Tag Archives: maintenance improvements

Taking on Root Cause Analysis with Preventive Maintenance Software

Preventive Maintenance Software Analysis

Whenever an organization has a major failure of any sort, the top priority is to recover from the immediate damage or problems. From there, the next step is to keep it from ever happening again. Root cause analysis is a vital corrective step, allowing you to identify where losses are taking place and how they can be mitigated to improve equipment reliability and performance.

Root cause analysis is a maintenance troubleshooting method that helps organizations identify and control the systemic causes of a maintenance problem. When you experience a problem, you have to start by asking why the problem occurred. You repeat this process until you uncover the underlying cause. Toyota made the “5 Whys” method of root cause analysis famous. This method involves asking, “Why did this happen?” repeatedly until the cause is determined. Then you can come up with a long-term corrective action that will fix the underlying issue.

It’s important to go beyond the lowest level root cause because you could experience similar breakdowns again in the future. A string of failures usually leads to the problem, so it’s necessary to find a solution at each level of a root cause analysis.

Data is the Key

In order to conduct an effective root cause analysis, data is vital. Indeed, the more data that is available from an unbiased source, the better the chances of identifying the appropriate root cause of any failure. Unfortunately, finding an unbiased source of data can be problematic, as all people are by definition biased from their experiences and perspective.

In the context of asset failure, this is where preventive maintenance software becomes invaluable. All the relevant data for a given asset or class of assets is an ad hoc report away. If it has been utilized properly, the preventive maintenance software will contain a complete history of the asset, as well as detail the maintenance that should have been completed on the asset, according to both industry standards and/or manufacturer suggestions. The information contained in a CMMS system can be leveraged to carry out a root cause analysis. The solution that results can then form part of the equipment knowledge base.

Providing a Platform for Informed Decision Making

The end goal of any root cause analysis is to identify the changes that need to be made. These changes generally flow into one or more of the following categories: people, processes, and technology.

  • People: It is possible that the appropriate processes were established to prevent this type of failure, and that the technology was correctly identifying steps to prevent the failure, but that one or more individuals did not follow through on the correct actions.
  • Processes: Conversely, the data provided from the preventive maintenance software could point out a flaw in the processes associated with preventive maintenance. For example, the software could exclude the maintenance profiles for certain asset classes, or maintenance technicians may be instructed to only follow the maintenance processes identified by the software instead of also applying their expertise.
  • Technology: While any CMMS software is only as good as the data entered into it, it is also possible that the preventive maintenance software was not functioning properly. Perhaps integration across the various systems was incorrectly applied, or your organization has simply outgrown the software.

The effectiveness of root cause analysis largely depends on the amount of time spent preparing for it by carrying out a thorough investigation, collecting sufficient evidence, identifying the correct team members, and properly planning a root cause analysis meeting with the right people involved. It is of utmost importance to gather and analyze all relevant data in order to determine which of these factors played a part in the failure.

Perform Root Cause Analysis with the Help of Preventive Maintenance Software

If you are looking to implement maintenance software in your organization, DPSI can help. We have been in the industry for nearly 30 years and have over 50,000 satisfied users in 50 countries.

Can Maintenance People be "Happy"?

I’ve been working in the maintenance industry for the past 22 years.  My first foray into this mechanized world of grease, wrenches, and safety shutoffs happened immediately after graduating as a mechanical engineer in the late 1980’s.

Since then I have migrated into the world of maintenance management consulting.  This journey succeeded due to my learning maintenance software early on (DOS, remember that?), applying its power to my real world surroundings, and showing results to upper management with pretty pie charts and numbers that made them smile.

So when the creators of this CMMS blog asked me for advice on how it should look, I advised them to somehow show people that maintenance professionals can also smile, and be  happy, just like those upper management people who are easily dazzled by pie charts and excellent numbers.

So they took my advice and made the first blog branding logo a “dancing maintenance guy”.

You can watch this happy dude dancing all day long at the top right corner of this blog.  Sure, it can be puzzling to see him rockin’ that tool belt.  Does such a creature actually exist?  Is there anything besides the lunch buzzer or breaking away from work that really makes a maintenance technician happy?  And what about their supervisors and managers?  Ever see them smile (let alone dance)?

By our nature, maintenance people are motivated by a challenge to solve technical, mechanical, electrical issues.  Fix things.  And fix them well.

