Clear strategies and processes fundamental to effective maintenance

08 March 2017 | Web Article Number:

Forestry, Pulp & Paper

IT is essential for companies to identify key business goals and set associated performance targets in order to remain competitive and profitable, says SKF Asset Reliability Consultant, Greg Sassen.

“The overall objective in this effort should be to create a strategy aligned to business goals and then follow a well-defined process to drive down total cost of ownership whilst maintaining or even increasing production time,” said Sassen.

While maintenance is usually seen as a necessary cost of doing business, “one train of thought suggests that manufacturers could make a return on their investment in maintenance and even that maintenance should be seen as a profit centre”.

Implementing maintenance as a key part of overall strategy can improve profits by reducing the scourge of machine downtime. For maximum effect, he said, maintenance should work in partnership with other elements of the business including engineering and production, to pinpoint how a reliability-focused maintenance process can deliver specific business goals.

Sassen recommends an integrated strategy and technology approach. “A strategy will ensure these programmes are implemented cohesively throughout a plant. SKF offers a new generation of integrated approaches that take the needs of the entire organisation into account.

“Once implemented, these strategies enable maintenance requirements to be analysed, assessed and managed simultaneously, raising uptime and productivity and improving the bottom line.”

Investigation of maintenance procedures is a good starting point, recommends Sassen.

“Factory maintenance has historically been done reactively, linked to set time intervals, and machine or component failure, giving little control of production assets (people and machines) and drags productivity down.”

A more proactive, holistic approach offers better asset control, minimised unexpected downtime and boosted productivity. This is the basis of SKF’s AEO plan, a work management process structure that, according to the company, delivers maximum efficiency and effectiveness from activities focused on the overall business aim of the plant.

The plan takes account of top-level business forecasting and system-wide analysis. It is a shift away from the reactive approach, to a selective mix of scheduled, proactive, predictive and reactive maintenance. It has in-built sustainability and provides rapid results and payback on investment.

“A strategic tool like AEO helps a company to manage its assets more effectively – ensuring smooth running and minimum downtime across the entire plant. It boosts profitability by increasing output for the same cost, or maintaining output for less cost,” a statement from the company said.

There are four integrated elements to an AEO programme: maintenance strategy, work identification, work control, and work execution.

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