Fine Tuning Maintenance Effort

One of the biggest challenges in any maintenance environment is the optimum use of resources, particularly the manpower resources. We may have planned for certain jobs to be done during each man-shift, but find that some of them have not been attempted and a few have been left half way through. Some amount of time get wasted too on account of technicians:

  •  Heading back to the stores for parts, consumables and special tools.
  • Waiting for support equipment such as platform trucks, boom lifts etc.
  • Waiting for the equipment / system to be maintained to be handed over to them to start work. In some cases, “LOTO” may impact more than the specific equipment to be worked on and clearance may not be given for work to commence.
  • Waiting for different craftsmen to come and do their planned work.
  • Unsafe conditions prevailing in the area to be worked on that needs to be set right before commencing work.
  • Being called in to attend to other urgent unplanned work.

Such interruptions cause avoidable delays in completing planned jobs. This could have a snowball effect with large number of planned job accumulating.

So, what do we do? How do we improve the efficacy and efficiency of PM or PdM processes and improve productivity of maintenance personnel?

  •  Identify and document all planned jobs that need to be done over a period of time. Detailed planning effort is required.
  • Prioritise the work. Follow an analysis akin to VED (Vital Essential Desirable) system.
  • Assign the tasks to various technician groups as per craft requirement, shift in which the job is to be done and availability of personnel. This would reduce the ambiguity on “Who” is to do “What” and “When”.
  • Develop a work structure and culture such that availability of all resources are ascertained before the work plan is promulgated. Check for stores items availability, special tools availability and condition, qualified technicians and their shift schedule etc.
  • Ensure that support equipment such as platform trucks to move heavy stores, boom / scissor lifts to access equipment located at heights are available with authorised / licensed drivers. This may require forward planning and liaisoning with other departments.
  • Ensure that resources such as material / special tools required for a job, but not available are procured in time and kept ready for use.
  • Assess impact on the total system if work on some equipment or part of a system is planned. Liaise with production / operations group / internal clients to schedule such jobs with a consensus view to reduce the impact on production or total system availability. At times, total shut down of plant / services may also be necessary.
  • Re-assign shift duties to get the right people together.
  • Safety is of prime importance. Periodic safety audit and risk assessment for each job will help in this aspect. Proactive safety inspection before starting a job will help in avoiding hold up in this regard.
  • Structure the work group with a separate team to tackle emergency and break down repair work. This may be tough to achieve with the limited manpower resources. Such a set up would reduce the instances of planned jobs getting sidelined due to emergency work.

Analysis of various reasons given below will also help in correcting the work plans and optimising maintenance efforts:

  •  Wrench time spent on planned versus unplanned work.
  • Reasons for work being kept on hold.
  • Reasons for recurring defects.
  • Frequently used repair methods for various defects.
  • Frequently reported deficiencies and complaints.
  • Equipments / systems that fail regularly.
  • Expenditure towards maintenance of various equipment and systems.

With legacy systems such as pen and paper log books, spread sheet records etc, the data availability for ready use is limited.

This is where a good CMMS suite comes in. A system such as MPulse CMMS / EAM has evolved to take in all the good maintenance practices from a large variety of industries and other users. The computerisation makes the data capture easier and the analysis meaningful.

Log on to to get to know more about CMMS / EAM suites.

Having a strong committed core team to build the maintenance system is essential to begin with. A “Top-down” approach in the initial setting up phase followed by a “Contributory” approach after the system matures are likely to get maximum benefits.