Motivation, of course, is to feel that rush of accomplishment (which can lead to a smile, and when it happens repeatedly, will certainly lead to a quick jig).

Here is how it can work:

The maintenance team will many times need to troubleshoot an issue to find the root cause.  Other times, the cause is pretty obvious.  In either case, the maintenance team will only need a few simple things to achieve  that goal to “fix it well”.

  • We need spare parts.
  • We need authority to make decisions that help speed the process.
  • We need efficient access to information to help define the problem clearly (equipment specifications, repair history, backup plans, safety plans, troubleshooting guides).

So, I hate to state the obvious, but knowing that all we need are these (and possibly a few other simple items) to help us stay on track and be motivated, wouldn’t you think that the answer is yes, happiness can be achieved, and maintained.  All we need is a simple process that is understood and followed by the whole team.

However, companies tend to under-support their maintenance staff, which is not only a problem with less dancing, but also lower productivity overall.

  1. Start with looking at managing all your maintenance data with a maintenance software system.
  2. Next, go through every single minute of a typical day and determine how you can reach the perfect world of all issues getting fixed, and less issues coming up (preventive maintenance).
  3. Then give the technicians the chance to take ownership of success and failure.

Next time you see a frowning maintenance person, realize that turning that frown upside down, and possibly even seeing them dance, is achievable and probably desirable.  Find out what’s missing.

If you feel that seeing your people dance is unachievable, here is another place to learn about resources available to you: EAM University

CMMS Evaluation, Selection and Cost Justification Webinar

Evaluation, Selection and Justification of CMMS

Recently, eMaint Enterprises invited Ralph “Pete” Peters, President of Maintenance Excellence Institute, to deliver a Free Best Practices Webinar on evaluating and cost justifying a CMMS. Ralph drew from a real life case study that featured Argentina’s largest steel maker, SIDERAR, to document the CMMS evaluation/selection process as well as projected benefits and ROI.

Ralph began by outlining the overall strategy for gaining maximum value from a CMMS:

  1. Determine the true need for CMMS
  2. Determine maintenance best practices
  3. The CMMS evaluation and selection process
  4. Clearly defining CMMS functional requirements
  5. Commitment to maintenance Best Practice implementation
  6. Use the CMMS implementation process to measure your progress.

To evaluate and compare CMMS systems, each organization must consider 5 factors:

  • Functional Requirements
  • Technical Requirements
  • Software Costs
  • Implemenation/Support
  • Qualitative Factors

After the selection and evaluation process, it is vital to cost justify the implementation of a CMMS with four important measures:

  • Craft Productivity Improvement
  • MRO Inventory Reduction
  • Value of increased Uptime/Capactiy
  • Major Projects completed sooner

However, it is always important to remember that one can not simply install a CMMS and expect resuslts, best practices must also be implemented and followed company-wide.

To dig deeper into the evaluation, selection and justification of CMMS, click here to watch the recording of the above webinar.

To view other best practice webinars click here.

Retailers Can Defy Energy Costs

Retailers are just like you and me when it comes to monitoring and reducing energy consumption. We’re always looking for ways to cut energy costs and improve energy efficiency in our homes. However, generally unlike our homes, lighting in commercial buildings is the largest energy drain and can account for over 35% of a business’ energy use. That means any reduction in their energy costs can amount to a big boost to the bottom line.

To help stop eroding profit margins, many retailers are taking a new approach to improve asset operating performance: global asset sustainability. By monitoring and managing assets’ energy consumption, retailers can get a better handle on what assets consume the most energy and begin to control and reduce energy waste to improve operating, financial, and environmental performance.

In this article from Professional Retail Store magazine, I explain how retailers can implement energy intelligence into your asset management strategy and reduce your carbon footprint, become more energy efficient, and ultimately impact profits.

What are you doing to reduce energy consumption? What programs do you have in place to manage your assets’ energy usage?

As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.

Posted by Rod Ellsworth, Vice President of Global Asset Sustainability, Infor

Maintenance KPI’s – An easy way to define yours

I’ve worked in the plant maintenance industry for years.  How did KPI’s look in those days? Here is an example KPI in 1988: “Keep the machines running”.

