Preventive/Predictive Maintenance

Training Snapshot: Maximizing Asset Reliability through Preventive Maintenance

If you have ever wanted to peek under the hood of Marshall Institute’s training content, now is your chance. I will be revealing content from our maintenance and reliability public seminars in this Training Snapshot series.  This is the second post in the series. The first post provided a snapshot of our Materials Management for Maintenance seminar.

In this post, we are looking into our Maximizing Asset Reliability through Preventive Maintenance seminar.  The content below is taken from the first of seven sections. In this section, we are covering the definitions of preventive maintenance, corrective maintenance, and the typical problems with PMs Today.  We wrap up this snapshot with seven questions for YOU to think about. Your answers will be illuminating and the process of collecting this data will be powerful. Enjoy this snapshot. 

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Preventive Maintenance (PM)

Preventive Maintenance can be defined as any activity that…

PM Optimization as a Routine

Anyone that has ever tended or raised livestock , be it rabbits, chickens, goats or cattle, knows that routines are important.  Without routines, you run the risk of causing   undue suffering on the part of your animals or end up with a monumental mess to clean up.

Unfortunately, when Preventive Maintenance Optimization (PMO) is considered, most people immediately revert, in their mind, to the concept of a workshop.  However, the fact is that the most effective form of PMO is that which takes place incrementally, over time, via routines and feedback.

One of the  routines  involves regularly scheduling a planned PM.  Planned, meaning that the conduct and materials involved in the PM are well laid out and itemized.  Scheduled, meaning that this work was known, at least 72 hours in advance.

Another routine that optimizes the PM is the routine of feedback. The feedback of your maintenance personnel is the most valuable form of intelligence reinforcing the continuous improvement of your maintenance systems.

How often should PM strategies and tasks be reviewed?

The question is often asked “how often should PM strategies and tasks be reviewed?’"Here are 3 processes an organization should have in place to support PM reviews.

Root Cause Analysis  review:  Each time an RCA is performed on failed equipment a review of the maintenance strategy should also be performed.  The review of the maintenance strategy including the PM tasks should determine if a task exists that is supposed to prevent or identify early the incipient failure that ultimately led to the failure of the equipment. 

If a task exists it should be determined if the task was performed properly.  If the task was performed properly then the task should be changed as its ineffective.  If the task was not performed properly then training should be provided to so that the task will be performed properly in the future. If no task exists then one should be developed and added to the PM procedure and the maintenance strategy updated.

Design for Reliability - Part 2 of 4

Teaching the Millenials a sound reliability strategy early in their career (the Matures, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers too) can be the critical component of a strong manufacturing strategy. 

Millenials have been categorized as seeing the world as a union of people and countries connected electronically and technologically 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; spending a lot of time interacting with social media and using more than one medium at a time, with parents that catered to their needs more than the rest of us.  Some see them as most times arrogant but, they may actually be the most productive, innovative generation in history (Sujansky, 2009).   What in the world does this have to do with reliability? – a lot.  Building a powerful brand comes with a strong reliability strategy.  Every organization, no matter what it may be manufacturing, requires a powerful and strong reliability strategy lined up with its corporate strategy. In today’s climate this includes being connected and collaborating 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; spending a lot of time interacting with social media and using more than one medium at a time not only with the corporate strategy but with people, processes, programs, and performance beyond internal and external boundaries. Reliability has evolved from a reactive, "keep the failures quiet," enviroment brought on by pressures to meet production/manufacturing targets to the promotion and use of:

Design for Reliability - Part 1 of 4

When I launched into the reliability profession, I thought condition monitoring was the center of the reliability universe. 

I was so focused on putting my hands on equipment to feel if it was running right or listening to it talk to me about its condition to determine when something was going to fail. The next step was ensuring my spare part was around.  It never occurred to me I may be able to prevent the failure from ever happening or at least extend the life of the component and system.  

I never thought of design improvements, manufacturing process or total system interfaces impacts to my failures, if I did it was a blame not a solution.  Budgets seem to be squeezed and limited for RCM and many times a lesson learned instead of a proactive event.   

I was frustrated with the design or at least what I thought was the design of many components and had no foresight to focus on a different type of bottom line. 

A Case for Reliability

Even today too many industry leaders do not see the clear case for investing in maintenance and reliability.  Within the reliability community, the message IS clear; cost-cutting and reducing resources as a means to improve performance can be fatal. No one has ever cost cut themselves to World Class.

An older study, yet still relevant today, conducted by Solomon Associates in 1994 in the refining industry concluded the following*… 

  • Improved reliability is unrelated to maintenance spending
  • Highest cost performers are very reactive and repair focused
  • The best performers required fewer expenditures for higher mechanical reliability
  • The best performers view recurring failures as unacceptable

It is fairly easy to understand: high reliability equates to lower operating costs.  To achieve higher reliability performance requires improvement on the following key elements of an effective asset maintenance management system:

´    Work Order Control

´    Materials Management

´    Work Planning and Scheduling

´    Effective Leadership

´    Preventive Maintenance

´    Predictive Maintenance

´    Proactive Maintenance

´    Reliability Engineering

´    Failure Analysis

Analysis & Validation (Quick Tip)


PM optimization has two key phases, Analysis and Validation. I am going to cover a few key principles for each phase in this blog tip. I see the same errors voiding the performance enhancing purpose of PM Optimization efforts so i want to pass on what i have learned to support others in their PM improvement endeavors.

