Maintenance leadership requirements

EDITOR'S NOTE: This column is the fourth in a series of columns based on the book, Future Capable Company: What Manufacturing Leaders Need To Do Today To Succeed Tomorrow, by Dr. Tompkins. These excerpts are provided through special arrangement with the publisher, Tompkins Press. Copyright © 2001 Tompkins Press.


When a Future Capable Company prepares for continuous improvement, it should include the evaluation and improvement of its current maintenance processes. There are a number of key principles and best practices that are fundamental to continuous improvement. Understanding the 25 Requirements for Effective Maintenance Leadership should provide measurable benefits for the Future Capable Company's total operation. Last month, we examined the first 12 requirements (left). What follows completes the discussion.

13. Maintenance and Engineering: A partnership for profitable technology application. Maintenance and engineering should work closely together during systems specification, installation, startup, and operation to provide maintenance with the technical depth required for maintaining all assets and systems. Engineering should provide technical resources and support to ensure maintenance has the technical capability to maintain all equipment and systems. Engineering should support maintenance in improving the effectiveness of existing equipment. Maintenance and engineering should work closely together in developing specifications for new equipment. During installation and startup, maintenance and engineering should also work closely together to ensure operating specifications are achieved.

14. Continuously improve reliability and maintainability. Machines and systems should be specified, designed, retrofitted, and installed with greater reliability and ease of maintainability. Equipment design should focus on maintainability and reliability, not just performance. Design for maintainability is an accepted philosophy that fully recognizes the high cost of maintenance in the life-cycle of equipment. High life-cycle costs can be reduced by applying good maintainability and reliability principles during design. Identify potential problems before they are designed into the equipment. Equipment design should include a higher level of internal diagnostic capabilities and provide greater use of expert systems for troubleshooting. Maintenance should work closely with equipment designers to share information about problems with existing equipment.

15. Design for modularity. Physical assets and systems should be modularly designed so that failures are quickly identified and repaired. Overall maintainability should be further improved through modular design of physical assets and systems. Highest-failure parts and components should be the most accessible, easily identified, and designed for easy repair. Components should be designed for easy disassembly and reassembly using the lowest skill level possible.

16. Manage life-cycle cost and obsolescence. The life-cycle costs of physical assets and systems should be closely monitored, evaluated, and managed to reduce total costs. During the equipment's operating life, systems should be developed to continually monitor equipment costs. Information should be available to highlight equipment with high-maintenance costs. A complete history of the equipment's repair costs should help maintenance in deciding on equipment replacement, overhaul/retrofit, and overall condition.

17. Create value-adding redundancy. Critical assets and systems should have backups so that if something fails, a secondary asset or system takes over. Critical operations and constraints to throughput should be identified. Redundancy of critical equipment and systems ensures continuous operation during failure. Maintenance should focus on critical operations to increase equipment effectiveness, reduce unplanned breakdowns, and increase effectiveness of preventive/predictive maintenance.

18. Minimize uncertainty and eliminate root causes. Uncertainty should be minimized through effective preventive/predictive maintenance programs and through continuous application of modern predictive maintenance technology and expert systems. Effective preventive/predictive maintenance programs should be used to anticipate and predict problems to eliminate uncertainty of unexpected breakdowns and high repair costs. Predictive maintenance should not be limited solely to detecting failure but should proactively identify and eliminate the root causes of chronic problems. Preventive/predictive maintenance programs should be adequately staffed to cover all major assets within the operation. Maintenance should maintain current technical knowledge and experience for applying a combination of predictive technologies best suited for the specific asset.

19. Maximize use of Computerized Maintenance Management and Enterprise Asset Management. Systems that support the total maintenance operation should improve the quality of maintenance and physical asset management and be integrated with the overall business system of the organization. Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) should provide greater levels of manageability to maintenance operations. CMMS should cover the total scope of the maintenance operation and provide the means to improve the overall quality of maintenance management. Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) should provide a broader scope of integrated software to manage physical assets, human resources, and parts inventory in an integrated system for maintenance management, procurement, inventory management, work management, asset performance, and process monitoring. Vast amounts of data associated with maintenance tasks should be computer-controlled and available as key information for planning, scheduling, backlog control, equipment history, parts availability, inventory control, performance measurement, and downtime analysis.

