must remember that maintenance is forever. Today some organizations have neglected maintaining core competencies in maintenance to the point that they have lost complete control. The core requirement for the maintenance process remains, but the core competency is often missing: craft skills and true maintenance leadership. In some cases, the best and only solution will be value-added outsourcing. Contract maintenance will be an even greater option and business opportunity in the future.

Total operations success

Maintenance is a core requirement for profitable survival and total operations success in both profit- centered operations and service, not-for-profit operations. If the internal core competency for maintenance is not present, it must be regained. Neglect of the past can and must be overcome.

It will be overcome with a growing number of profit-centered maintenance providers and inhouse maintenance leaders who clearly understand overall craft effectiveness, today’s best maintenance practices, and value-added maintenance service at a profit.

Today’s true maintenance leader must:

  • Take a profit-centered approach

  • Know where you are

  • Know where you want to go

  • Have strategic, operational, and tactical plans of action

  • Have a commitment to action

  • Measure and validate results and return on maintenance investment ROMI)

  • Develop profit ability and leadership ability

  • Become the chief maintenance officer of the operation.

    • Author Information
      As founder of The Maintenance Excellence Institute and President of Ralph W. Peters and PEOPLE Inc. Peters has over 30 yr of practical engineering expertise, operations management, and maintenance responsibilities in both the public and private sectors. He can be reached at 919-270-1173 or .