Fresh out of engineering school and thrown into the corporate engine, my life was all about keeping the conveyor belts running.  That was the priority (and still is, but said differently) at United Parcel Service so that little Jimmy would get his red wagon in time for Christmas.   Although we had no clue that they had a name (KPIs), here was our mission during the UPS days:

  • Keep the belts running
  • Get your PM’s done
  • Anything stopped for 15 minutes was a breakdown
  • Make sure mechanics knew how to make a repair the UPS way
  • That is..because every action that a mechanic took was measured using a DOS program built by UPS (called PEMMS)

Now UPS was way ahead of their time with work measurement, starting, of course, among the fleet delivery drivers.  They moved that successful approach to every aspect of the business, including maintenance.

Now the world is catching up to such great role models like UPS.  However, the aspect of defining KPI’s has still been somewhat behind the curve.  KPIs can be a mystery unless you happen to be a maintenance professional with enough hours available in the day for reading all the great maintenance measurement books available.  Show me one of those people and I will immediately tell you that that person is a consultant.  (No offense to the great consultants.  I am guilty as charged)

Once again the Internet is bailing us out by saving a ton of time and making KPI definitions easier to grasp and define (without having to read a novel then construct a maintenance business plan, etc).

Here is example KPI where you can see the industry baseline then work your own numbers by taking a survey: Preventative maintenance hours as a percentage of total maintenance hours

CMMS = Could Mean My Salary

I recently spent some time helping a well-known yogurt manufacturer improve their visibility into their daily maintenance process.  Their CMMS product is 10 years old, not updated with the correct patches, and the reporting software is equally as ancient.

The manager in charge of maintenance performance seemed less stressed this time as compared to last.  During my first visit he was newly appointed as the person who would take their CMMS and revamp the plant maintenance performance within a few months.  I’ve seen that type of pressure placed on people before.  So many times, in fact, that I have a name for it….CMMS (could mean my salary).  Because if this guy fails, he is probably out of a job.

So of course their is a wonderful transference of that same pressure onto the consultant who the plant was so kind as to bring in and help the guy with a CMMS on his forehead.  “Could Mean My Salary”, in case you forgot.

Well this yogurt man had actually taken that old CMMS and incorporated the changes we had identified during the first visit.  So needless to say he was much more relaxed, knowing that his upper management team believed in him (and me…through transference).

To make a long story short, and then sum up my point, this latest visit proved to be successful as we took old reporting software and used it to improve maintenance processes weaved throughout an equally rickety CMMS product.  More specifically, we eliminated 8 labor hours per week that were previously “empty” labor hours spent transferring data from the CMMS to Excel then comparing to a production schedule, etc.

We took a single report and with prompts made it variable enough to manage all scenarios.  So the 8 hours transferring data was replaced with a single report that could be launched at any time to pull the required information LIVE.

The Point?  CMMS either “could” mean your salary, or it can also “justify” your salary and make it grow.  And having the latest, greatest CMMS system is not a guarantee or precursor to success.  It’s more about the basic concepts of “minimal touch” information gathering and maintenance process efficiency.  If you want to learn more, email me directly: publish@eamuniversity.com

Take Small CMMS Bites

As our training staff combs through North America teaching folks how to use MP2 CMMS Software I can’t help but notice a pattern of success we are teaching that I feel will benefit folks using any type of CMMS Software.

The advice I have to share is succinctly stated in the title of this post:  Take Small CMMS Bites.  And that means don’t try to pull off a CMMS project where everything is included at the outset.

In fact, make a small manageable plan, such as scoping out the entry of all PM’s into the CMMS system using your equipment manuals.  Identify the equipment, locate the manuals, identify your resources for data entry, THEN cut all that way down again.  Instead of entering PM’s for ALL your equipment, just choose 5 pieces of equipment for your first go-round.  Take all your air compressors, for example, plus two HVAC units, and enter the PM details as recommended by the manufacturer of each.

The result will be a manageable scope of work whereby you will identify all the hurdles on a smaller scale, find solutions to get past those hurdles, and find your team succeeding at this first…small…bite, before taking the next.

Managing IT Assets with CMMS

I’ve talked with more than one client recently who had this idea, which prompted me to ask around and see if there is a trend going recently that might warrant some exposure:  The burden of tracking IT assets (computers, servers, hardware and related serial numbers, peripherals, components, etc) is being handled at some companies using CMMS.  Sure, there are specific products designed for this IT asset management process, yet CMMS was not originally intended for that use.  My questions are where do systems fall down when compared to say, the IBM version specifically made for IT Asset Management?  If the fallbacks are few, it seems the dollar savings might be large if one can utilize an existing CMMS compared to obtaining a new, separate ITAM system.

