Maintenance and Reliability

Being able to maintain equipment is an important part of an operational strategy. Some might argue it is the most important part. In a manufacturing environment, being able to maintain equipment so that it functions reliably is the key to smooth and profitable operations. How can management create a strong maintenance and reliability strategy for their operation? In a recent chat for USA Manufacturing Hour on Twitter, host Neil Hussey from Denco Lubrication Ltd in the UK led a discussion about this very topic.

The Meaning of Maintenance and Reliability

The chat kicked off with participants sharing their understanding of the meaning of the phrase “Maintenance and Reliability”.

John Buglino from Optessa Inc in New Jersey said, “They are linked. proper maintenance ensures reliability.”

Host Hussey said, “Absolutely...they go hand in hand!!”

Ruby Rusine from Social Success Marketing in California said, “You need maintenance to keep your machines reliable. “

Michelle Riccetto from Brash Inc in Canada said, “Regular maintenance leads to reliability!”

Host Hussey said, “It certainly does!!”

Chris Giglio from Rovere Media in New Jersey said, “When I hear "maintenance and reliability" I think long term care of expensive investments. Making sure that machines or equipment are well taken care of so that they remain reliable.”

Gina M. Tabasso from MAGNET in Ohio said, “MRO is preventative and predictive maintenance conducted regularly to prevent a shutdown or a machine going out of use.”

Host Hussey said, “Oooo getting into more specifics already...I like it Gina!!!”

VirtuDesk said, “Maintenance is keeping your machines or systems in good condition and fixing any issues. While, reliability, usually has something to do with how helpful and durable a tool is.”

two_guys_maintenanceJasmine Labelle from Velavu in Canada said, “In order to keep any operation running smoothly, maintenance is needed!”

 Pavel Stepanov from VirtuDesk said, “If you want to be trusted, you have to be reliable. At the same time, you have to make time in keeping things well-maintained to keep operations running smoothly.”

Nicole Donnelly from Donnelly Marketing Group in Virginia said, “Keeping your stuff performing at peak so it doesn't break down and shut down your production line.”

Nigel T Packer from PelaTis Online in Wales said, “If you look after your tools they will look after you.”

Kirsten Austin from DCSC Inc. in Missouri said, “All I know is if you do not maintain things, they can't always be reliable. That's anything like equipment, machinery even yourself.”

Host Hussey said, “Great point Kirsten, you're got to keep the maintenance on yourself going (physical and mental) to keep yourself in tip top condition!!”

Dan Bigger from Optessa Inc in New Jersey said, “That they need to be combined to be affective. Maintenance needs to be done to be reliable.”

Emily Kite from Obsidian Manufacturing Industries in Illinois said, “You have to have maintenance to ensure reliability. If you don't keep up with maintenance than how can you be sure its reliable.”

Missy Moorefield from Southern Fasteners & Supply, Inc in North Carolina said, “If you don't maintain your operation (and this includes everything from your system, machines, employees) then you can't be reliable.”

George Merchant from Electronic Control Services in North Carolina said, “Maintenance is the required servicing of a system to ensure its continued function and productivity. Reliability is implied with proper maintenance but is not solely dependent on it.”

Sue Nordman from Obsidian Manufacturing Industries in Illinois said, “When I hear those two words together, I think predictive maintenance. Maintaining your equipment to avoid breakdowns and repairs.”

Host Hussey said, “You need maintenance for machines, software, buildings, vehicles....and yes without it reliability can be a problem!”

He continued, “Maintenance has traditionally functioned as a one to one, technical relationship with equipment, where something is fixed when it breaks. Reliability culture, on the other hand, encompasses everything machinery interacts with: technology, culture, design, and maintenance strategy.”


The Importance of Maintenance

The discussion continued with participants sharing why they think maintenance and reliability management is important.

Buglino said, “It is only important if you wish to remain operational We have seen so many manufacturers rolling the dice and losing of late.”

Austin said, “We've seen that too! You don't want to break down at an important time costing time, resources and money.”

Riccetto said, “Maintenance is extremely important in the product development process - whether it be maintaining a product post market or iterating during the process, maintenance helps create remarkable products and experiences!”

Adam Baker from Schooley Mitchell in Pennsylvania said, “Because everything breaks down - from equipment to relationships. Reliability management will reduce the frequency of breakdowns and maintenance will reduce the duration of breakdowns.”

Brett from FreightPOP in California said, “You want to keep your employees safe, while also ensuring your equipment is reliable and working so you don't have any problems that may lead to unhappy customers!”

Giglio said, “To ensure that business isn't slowed down or stopped. Also to guarantee a good ROI on a piece of equipment.”

Austin said, “Great answer, Chris!”

VirtuDesk said, “It'll be a hassle if your business production or operation will be delayed because of broken machines. You are losing valuable time and money if you aren't doing this.”

Rusine said, “We can think of a few: 1. ensure safety of employees & equipment. 2. reduce downtime and maximizing equipment availability. 3. reduce costs by reducing the need for repairs and replacements.”

Host Hussey said, “Absolutely Ruby, just having it is important but also how you manage the maintenance!”

Bigger said, “Without it you are sunk. Your customers cannot depend on you if you cannot meet their needs.”

