Beyond KPI’s

Working Together or in Silos

Working Together or in Silos

In the asset management world measuring performance through the right KPI’s is important, focusing on the results of the asset management processes and adjusting regularly to the trends seen on the dashboards is vital to continuous improvements.
However it is not enough just to focus on the KPI’s, one always needs to be aware of what is behind the KPI’s, what behaviours KPI’s are driving and what is the ultimate goal for the business as a whole.

Example:
A batch production process breaks down, it is a small component that is relatively easy to change, just takes a few hours to do. However, the spare part is not available in stock and it will take 2 weeks to get that spare part. Luckily, they have two exactly the same types of processes side by side and the production batch cycles allow for the part to be taken from one manufacturing process and installing it on the other process while the batch preparation is done. Thus not affecting the production and delivery of the product is without any production losses noticeable.
So the Maintenance Supervisor adapts to this situation and had a Maintenance Technician perform the switch regularly keeping the production, as well as the customer, happy because production went as planned.
However when focusing on the maintenance KPI parameters this results in an increased Break Down Maintenance over the 2 week period, as they needed to move the part from one process to the next in line with the batch production cycles. This also resulted in non-compliance to part of the PM program, as the maintenance technician did not have the time to do all the planned PM’s because of the added Break Down Maintenance. It can also be assumed that because the PM’s where not done that could result in further unforeseen breakdowns.
The Maintenance Manager comes to the Maintenance Supervisor not happy with his decision, because he monitored the KPI’s and could see that the Maintenance KPI’s, noticeably the break down KPI and PM compliance KPI where not trending in the correct direction.
After weighing the options and understanding the story behind the KPI’s development the Maintenance Manager agreed that out of a bad situation the Maintenance Supervisor selected the best possible path.
Conclusion:
If everyone is focused on a single dominating goal, it is less challenging to adjust to situations as described in the example here above, as long as we understand the underlying attributes that affect the KPI’s developments.
However in a silo situation where there might be tension between the silo’s (e.g. production vs. maintenance). In that case the example might have developed in a different way, i.e. half the production down for 2 weeks because of a failure where the spare part cannot be delivered for 2 weeks, the maintenance KPI’s would suffer a bit (one break down) but the production KPI’s would suffer even more.
Food for thought:
Is there a clear understanding in your organization for the why’s of the decisions that are made, i.e. are there clear governing goals?
Do you sometimes sacrifice your goals for the greater governing goals? And are you recognized for that?
I welcome your feedback and discussions below this Blog post.

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Blog on a poll asking: What do you think is the most important aspect of Asset Management?

A while back I posted a poll with a few possible options as answers to this question and in this blog I will publish the results and some thoughts as well on this.

Participation was 161 votes and the result was as shown in this picture here below:

Poll result on the question: What do you think is the most important aspect of Asset Management?

Poll result on the question: What do you think is the most important aspect of Asset Management?

The answers in other (10.65%) were as follows:

  1. open sharing of knowledge
  2. Workforce awareness and education
  3. Understanding Risk & Consequence
  4. All of the above
  5. Asset Management Initiation
  6. Understanding the asset
  7. asset management results
  8. Reliability
  9. there is no most important. Most of the items above are essential
  10. All of the above
  11. Effective Change Management
  12. asset management outcomes
  13. people
  14. They are all equally important
  15. Value adding proces
  16. Risk Analysis
  17. Good Communication with all involved!!!!!

There were also some comments made on the poll’s web site as follows:

  • I voted for the continuous improvement approach. The meaning of that approach, however, should include ongoing communication with major equipment suppliers to assure that the bill of material for the equipment is up to date. All other planning will fall short if replacement parts are not available to support maintenance and reliability efforts.
  • My point is that if any organisation expects improvement in EAM area (I assume, if no improvement is expected all that poll makes no sense) it should concentrate on assessment of the present state of Asset Management. That means analysis of business KPIs and getting to some conclusion. The feedback – whatever it is – means some decisions which will be executed with EAM Business Processes. Very few organisations use EAM Balanced Scorecards, so the relevant decisions may depend on personal criteria of the managers. Whatever decisions are taken their implementation will affect business processes, so I reckon, Asset Management Processes are always involved, so that item of the poll should be regarded as the most influencing. However, a holistic approach seems to be obvious, but one should remember that some companies have developed EAM strategies and plans only in documents for stakeholders, if they have had any…
  • I don’t see a lot of difference between some of the categories. Some could well be a component of another.
  • All companies have headline business policies irrespective of whether they are explicit or not, though clearly a well defined policy will be better communicated, however, I believe that at the heart of the asset management process is the strategy. A clear map of where we are – where we are going and how we will get there! A cyclic process of continual review and course adjustment whilst in operation will complete the process. Thus without a well defined strategic core, asset management initiatives will fail.

There was one extra comment made directly under the poll at this blog site: https://bjarniis.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/would-you-like-to-answer-this-quick-poll-please

  • I have been acting long time maybe too long as a management consultant and still I can see alot of unefficiency on a shop floor lever. Examples of these areas are e.g. maintenance planning, multiskilled people, bad collaboration between production, production planning, sales and maintenance.                                         I agree with the opinion a maintenence strategy is mandatory, but in this changing world sometimes the business strategy/goals of a company can be a bit “fuzzy” too and then subgoals/strategies can be even more difficult to give or get.          So, quite practical approach can give sometimes a faster and higher ROI>>>Fix things you can and leave the rest!

Above you have now seen all the raw data from the poll and comment´s made to date. I would like to leave the interpretation mostly to you, my dear reader, as I know the people who read this blog are quite intelligent people working in the great field of Asset Management.