20. Use maintenance information to manage the business of maintenance. The maintenance information system and database should encompass the total maintenance function and provide real-time information to improve maintenance management. Implementing CMMS and EAM provides the opportunity for improved maintenance information systems. With CMMS and EAM, the maintenance information system can be developed and tailored to support maintenance as a true "business operation." Information to support planning, scheduling, equipment history, preventive/predictive maintenance, and storeroom management can be established to improve decision-making and overall maintenance management. Improved maintenance information should allow for open communication between all departments within the organization.

21. Ensure an effective maintenance storeroom operation. The storeroom for Maintenance Repair Operations (MRO) should be orderly, space and labor-efficient, responsive, and should encourage maintenance excellence. Initial storeroom design or modernization should provide a layout that ensures efficient inventory control and includes maximum loss-control measures. It should be professionally managed and maintained. The trend should be toward larger, centralized storerooms with responsive delivery systems to eliminate crafts people waiting or traveling to get parts. An effective maintenance storeroom catalog should be maintained to provide a permanent cross-reference of all storeroom items and to serve as a tool for identifying and locating items.

22. Establish the spare parts inventory as the cornerstone for effective maintenance. The proper quantity of spare parts should be on hand, as a part of progressive MRO procurement and internal storeroom controls, to support maintenance excellence. The implementation of CMMS and EAM should include an inventory system that supports the requirements of maintenance and the storeroom. Maintenance inventory should be managed to ensure that the right part is available at the right time without excessive inventory levels. Information from all available sources should be used to determine optimum stock levels. Continuously review stock levels to eliminate excess inventory and obsolete parts. Inventory reductions should be achieved through more partnerships with suppliers and vendors who establish joint commitments to purchase based on responsive service and fast delivery. Positions within MRO material management and procurement should increase in their importance and level of technical knowledge to perform effectively.

23. Establish a safe and productive working environment. Successful maintenance operations should be safe, clean, and orderly because good housekeeping is an indicator of maintenance excellence. Maintenance leaders should provide a working environment where safety is a top priority. This, in turn, sets an example throughout the organization. Good housekeeping practices in maintenance provide the basic foundation for safety awareness.

24. Aggressively support compliance with environmental, health, and safety requirements. Maintenance must provide proactive leadership for and support of regulatory compliance actions in the Future Capable Company. U.S.-based maintenance leaders must maintain the technical knowledge and experience to support compliance with all state and federal regulations under OSHA, USEPA, FDA, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Non- U.S.-based companies and American businesses operating abroad must comply with all standards of the nation in which they are operating. Indoor air quality must receive constant attention to eliminate potential problems.

25. Continuously evaluate, measure, and improve maintenance performance and service. Broad-based measures of maintenance performance and customer service should provide a continuous evaluation of the maintenance program. CMMS and EAM should allow for a broad range of measurement for maintenance performance and service. Investment in maintenance best practices should ensure a valid return on investment. Projected savings should be established, and the results should be validated. Measures should be developed in areas such as labor performance/utilization, compliance to planned repair, and preventive/predictive maintenance schedules, current backlog levels, emergency repair hours, storeroom performance, and asset uptime and availability.

Dr. James A. Tompkins is the president and founder of Tompkins Associates, a leading global consulting, implementation, and integration firm focused on total operations success. Future Capable Company is available from Tompkins Press, 2809 Millbrook Rd., Raleigh, NC 27604. Phone 800-789-1257, fax 919-872-9666, . $24.95.

Requirements Recap

View maintenance
as a priority.

Develop leadership and technical understanding.

Develop PRIDE —
People Really Interested in Developing Excellence in maintenance.

Recognize the
importance of the
maintenance profession.

Increase capability of maintenance personnel.

Initiate craft skills development to enhance human capital.

Develop adaptability and versatility.

Promote teamwork
as a Future Capable Company strategy.

Establish effective maintenance planning and scheduling.

Make maintenance and manufacturing operations a partner-ship for profits.

Develop pride in ownership.

Improve equipment effectiveness.

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