How To Transition Asset Management Programs From Reactive To Proactive

by Frank Rath, program director, Maintenance Management Certificate

I often get asked, “How can we change from a completely reactive maintenance program–where all we do is fix assets that keep breaking down and going out to fix machine problems–to a reliability based program?”

Recently, I visited three manufacturers experiencing this situation. These organizations—a forging company, a foundry, and an outdoor products company—were all in “firefighting mode” 100% of the time. As a result, they all had low asset uptime, long order fulfillment lead times, and poor on-time delivery to customers with a lot of work in process.

Bottom line: They were all overwhelmed, and keeping up with breakdowns was too much. But how could they transition from their reactive approach to a proactive one?

The Transition: First Steps

The first step is deciding where to begin. You can’t focus on all of your assets—that’s too big of a task. Rather, start with the assets that deliver the best results.

From here, you can:

1. Create a list of all your assets.

2. Perform a Criticality Analysis (CA) on those assets. There are many tools out there to help you do it, including one from Life Cycle Engineering. Otherwise, consider taking a course from UW Engineering Professional Development, as we teach CA in the Maintenance Management Certificate program.

3. For the assets you identified as most important or most critical, you need to know how often and when they break down. You also need to identify why they break down, and what type of repair is needed.

Next: The FMEA Focus

You might be able to get this information out of your Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), but probably not easily. You could tap into your experts for their knowledge using Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) to systematically extract asset knowledge from your maintenance team and key operators.

The focus of your FMEA should be on:

1. Key assets’ functions or maintenance requirements

2. How maintenance fails to meet those requirements or maintain those functions (failure modes)

3. How severe these failure modes could be in terms of safety, environmental regulations or loss of production

4. The causes of those failure modes

5. What you are currently doing to ensure that you are preventing these causes or detecting the asset failures prior to catastrophic failure

6. Based on your current maintenance practices – an estimation of the risk

  • that the failure mode occurs (1 not likely to 10 very likely),
  • the likelihood of detecting the failure before anything serious happens (1 always detect it to 10 never detect it) and
  • the severity of the failure mode (1 nothing happens to 10 death or injury).

Then, calculate the overall risk of failure by multiplying the individual ranking together to come up with a Risk Priority Number (RPN) for each failure mode/cause combination. If you are interested in receiving a Asset FMEA spreadsheet please get in touch with me and I will send it to you. Your complete FMEA will give you a picture of where your current maintenance practices are weakest for each asset and should lead your team to develop improvements in those areas.The FMEA and the process of completing it will give you a road map to optimize your maintenance practices (including Preventive Maintenance, Predictive Maintenance and your MRO spares program).

Find Out More

Several of our Maintenance Management Certificate courses will help you learn about collecting and using data, and information to transform your maintenance program into a reliability-based one. Find out more about these Maintenance Management Certificate courses here.

Transitioning to a Proactive Maintenance Program: Next Steps 

Check out my latest article about how you can ensure your proactive maintenance program is here to stay.


Related Courses

Reliability-Centered Maintenance

September 24, 2019 + 1 Upcoming Date

Planning and Scheduling Maintenance Operations

October 9, 2019 + 1 Upcoming Date

FMEA and RCA for Maintenance and Reliability

October 23, 2019

How Effective is Your Maintenance Management Program?

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