Supply Chain School

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Design for Maintenance

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Best in Class Maintenance is best described as the most efficient combination of Process, Equipment, People and Parts, organised and deployed in a manner that keeps all aspects of a facility in a condition that allows customers and end users to enjoy them without interruption.  Effective maintenance is essential for every business.

Best in class maintenance organisations have a clear mission statement:

“The mission of the maintenance department is to provide reliable physical assets and excellent support for its customers. Maintenance leaders must spend their time leading and inspiring the organisation to continuously improve and achieve more from less.”

In simple terms, facilities are designed and constructed to house assets that provide services. We must ensure the right process, equipment, people, and parts are deployed so the assets we maintain provide uninterrupted service.  Every aspect of our operation must be safe, delivered without compromise and at the cheapest cost.

It is important to maintain facilities so users can enjoy them with:

  • Zero safety concerns or risk to people, buildings or equipment
  • Zero inconvenience caused by breakdowns and underperformance
  • Zero quality concerns and defects

These will lead to happy customers who are more likely to extend relationships, -as reputation is very important when pursuing new business opportunities.

The opposite is true if things go wrong, and the costs associated with poor maintenance can be significant.  Some are visible and it is relatively easy to put a cost on factors such as labour, parts and courier charges for an emergency repair.  In addition external costs such as impacts to the environment (such as pollutant release) can be assessed quantified and could result in capital costs to an organisation.  What is less visible and more difficult to cost is the impact the unavailability, loss of functionality had on productivity, or a potential long term loss in income due to reputational damage.  It is also pertinent to think that poor maintenance standards can have health and safety implications for employees and local communities located in proximity to construction sites and client assets.       

In short, we might be able to calculate the cost to fix, but how do we put a value to the productivity decrease of office workers, if only one out of three lifts are in service and the toilets on floor 2 are out of service for 2 days, or a pollution incident having a subsequent knock on impact to an organisation's share price?

Key terms: Mean Time to Failure or MTF, Maintenance System Structure, Preventive Maintenance or PM, deferred maintenance, corrective maintenance, Computerised Maintenance Management System or CMMS, Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, Morale, Environment  or SQCDME, TIMWOOD