Planned Maintenance

Contracted (Outsourced) Planned Maintenance: How to Convince Your Client That Planned Maintenance Is Paramount

Question: Say you provide maintenance services for companies with no in-house maintenance plans. But you seem not to be maintaining, but instead repairing and the putting out of fires. Some of your clients are notorious for running equipment into the ground. What is the mind set is of companies like this? And how does one impress on the customer the importance of a monthly (or otherwise scheduled) maintenance program?


  • Tell them about the bottom line: money. Talk about increases in production output and money saved from buying components or new equipment damaged when the item failed due to neglect if they stop running to failure. They would probably save on paying overtime to their maintainers as well with compliments.

  • Recording the equipment failures, down time, cost of repairs etc. Give yourself some ammunition to show them the actual cost of their downtime.

  • A monthly maintenance program, or a maintenance program for the life of the asset? A plant is still being "run down" due to short-sighted approaches and not acknowledging long interval failure modes, or the accumulative cost consequences of assets under our control for the next 20 to 30 years.

    All analysis done when assessing applicable risk-based maintenance tasks should be based on the expected life of the function and even this turkey will move due to internal and external factors.

    The solution lies in training the management structures. Train the engineering resources extensively, but until you turn the perceptions and understanding of the stake (=$)-holders, you will not achieve anything.

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Question: Some companies apply planned maintenance to some small- and medium-sized assets. Such an approach is not practical for so many reasons. If in certain project you have 100 heater exchanges, is it profitable to perform PM on it? What is the level or the limiting factors for such cases? May be best to segregate all asset according to their importance, location and sizes/capital cost.


  • When you segregate assets by "importance" you will likely find some small assets in the "important" group. PM on important assets regardless of "size" is suggested here. Do not limit importance to capital cost. As for the cost-to-benefit ratio of PM on 100 heat exchangers, if they have a service life which can be affected by PM, then you have an economy-of-scale with such a high number of assets. Doing the math for a simple business case should not be difficult. Again, how "important" is the most important of the heat exchangers or the heat exchangers collectively? Is it better to run to failure (at what cost) or to extend the life (at what cost to benefit)through PM. Of course if any of the heat exchangers are critical to safety of process/production flow, what is the value of continued operation?

  • If you don't capture and report on total cost of maintenance, you are shooting yourself in the foot. It is of utmost importance to record any lost productivity cost element (labor, material, equipment, energy and especially lost productive time). After all, this is the reason why the company was established initially, to exploit this opportunity.
    This is unfortunately not the only component, you must also be able to differentiate which of these cost contributions were due to the investment in maintenance, as opposed to maintenance negligence. We should use the same financial evaluation tools to justify maintenance investment as we've used to justify the existence of the company. If you don't invest, you don't get the returns. Amazingly, some managers and accountants do get it in the end. The issue is only if their KPI's are in support of these long term goals also in support of sustainability and governance on top of financial benefits.

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With respect to Key Performance Indicators (KPI's), which are how an organization defines and measures progress toward its goals, the follwoing are important parameters that has to be monitored with respect to Equipment:

  • Equipment Maintenance Cost
  • MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure)
  • MTTR (Mean time to Repair)
  • Availability (Repeat of above two in simpler form - Availability is better projectable)

For optimizing the above mentioned functions we need Equipment-Failure Recording, which can be analyzed, to reach an optimal solution using any problem-solving tool.