During the analysis phase the key consideration is to carefully prepare, in advance, a detailed summary of actual PMs and tasks associated with them. Those tasks should be challenged by the most knowledgeable people against particular failure modes. If the task lacks meaning and the ability to prevent a potential failure, the team should decide if the task should be re-written, removed or worth changing is worth having a run to failure maintenance strategy in place. It is importantto understand the risk and consequences assumed with a run to failure strategy.

Successfully Adopt Predictive Maintenance Technology (Quick Tip)

Before you invest in extensive training to kick start your Predictive Maintenance technology program, consider the follow simple yet effective tip.

Rather than risk the financial and time investment (e.g. purchasing equipment, receiving training) required to implement predictive maintenance technologies, consider trying a small pilot project using an outside contractor. With the lower initial expense and the enhanced capabilities of an experienced contractor (you did do your homework on checking out the contractor didn't you?), the likelihood of success is much higher. From this point your program can be expanded on an incremental basis. If eventually you have sufficient need and funding to develop your own in-house program you will have already built your business case and justification with calculated steps showing return on investment along the way.

Clear and Definitive PMs (Quick Tip)


PM's should have a definitive task to address each failure mode for any given piece of equipment. This definitive task should produce an indication of a minor abnormality before it becomes a full blown problem; this strategy would allow us to prepare a job plan for corrective maintenance before the equipment fails. This type of maintenance will produce the reliability necessary to move a company to World Class and show the contribution of maintenance.

If you have any maintenance and reliability tips you would like to share please leave them in the comment box below.  


Anticipating failures

On this edition of Skill TV - Augie Schumacher, reliability engineer from Infralogix, illustrates the importance of implementing predictive technologies.

Skill TV is "A joint venture between and Joel Leonard, Skill TV is an Internet- based TV show that illustrates Leonard's fight against the maintenance crisis."

Establishing Proactive Maintenance


How can you move from a reactive to a proactive maintenance environment?

One element of this answer, although not as simple as it seems, is through structure and organization. A key system for establishing a proactive maintenance department is setting up an effective PM program. The difficulty in establishing an effective PM program is keeping up with PMs when there is so much emergency work.

To change your behaviors and ensure that the PMs are completed, your maintenance crew cannot be pulled away from PMs to do corrective or emergency work. One way to alleviate this problem is to create a dedicated PM team/crew that handles PMs only. Now, as fires will still need to be put out you must establish a dedicated "Do it Now" Squad (DIN) to manage all emergency work. The beauty to this organization and structure is that as the PM crew hits their goals, the DIN Squad will have less emergency work to do.

Over time, with other elements such as planning and scheduling, this behavior will help to transition a reactive environment to a proactive environment.

Maintenance Improvement Fundamentals - Be the Change

There are some actions which must be taken at any plant if the maintenance contribution is to be improved. Indeed, some of the recommendations which follow should be implemented even in the absence of any corporate or top management directives! That is, they are well within the span of control and the organizational charter of the maintenance department as it currently exists, and ought to be pursued as a natural consequence of the responsibility and authority vested in the organization already.

There are at least six areas needing improvement that are fundamental to improved management and control of the maintenance function in general:

Maintenance & Reliability Best Practices for Triathlons

Last Saturday, Andy Gager, Ricardo Garcia (Senior Consultant) and I took part in a triathlon called “Over the Mountain”, located in Kings Mountain NC.  The race consisted of a 1 mile lake swim, a 28 mile bike course and a 6.2 mile run. Racing in different age groups we each posted respectable times.  Ricardo’s outstanding performance earned him 7th place; out of 440 Marshall Institute Group on Race Dayracers. 

Preventive Maintenance - The Cost of Maintaining Equipment

The cost of maintaining equipment can be much higher than we realize. Sustaining equipment for its original design consumes time, labor, materials, tools, facilities, and most importantly lost production. Higher costs occur when a greater loss of production is incurred and it takes more time, resources and materials to correct the problem than it did to prevent it.  Reducing equipment downtime and related cost is the greatest argument for planned maintenance versus unplanned maintenance.

Most people know planning ahead is the best approach to preventing corrective maintenance. Preventive maintenance reduces reactive or breakdown maintenance, resulting in lower cost.  In essence, you actually will repair things less often if you do a good job at being proactive and heading off those expensive disasters.  You pay penalties when you respond to problems rather than preventing those problems.  Are you with me?

Many organizations consciously decide to Run To Failure (RTF).