Measuring what did not happen.

A single stage 2 MeV linear Van de Graaff part...

The challenges facing the business of Reliability Engineering & Maintenance Management are both extremely complicated and challenging. That is why it is very important to measure what did not happen in a proactive environment.

Reliability Engineering & Maintenance Management is big business in today’s industrial environment. The temptation for management to cost cut in these areas are there and they are real. If Maintenance Management can not quantifiably show results from proactive initiatives, like condition monitoring for example, then those activities are under a big risk to be cancelled.

The reason for this factor of maintenance activities to be cut out is simple, for management looking at these activities without understanding them fully see it as a “nice to have” feature of maintenance and it is not contributing with addressing the current issues, break downs etc. so to them this is a great move to get added resources to focus on the break downs that are facing them ever more increasingly because of maybe previous cost cutting.

Cost cutting in maintenance usually also has a rather lagging response time, if management is cost cutting extensively in maintenance activities the true results of that often do not appear until even 3 years after the initial decision.

To address this issue Maintenance Management needs to focus hard on measuring what did not happen because proactive initiatives prevented the issues. Make agreements with production on equipment downtime, for example if a specific pump will brake down during production it will cost X$ per hour. If it happens unexpectedly it will take Xhours to repair, however if the failure is detected in time and repair is planned there will be no unexpected downtime.

In PAS 55-1:2008, 4.6.1 Performance and condition monitoring, this issue is addressed and hopefully will be addressed even better in ISO55000. There are also harmonized KPI’s that focus on this issue developed by SMRP and EFNMS.

Once quantities KPI’s have been set in place and maintenance has the ammunition to fight against the dangerous cost cutting initiatives of management then maintenance can also claim it’s rightful place as a profit contributor!

It is my hope that all of us join hands and start to be even more proactive in our Reliability Engineering & Maintenance Management profession so others can see what a great & profitable business it is to be in.


11 thoughts on “Measuring what did not happen.

  1. Good article – would like to see more concrete examples of determining value of activities though. Saving time, maintaining up time, shorter downtime, etc. all can be quantified and used to show value of reliability engineering activities. I just presented on this topic (more from a product design view) at the 59th Annual Reliability and Maintainability Symposium. You can find the paper at under Recommended reading.

    • Thank you very much for your comment Fred, I am happy to see people talking Reliability & Maintenance Engineering.

      I would love to give more concrete examples on determining the value of activities… however I would appreciate to be paid for that, this is hard and time consuming work to do and also might not be a 100% fit for everyone.

      I would like to recommend that people go and take a look at and read the recommended reading, there might be something there that will help you to improve.

  2. Pingback: How long do I have left? | Bjarni Ellert Ísleifsson, CMRP

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  4. Subtract all of the parts, labor and downtime costs from the cost of implementing and maintaining a reliability program.

    The numbers not only speak the truth but also are the language we are told to use with the C-suite.

    Check and record the energy savings if you are using high quality lubricants, the numbers will surprise you if this is a new concept for you.

    Look at the positive impact on safety and risk when you take human beings out of harm’s way with automatic lubrication and modern sight glasses. Add in safety enhancements when calibrated automatic lubricators and trained and certified technicians eliminate slippery lubricant housekeeping issues.

    Add in the reduced staff turnover from their sense of ownership brought on by their training and certification. See the cost of lubricants follow the parts and labor drop through longer lasting products applied correctly.

    You can put a dollar figure to the energy costs, parts, labor and increased production, but even though you might not be able to put a dollar value on the safety improvement, but you know it is there.

    If the C-suite is the Champion and the programs are fully understood, then success will come when everyone is a Champion and the silos are gone.

    • Thank you for your comment Mark.

      Putting a $ value to everything is not always feasible and sometimes difficult to proof but often we still see the value in the programs we implement through other unmeasurable factors like positive cultural change, buy in of employees to a safety culture, focus on reliability and availability efforts and the general understanding of quality Asset Management practices.

      Keep up the great work Mark.

      All the best, Bjarni

  5. Bjarni, good insight on this topic as many people have challenges to measure properly. In many cases, projects around reliability & maintenance may be obvious that they are worthwhile, but the task of creating an ROI in order to justify the project or program is difficult. The ability to step back and evaluate the ROI is key, but often maintenance or engineering have neither the bandwidth or expertise to get this done. Thus, the value of using a partner or consultant who has seen your unique situation before and understands how to measure the impact can be a huge time saver to getting a project executed.

  6. One of the thing I did not see here is spare partts savings as a result of using condition monitoring. After I implemented condition monitoring and reduced time based PM, I was able to cut my spare parts budget in half. Thanks, Scott Buker.

I would appreciate if you would give yourself time to comment on my Blog posts. Thank you very much for your contribution!

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