Building a new maintenance strategy

Written by: Brian Spicer

In previous articles in this series we discussed the importance of keeping assets running at optimal levels and performance for production to remain on track, gaining buy-in across the organization, as well as the role of criticality analysis to mitigate potential risks and subsequent failures.

Periodic maintenance is not enough. In our years of experience as asset management and optimization experts in asset intensive industries, successful maintenance strategies require a managed, holistic approach and continuous improvements which can be triggered from many activities, from commodity prices to regulation changes.

This article outlines key considerations for building new maintenance strategies, including proper communication to employees, and how technology can be used to make the maintenance plan both efficient and effective.

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Start from Scratch

To build sustainable maintenance strategies requires discipline and a clearly defined methodology executed with experienced, skilled personnel. While seemingly tedious and time-consuming, all the activities required for developing maintenance strategies will help set a foundation for effective, long-term maintenance strategies. This methodology will also create greater accountability and ensure no steps are missed out.

Below are the key steps for developing Maintenance Strategies.

Project Establishment

At times, the tendency is to rush in and start producing strategies without careful planning. Project establishment is critical to minimising rework and to set up the project for success.
Project establishment encompasses:

  • Identifying key stakeholders and creating a complete RACI (Roles, Accountabilities, Communicated to & Informed)
  • Communicating the project to all site personnel
  • Developing an agreed Strategy Overview document which outlines maintenance manage and execute strategies e.g. who does oil sampling, what is the naming convention etc.
  • Obtaining service manuals and parts manuals
  • Arranging key subject matter experts and site personnel to attend workshops

Asset and Component Identification

Before starting strategy development, all equipment and components need to be identified by obtaining an equipment register and then conducting a thorough field audit. Relying solely on a Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) is not sufficient as there may be equipment or components that are in operation but not in the CMMS.

Once the field audit is completed, the assets and components are created or updated in the clients’ CMMS Plant Structure Hierarchy.

Develop Strategy

The following activities are conducted in collaboration with all relevant site personnel, subject matter experts, and draw on service manuals, parts manuals and parts catalogues.

  • Define function and functional failure
  • Define failure modes
  • Identify the best strategy e.g. Fixed Time Replacement, Condition Monitoring etc.
  • Articulate primary task
  • Articulate conditional comments that are printed with the primary task
  • Articulate acceptable limits that when exceeded will trigger a corrective/secondary action
  • Identify labor, parts, tools and equipment
  • Allocate tasks to the correct work package
  • Group tasks in the work package for efficient routing
  • Perform a QA of the strategies
  • Conduct field validation of work packages
  • Update strategies
  • Obtain sign off on the strategies

Quality Assessment (QA)

QA processes and procedures are important to check the quality of the strategies and ensure that the strategies align with the Site Strategy Overview document. This process also provides the opportunity to coach and mentor the personnel who will develop maintenance strategies.

The QA must be done early in the process to mitigate costly rework and ensure there are no miscommunications. The QA process ensures that all strategies across a site are of high quality and consistent and should only be conducted by experienced and trained personnel.

Communicating the plan is critical

For the maintenance strategy to be successful and long lived, companies must communicate with employees across the organisation — from the pit to the boardroom — the purpose and impact of the maintenance strategies and how they align with the company’s broader goals.

Communicating new maintenance strategies across the organisation ensures employees understand the needs of the program and the broader risks of equipment failure on the company, the community and the environment.

The more comprehensive a maintenance plan is, including proper communication, the more likely equipment will operate as expected by stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors and the community. Having a proper maintenance plan also means maintenance can occur in a timely, controlled manner, and that budgets are controlled.

If you get the maintenance plan in place and the communication right, it makes everyone’s job easier. The company can then continue with its work of producing much-needed metals and minerals for global consumption.

For instance, an Ausenco consulting team was hired by two gold mines in Tanzania to provide a CMMS Plant Structure Hierarchy rebuild, maintenance strategies, spares identification, materials forecast and work management procedure creation, and work management training, coaching and mentoring.

Maintenance strategies were developed for a total of 2,631 assets, including:

  • 19,417 new work packages
  • 58,733 secondary tasks loaded into the CMMS complete with resources
  • 50,584 materials assigned to work packages and secondary tasks

By using dedicated asset management software to develop these maintenance strategies, the team saved significant time and was able to successfully complete the project on a tight deadline while delivering a robust result.

Take advantage of technology

Building an effective asset management plan also means relying on the latest technology that can handle everything from cataloguing to building a library of asset strategies. Orien is a powerful, user-friendly tool for building maintenance strategies across an organization, and was developed by global engineering consultancy Ausenco for use with their clients. Now commercially available, Orien is used by leading mining companies around the world that seek optimal equipment performance while reducing costs and project risk.

In our next article, we look at understanding the true cost of your strategy from a budget perspective.

Our experience

Orien is a cloud-based asset management solution relied on by the world’s largest asset-intensive industries. Developed by Ausenco in collaboration with leading industry experts, Orien makes it easy to consolidate, collaborate on, and control maintenance strategies and budgets across your organization to keep assets working for you. Orien’s clients manage lifecycle costs and reduce uncertainty by understanding the critical activities that keep their operation running. With teams located worldwide and 24/7 support, Orien puts you on the path to better asset performance.

Our team of experts are ready to help, reach out to Brian Spicer to learn more.