While much effort in the process industries is placed on predictive maintenance, reactive maintenance is often a priority for managers. Bryan Christiansen of Limble CMMS offers this guide for getting things right…
Every maintenance manager struggles with balancing resources against demands. A manager’s life is filled with juggling operational variables such as resources and inventories against workload, schedules, plant demands, and costs.
But, nowhere does an activity hit the budgetary bottom-line harder than run-to-failure. Unplanned, emergency repairs not only add costs to managing a maintenance operation, but also reduce the life of plant equipment, increases capital and labour costs, and increases environmental and safety risks.
To manage reactive maintenance effectively, every manager should develop an emergency repair management strategy. Below are six essential steps which can be undertaken to set up and manage emergency maintenance tasks. Other strategy elements can be incorporated based on specific needs but the following six form the core requirements.
List reactively maintained equipment
Not all equipment is equal. Some equipment is critical to plant production and customer service. Other equipment may rarely be used or be redundant. Prepare a list of equipment that doesn’t “deserve” to be included in PM’s and that you can manage on a ‘run-to-failure’ basis. The list should include non-critical, redundant, or seldom used equipment.
Ensure reactive maintenance is no more than 15% of total maintenance
Once a list of reactively maintained equipment is completed, estimate the required reactive maintenance workload. This reactive work should not exceed 15% of the total maintenance workload.
Any plant not operating within this tolerance should develop and implement a program to move away from reactive maintenance towards preventive and predictive programs. A good CMMS system can be an excellent tool for not only identifying critical equipment and problem areas, but also setting up and running proactive maintenance programs.
Nowhere does an activity hit the budgetary bottom-line harder than run-to-failure
Develop, maintain, and track KPIs
To properly manage something, it has to be measured. This is especially true for managing complex maintenance operations. Important KPIs should be developed to monitor the effectiveness of both preventive maintenance and reactive maintenance programs. KPI’s, such as mean time between failures, mean time to repair, productivity, planned downtime or product quality should be tracked and analysed to identify positive and negative trends.
Develop formal procedures for quick response emergency repairs
When an unexpected equipment failure occurs, a few of the costliest outcomes are the disorganisation and disruption these emergencies cause within the department. Invariably, these interruptions cause extra costs and negatively impact budgets.
A well-managed maintenance organisation should have formal procedures in place to use when an emergency arises. Designating who, when, and how a person or group who will carry out reactive tasks allows the remainder of the organisation to continue to function without major disruptions.
Ensure availability of ample stand-by manpower to cover emergencies
One thing certain in any maintenance operation is that there will be emergency repairs, and these will occur at unexpected times. A reactive maintenance strategy should acknowledge this reality and build ample stand-by resources into the budget and schedule.
Maintaining an inventory of additional spares may also be needed to ensure reactive repair work proceeds smoothly and without unnecessary delays.
Manage preventative maintenance to ensure PM tasks are completed within 10% of plan
Preventative maintenance is designed to keep critical pieces of equipment running and to avoid costly downtime in production. If the actual PM maintenance varies to a large extent from the planned schedule, emergency breakdown may result. The time of completion of preventative maintenance tasks should match the planned completions times closely.
Reactive maintenance is not only a reality in most plants but in almost every case, it is a requirement. Since emergencies are unpredictable, having a structured and formal method of dealing with them is critical
For purposes of developing a reactive maintenance strategy, deviation of actual task completion dates from planned should not exceed +/- 10%. For example, if a preventative maintenance item is scheduled to occur every 50 days, the actual maintenance should be performed within +/- 5 days of the scheduled time. Tracking this measure helps ensure reactive maintenance is held to a minimum.
Not planning for failure is planning to fail: Reactive maintenance is not only a reality in most plants but in almost every case, it is a requirement. Since emergencies are unpredictable, having a structured and formal method of dealing with them is critical in today’s competitive world. An effective and well-managed reactive maintenance approach requires planning and documenting a strategy as well as formal procedures.
Managers must address and control reactive maintenance activities to minimize costs, downtime, and interruptions. The six steps listed above are an excellent first step to analysing and establishing a formal reactive maintenance strategy. Managing emergency repairs to reduce disruptions and eliminate their added costs are vital to building an effective maintenance organisation.
Even if you are heavily relying on reactive maintenance, nothing is stopping you to be organised about it.
Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO of Limble CMMS