ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS / Post date: 1 March 2013
This is the second in a series of articles discussing The Maintenance Journey, which is the progression a company makes on its path to become more efficient and to reduce costs by improving its maintenance practices over time. The first article in this series introduced this concept and discussed issues of change, the required commitment to persevere during difficult times, and the rewards that await the disciplined traveler.
The next step is to take a deeper look at each of the five stages and define the main drivers, rewards and behaviors that are typical of each. After each stage is outlined, we’ll then discuss ways of progressing from one stage to the next.
The first stage of the The Maintenance Journey is Regressive. An identifier of a company at the Regressive stage is that it has no preventative maintenance program. The main Reward for this stage is short-term savings. Because this type of company is focused on spending as little as possible, it fails to see how this behavior drives costs higher in succeeding months.
The main Driver for this stage is to meet the budget, and usually the budget does not include anything for preventive maintenance. Any work performed on equipment is done after the machine has failed and is unable to continue operating. Repairs are likely to be the bare minimum required to get the machine back into service and no thought is given toward the prevention of reoccurring failures. The main Behavior seen at this first stage is one of decay, as most equipment is getting worse every each day of operation.
The second stage of the journey is Reactive. An identifier of a company at this stage is that it is constantly putting out fires; meaning it reacts to problems after they occur, and never acts proactively to prevent failures. The company at this stage has a maintenance team, but the team spends much of it’s time repairing downed equipment; and preventive maintenance gets a lower priority.
The Reactive maintenance team is typically poorly trained, unaware of industry best practices, and often behind on their maintenance schedule. One Reward that drives this behavior is the recognition that the maintenance team receives from operations as they “come to the rescue” to make emergency repairs on downed equipment. These are the “Overtime Heroes,” who are rewarded for performing amazing feats to get equipment back into operation – often regardless of the cost. While this drives the self esteem of the Overtime Heroes, this also reinforces the behaviors that keep a company at this stage.
The main Driver for this stage is Breakdowns; the more frequent the breakdowns, the more the Overtime Heroes are rewarded for performing emergency repairs, and the more valuable they appear to the company. And the main Behavior for this stage is Responding instead of acting proactively to prevent future failures.
So that is a description of the first two stages on The Maintenance Journey. In the next edition of HD Focus, we will take a look at the next stages of the journey and identify the main Drivers, Rewards and Behaviors.