2 Huge Reasons to Invest in CMMS Software during a Recession

These days many companies are scaling back on expenditures of any kind. And, why not? It just makes sense. Obviously, the severe economic downturn has impacted organizations across the United States and the Globe. Capital conservation has become the rule and cutbacks are inevitable. Yet, this is the just the kind of environment that completely justifies investment in Computerized Maintenance Management Software for organizations seeking to lower costs and protect vital plant and equipment assets. That’s your responsibility, right? 

1 – Immediately Lower Operational Costs – Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) Software provides an essential tool for managers working aggressively working to decrease downtime, inventory, material and contractor costs. Here’s how: 

Less DowntimeSimple: Decreased downtime means increased production.  A 1% improvement in productivity has 10 times the positive impact than a 1% reduction in costs. Imagine the gain in a production facility running 24 hours per day:  A conservative estimated gain of 24 hours of production per year pours thousands of dollars to the bottom line.  Savings estimate: Downtime cost of $2,500/Hour x 24 Hours = $60,000 annual profit increase. 

Reduced Inventory Elementary: Asset maintenance management allows you purchase inventory and parts when you need them instead of relying on guesswork. Without CMMS Software, managers might not know what is in their stockroom, can’t find what they need and, frequently end up buying parts they already have. Of course, CMMS Software allows you to lookup parts, check stock and order only as needed. Savings estimate: Reducing an $800,000 inventory just 10% with a 10% interest rate results in an annual savings of over $8,000 in an annual profit increase. 

Eliminate Contractor CostsSmart: Managed maintenance keeps repairs in-house using a more efficient work crew. CMMS Software focuses crew time on work orders designed to keep the plant moving. Result? No maintenance logjams requiring expensive contractor time. This outcome creates not only a savings on labor but also a savings on parts! Savings estimate: Using a realistic 10% annual reduction in labor and material costs on a budget of $680,000 you return another $68,000 to the bottom line.

2 – Increase Maintenance Productivity Right Now – Better work planning and scheduling maximizes crew efficiency while focusing crew time on work orders designed to keep the plant moving.  Productivity increases of 10% to 20% using modern CMMS Software are standard. Maintenance managers know that saving just 60 minutes (12.5%) per day for each worker in a six-person crew at a $30/hr labor rate for 250 days/year can preserve $45,000 annually for the organization. 

When implemented properly, a Computerized Maintenance Management System using CMMS Software can be a huge cost and time saving addition to your organization’s bottom line. Isn’t that what your objective is?  

Sure, CMMS Software costs money.

Our company, MAPCON Technologies, Inc. can get you started for $495. In fact, you can download and evaluate MAPCON’s CMMS Software free for 30 days.

Realistically, though most sizable organizations invest several thousand dollars to get properly setup and have authorized personnel trained up.

But, with a prudently estimated return-on-investment (ROI) of over 1000% (yes, one thousand percent!), your CMMS Software investment is intelligent, wise and – urgent!

   Author: 

Mapcon Technologies, Inc.
8665 Harbach Blvd., Suite B
Clive, Iowa 50325
Tel  1.800.922.4336
Email sales@mapcon.com
Website: http://www.mapcon.com/US-EN/CMMS-Software-Products

CMMS is only a "piece" of Maintenance Process Improvements

I do quite a bit of training on MP2 CMMS across North America.  As I visit sites and work with maintenance teams, there are some similaritieis worth sharing.  Regardless of whether the maintenance business I am working with is tasked to maintain assets within either Manufacturing or Facilities, the underlying challenges remain similar.

My point today is to stress that maintenance improvements can be realized WAY before CMMS is installed and configured.  In fact, without some diligent planning before a CMMS is purchased and implemented, there is a pretty good chance you won’t have a clue HOW to configure the CMMS system you just dropped hard-earned budget dollars into.

Here are some simple steps to maintenance improvements (at a high level):

  • Define current maintenance processes
  • Brainstorm ideas on how to improve current maintenance processes
  • Draw up a plan for future maintenance processes
  • Evaluate and purchase a CMMS that will serve as a tool with all the bells and whistles required to meet your future maintenance processes
  • Configure the new CMMS to match your new maintenance processes
  • Set a timetable to transition into the new maintenance processes

These steps are simplified and presented at a high level to highlight my point that CMMS is only part of the required process.

If you would like to learn more, please feel free to visit us at www.mp2training.com