The Road to Asset Management Excellence
Asset management may be defined as “a comprehensive and structured approach to the life cycle management of physical assets as tools for the efficient and effective delivery of the business drivers of an enterprise. “
To achieve excellence, it is important to understand the building blocks that need to be implemented to ensure success. Our model can be seen in the below figure.
In every building block, 2 questions are asked that ultimately deliver value to your organization:
Maintenance Efficiency – How organizationally efficient is the maintenance department in carrying out the maintenance work at best costs?
“Are we optimizing our maintenance dollar?”
Maintenance Effectiveness – How effective is the maintenance strategy in providing plant reliability and achieving output factors?
“Are we performing the right maintenance on the right equipment at the right time to achieve the business objectives?”
Our services provide the evaluation of your current practices and subsequently the training and mentoring of your organization to achieve Asset Management Excellence. This is achieved through the implementation of processes and systems in the excellence pyramid to ensure that your people continually deliver value to your organization.
Setting the Foundation
Over the last 2 decades, many companies have introduced Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) and more recently enterprise wide asset management systems in order to reduce operating expenses through more efficient use of resources.
The foundation utilizes the CMMS as its core building block and requires that a holistic vision be in place to enable the higher elements of the pyramid. This ensures that:
- Maintenance efficiency benefits are realized
- Alignment of performance metrics to business drivers (risk matrix)
- Clear understanding of roles and responsibilities
- Implement the correct work processes to enable effectiveness
- Employee ownership
Maintenance efficiencies are realizable through integrated work processes which should be well defined before any CMMS implementation thus avoiding often costly re-configurations at a latter date. These work process should also define the higher level building blocks that ensure that the necessary data is captured from the start to enable maintenance effectiveness.
Changing the culture from a reactive to a proactive environment typically is not easy especially if people are used to the way it has been. The critical success factor of any improvement program is ensuring that your people take ownership of the initiative. From the early onset, training programs and education should feature strongly and all feedback incorporated into the project plan.
Basic preventive maintenance can be implemented in many formats and typically consists of manufacturer’s recommendations such as lubrication, calibrations, visual inspections and fixed time part replacements. This is a good starting point for a new asset yet it is based on the premise that all equipment perform equally.
The Low Hanging Fruit
Once the foundations are in place it is important to make visible improvements to asset performance, rapidly, that in turn gain employee confidence, morale and deliver value to your organization. This value is found in the forms of:
- Improved maintenance efficiency
- Eliminated repeat failures
- Prediction of failure
- Step plant reliability and availability improvement
- Created momentum for higher levels of the pyramid
Our defect elimination process utilizes a data mining approach of your information systems to determine the best candidates for Root Cause Analysis (RCA). RCA is a way of thinking that is taught that enables people to solve problems effectively thus preventing recurrence.
The RCA process is facilitated and effective solutions are determined. These solutions are then tracked and closely monitored for the benefits made to your organization. The payback for a defect elimination program is often measured in days or weeks due to its rapid rate of return.
A key process that leads to maintenance efficiency is the planning and scheduling of maintenance work. To have an efficient system, the CMMS needs to rely on well organized data that may include prepared job plans, bills of materials, work prioritization and request systems
Scheduling cycles are determined to suit each situation and work packs are prepared to ensure that all planned tasks can be carried out with minimal delay.
There are many forms of condition monitoring that may include vibration monitoring, thermography, oil analysis, thickness measurement and leak detection. Each technique is designed to predict a point in time when failure will occur and relies on the trending and interpretation of data. It is important that the CMMS is configured to capture this data and use it to trigger corrective actions prior to failure is realized.
Take Control of Maintenance
Many organizations may find that a reactive maintenance approach their equipment dictates when work needs to be performed. A well defined maintenance strategy allows you to take control and will deliver maintenance effectiveness to your organization when well implemented:
- Reduction in costs
- Predictability and control
- Risks mitigated and managed
- Statutory regulation compliance
- Insurance premiums reduction
To achieve this, 3 key strategies are often applied, RCM, RBI and SIL studies which are dependent on your asset type and levels of risk, are utilized to evaluate your maintenance strategy.
Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM)
RCM is a structured approach to determining optimal maintenance tasks. This analysis takes into consideration the risks upon failure, the failure characteristics and the cost of maintenance to evaluate whether a task is required or not.
RCM originated in 1978 from a study performed by Nowlan & Heap for United Airlines in the US due to growing concerns of aircraft reliability. In the early 1990’s it was applied to industry as RCM 2 by John Moubray which revolutionized modern maintenance practices.
Safety Integrity Level (SIL)
SIL studies specify the requirements for availability of instrumented protection systems. Risk is reduced to a tolerable level by applying safety functions that may include further redundancies levels or function testing at set intervals.
The methodology is based upon IEC 61508/61511 – Functional Safety of Electrical/Electronic/Programmable Systems and more recently has become part of standards ANSI/ISA 84.
Risk Based Inspection (RBI)
RBI is the use of risk assessment to plan, justify and aid in the interpretation of results from static equipment inspection, testing and monitoring. The equipment corrosion mechanisms are defined and the process consequences are evaluated to establish a risk ranking to prioritize all inspection effort.
This methodology is well defined through API581 – Risk Based Inspection Base Resource Document.
Optimize Plant Availability
Once the maintenance strategy has been determined, the asset can then be optimized to maximize operational throughput by aligning these plans and indentifying their impact on production and current equipment configurations. This will provide value through:
- Identify bottlenecks
- Increase availability of new or existing units
- Reducing defects during design
- Optimize spare part holding in inventory
- Reduce downtime necessary to perform maintenance activities
A common technique to optimize plant availability and capacity is through the construction of Reliability Block Diagrams(RBD)
Data captured from your CMMS is readily converted to meaning full parameters that can be simulated over a pre-determined lifetime as RBD models to predict asset performance over multiple types of scenarios.
To further aid in the efficiency of the maintenance workflow, spare part optimization becomes an integral part. It is essential that the parts on hand be adequate to meet the needs of all work in progress and emergencies, so that each maintenance function be fully served, not too many, not too few.
Slow-moving spares are generally responsible for a large part of the inventory value of any organisation. They tend to be expensive and, although only accounting for perhaps 20% of the inventory items, they often represent 60-80% of the inventory capital tied up.
The optimal spares holding level will minimize the amount of unnecessary procurement and reduce excessive inventory space.
In turn, not holding the part can also increase the risk exponentially for critical equipment that may cause outage for extended periods.
Plan for the Future
Life Cycle Cost (LCC) analysis is an economic method of evaluating an asset in which all costs arising from its acquisition, ownership, operation, maintenance and disposal are considered. The objective of LCC is generally to find the most cost effective option from a series of alternatives to ensure:
- Asset lifetime costs are minimized
- Equipment replaced at end of life
- Best operating strategies selected
- Desired asset reliability achieved
Maintenance expenditure can account for many times the initial cost of the asset. Although an asset may be constructed with a design life of 30 years, in reality it may possibly perform well beyond this design life.
For assets like these a balanced view between maintenance strategies and renewal/rehabilitation is required. The appropriateness of the maintenance strategy must be questioned, the point of intervention for renewal must be challenged.
Enterprise Reliability Portals are advanced integrated solutions that connect reliability tools with your CMMS to provide a real time environment for engineers to analyze and monitor plant performance. They enable:
- Decisions made based on real data
- Integration to CMMS
- Use of data optimized
- Elimination of manual data entry
- Weibull analysis of maintenance history
We realize that over the life of an asset, many things change that may include, physical condition, operating parameters, functional requirements and also reliability improvements implemented.
It is essential that the maintenance strategy become a dynamic part of the business by integrating it with the CMMS and reliability decision making tools along with robust work processes that create continuous improvement and become a living program.