What Maintenance Path are You?

The critical aspect of effective maintenance is that is it justifiable by the business, culture and fundamental ideals of right and wrong. Ouch!
Once discussing right and wrong enters the picture we leave our cozy domain of management and maintenance and go into the complicated, sticky and ambiguous realm of morality and ethics.
While I’m not qualified to speak in depth on these issues, it is clear that right and wrong must enter the equation. This is very bad news for maintenance professionals because we may be given budgets that are too thin to reasonably guarantee safety and environmental integrity.
If that describes your situation, you are in a first-class bind. Do you quit in disgust, “suck it up” and do what is asked, become the proverbially wild-eyed prophet in the wilderness or find a new mode of expression?
Of course, we are looking for the new modes of expression which deliver the message effectively and protect everyone from short-term stupidity and avarice. The new mode of expression deals with seeing what is going on, seeing where you want to go and following a path called effective maintenance toward it.
We could be - and certainly would be - champions of equipment reliability. One could argue that reliability is the prime directive of the PM effort and not be wrong.
Even knowing the goal, and even with the same basic equipment, there are several completely different situations:
Situation 1: You haul ordinance, explosives or compressed hydrogen.
Situation 2: You haul general commodities.
Situation 3: You haul titanium, palladium or platinum catalyst.
What is the difference in PM approaches to these situations? Why are they different?
The approaches are different for two key reasons. One is that the consequences of failure to the driver, company or the public are different. The other reason is different profit levels, business environments and even expectations are different.
Effective maintenance is the name of a path. There is really no destination, just a robust path. You want safety, but never achieve it permanently, just for the now. You want good mpg, and you can have that only now.
The path of effective maintenance includes preventive and predictive maintenance (PdM), but not only that. Effective maintenance maintains the status quo. It aligns the company’s needs for increasingly efficient maintenance effort, realistic resources and doing the right thing by the employees and the environment.
One way to do this is to add a specific category to the traditional pie chart of maintenance expenditures.
When preventive maintenance is working, it looks like the steps in red in the accompanying chart. The task on the PM Task List calls the preventive maintenance person’s attention to a known or potential failure mode. If that person cannot replace it then and there (called a short repair), he/she writes up a corrective measure (CM) work order. The next mechanic replaces the worn part.
This is a steady-state system which maintains (hence the phrase preventive maintenance) the status quo. Proactive maintenance finds the status quo abhorrent. It seeks to make improvements. The new approach adds a few extra steps - those in the blue boxes in the chart.
While proactive maintenance is a project type activity, it can be distinct from projects in general. Proactive maintenance would include Lean Maintenance projects.
It is only through ongoing improvements that the maintenance effort will stay effective.


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The means to effective maintenance includes more than just preventive and predictive maintenance.


[ author's bio -  Erin: please pull the bio in. Thanks! ]