As we can soon see in the emerging ISO5500x series of standards Asset Management is a very iterative management system and as with most systems as soon as one element of the management system is taken out the whole system will not be as effective in delivering the results that are desired.

I can say that the results overall do not surprise me for one and I would like to encourage you all to comment and discuss the results in the comments section here below.

EAM & CMMS Systems, 10 times more data in the system or 10 time less done with the data available?

 

The road to success in using information systems is a difficult one to navigate. When an implementation of a system is started some assumptions are made about what is needed from the system, how it will help with decision-making, how it will help with execution  of maintenance activities and many other factors. The maintenance environment is a complex environment to begin with, then on top of that it is an environment that is constantly presenting itself with new challenges and changing operational conditions. The markets change as well as many other external factors, the knowledge is leaving from the manufacturing environment because of aging workforce as well as more competition for the remaining workforce with knowledge and experience and the list could go on and on.

At the core of information systems is the gathering of data, it needs to be reliable data so that the decisions from that data are based on solid foundation. Without reliable data the decisions made can not be reliable. The way data is collected is extremely important, wherever there is manual input you are introducing an element of risk for mistakes being made. Wherever the data is collected automatically there is an element of failure or calibration error introduced in the collection process. There are also many other factors that are necessary to remain vigilant about.

To answer the question headed in the Blog, today we have the capabilities to store extreme amounts of data in our systems and databases. So too much data is probably not an issue in most cases. Navigating through that data can be challenging but the most important thing about the data should be that it needs to be reliable and accurate! If there is too little done with the data, probably in most cases it is possible to improve how the data is being used. In helping with good quality decision-making it takes time and a lot of thoughts to develop, it is an investment that can be quick to return a profit.

I hope that you have enjoyed the read and if you have any comments or questions please don’t be shy to post them below or contact me directly. Thank you for reading and hopefully sharing.

Systems in Maintenance & Reliability processes

A good friend of mine Gísli Gylfason just sent me a link to a interesting article from Johnny Bofilios.

After reading that article my mind wondered on to a few points:

Point 1: A software system that solves all of manager’s problems does not exist except in the advertisement brochures.

Regarding this point software systems do not solve the problems; good processes and work procedures can solve problems as well as many other activities. However software systems are merely tools that document the process and the results from that process, or other activities, being done. They can help us in many ways, for example to analyse problems, but in the end they are “just” tools that we use to try and be better at what we do.

Point 2: A bad manager without a system will be more efficient at being a worse manager with a system.

Point 3: A good manager without a system will be more efficient at being a better manager with a system.

Regarding points 2 and 3: A software system can only make a process being managed more efficiently. This can of course be both negative and positive. The process can be more efficient at being bad and more efficient at being good!

Point 4: Define your processes first and then choose the system that suits them best. Be careful not to tailor the solution too much. Tailoring the software solution can be extremely expensive and hard to maintain.

For example let’s compare to a car: you can take a car that almost suits your needs and modify it to almost perfectly suit your needs.

My super jeep

My super jeep

This car here above for example (my super jeep) has taken me everywhere I want to go in the past 4 years. There it is on top of a mountain in the middle of the Icelandic winter. I drive it on top of the snow and even glaciers, while in summers I drive on bad trails just about anywhere I want.

On top of the Eyjafjallajökull Glacier during the volcanic eruption of April 2010 in Iceland

On top of the Eyjafjallajökull Glacier during the volcanic eruption of April 2010 in Iceland

The same applies for a good software solution. If it is fundamentally good for your needs then it can probably be tweaked here and there to perfectly suit your needs. There are many great CMMS and EAM software solutions out there. You can also adapt them to your specific needs, but in the end it all falls down to how good your maintenance & reliability processes are and how well they can be executed.

Even with excellent software systems, great knowledge and skilled people, you can not get more efficient or productive than what the processes allow them to be.

Data in Maintenance & Reliability

Since my studies in Manchester University, where I studied MSC in Maintenance Engineering & Asset Management, I have always been interested by Data and how we tend to use it to further our Maintenance & Reliability processes.

My MSc thesis titled: “Data collection and its use to advance maintenance management and maintenance practices to support business objectives” discusses it in great details.

So why post a little blog about it? Well, I wanted to get a discussion going about the three main focus areas once you have decided what data to collect.

1. Data collection systems: How can we effectively use them for our benefits? The systems are many and the data is of various natures. There are for example the graphs from our vibration program, the thermal images from our IR program, a lot of statistical data from various systems like ERP, EAM, CMMS, Cost & Profit from accounting data systems… and the list can be quite long. With all of those systems how can we collect all the data and send it to the Data processing systems to be processed effectively and efficiently?

2. Data processing systems: These systems can vary in nature and function. Usually these systems are as many as our techniques to collect data. To effectively process the data it is a key factor to gather the data in a perfectly uniform way. This can be challenging to do and we will need great work processes to be able to get this right.

3. Information output systems: The quality of the results depends greatly first on the quality and amount of the data collected, secondly on the way we process the data and finally on how we interpret the information that comes out of the information output systems. It is crucial for the quality of the decisions made to have the data uniformly collected, processed and put out of the information systems.

In conclusion, it is a three-step process:
1. Collect the data.
2. Process the data.
3. Output information.

After these three steps we will need to make decisions that benefit our Maintenance & Reliability process and the positive effect of those decisions will depend greatly on the quality and uniformity of each step in the process. 

Data collection systems - Data processing systems - Information output systems

Data collection systems - Data processing systems - Information output systems

I would appreciate all of your comments and discussions here below, thank you for your time and interest in my Blog.