Stepanov said, “Reasons why it is important: -Keeps your business operations -Builds trust -Save money from big repairs.”

David Crysler from The Crysler Club in Michigan said, “Reduces costs associated with quality, productivity, and typically maintenance.”

Amy.M.Anderson said, “Maintenance and Reliability Management is important so that this vital business concern is budgeted - time and money - and doesn't become an ever-ending cost sink emergency.”

Packer said, “Maintenance does not mitigate all risk but it helps top reduce the catastrophic delays caused by a rubber band breaking. Especially if the machine is mission critical.”

Brett said, “You want to keep your employees safe, while also ensuring your equipment is reliable and working so you don't have any problems that may lead to unhappy customers!”

Kite said, “It is important to maintain reliability if you want to continue operating. If you have unreliable products, customers will leave.”

Host Hussey said, “It is clear that having an organized and efficient maintenance and reliability management system reduces the number of machine breakdowns ultimately minimizes losses from halt in production or unplanned plant shutdowns, contributing to the success of the organization.”


Convincing Leadership

World-class maintenance performance requires strong maintenance strategy. But all too often, Leadership within the organization isn’t fully on board with undertaking an optimization project as they don’t yet see the full value in doing so. Participants shared their thoughts on how to convince leadership about the importance of a strong maintenance strategy.

Rusine said, “Same way we do in marketing. “Speak his/her language.” Is it efficiency? Is it budget? Speak from that perspective.”

Host Hussey said, “That's a good way, you've got to speak their language to be able to get their attention. If they hold the purse strings then you have to talk the language of what it's going to cost if you DON'T do the maintenance...

Bigger said, “It's really simple. Ask them how much time and money it costs them for breakdowns.”

Host Hussey said, “Oh yes...point out the cost of not doing it VS the cost of doing it...soon get their attention!!”

Giglio said, “Showing them hard numbers and data. Gathering statistics/case studies and detailing how the project can positively affect the bottom line almost always convinces leadership to start moving forward.”

Packer said, “Show management what it would cost if they do maintenance, then show them what it would cost if they don't.”

Jason Moorefield said, “Put the cost of breakdown vs PM in front of them...and if that fails. A hammer can be motivational.”

Host Hussey said, “I prefer to call it a "persuader" not a well in this instance!!”

Crysler said, “Data is the best way to convince leadership of anything... unfortunately even with data, it can be a challenge due to competing priorates or lack of resources. Ultimately, the decisions and responsibility of those decisions lay with leadership.”

Host Hussey said, “Data is a great way of showing what can or has happened. It doesn't lie but unfortunately can be ignored!”

Teitsch Kent Fay Architects in NY said, “Show results or examples in a way they will understand.”

Merchant said, “Easy on my part. I fix the current problem and ask them if they want to prevent it in the future. The answer is always yes. Prove myself then show them how to avoid future downtime. Save them then teach them how to save themselves.”

Host Hussey said, “Always good to show them how to do it themselves...not everyone has the capacity to do it themselves but knowing someone who does is 2nd best!”

Labelle said, “Showing pros vs cons - how much of a difference will it make if action isn’t taken!”

VirtuDesk said, “Since they haven't seen it yet, let them see it. Conduct seminars or presentations to educate them on its importance and it's up to them to make a decision.

Baker said, “What are the reservations? Is it lack of resources (manpower or money), lack of knowledge (what is the true cost of a breakdown) or is the focus currently on a bigger fire (where does the mx fire rank?). The question has to be: when CAN (not WILL) we address it?”

Nordman said, “Show them the numbers. Sometimes I'm sitting that position and I need data to make decisions.”

Stepanov said, “Show them the benefits of doing so and the effects of not doing it as well. They will not see the value unless, you educate them.”

Brett said, “For many leaders, it's all about costs! And it usually costs less to properly maintain equipment and machinery, rather than using it until it breaks/fails... which usually results in more than just broken equipment (injuries, damaged products, etc.)”

Host Hussey said, “You need to consider points of resistance you might encounter from Maintenance, Production, & Site Management teams. Show them how the signs listed below are causing real problems for your organization, & demonstrate how your initiatives will benefit each stakeholder group.”


Two Types of Maintenance

The discussion turned to the two basic types of Maintenance and what they are made up of. Participants shared their thoughts.

Jason Moorefield said, “Preventive(PM) and corrective(CM). PM - keeps failures (or tries to) from occuring. CM - fixes failures (that shouldn't have happened to begin with)”

Bigger said, “Preventive is one. The other is a guess at necessary.”

Labelle said, “Marketing is my forté but let me take a stab at this - reactive, preventive or corrective maintenance?”

maintenance_manPacker said, “From my days in a production company, there was weekly maintenance then annual full strip down maintenance.”

Baker said, “ Preventive and Corrective. Preventive is your scheduled maintenance that is going to prolong the equipment or prevent outages. Corrective is more like " SOB, we should've done more preventive mx." as the crews stare at you.”

Merchant said, “Preventative+Corrective. Preventative you grease the bearing, corrective you replace it because it failed.”

He continued, “The old maintenance adage goes -Give me time to maintain the machine, or the machine will make time."

Anderson said, “Emergency Maintenance and Preventative Maintenance. If you change the oil in your car regularly (preventative) it will run a long time. If you run out of oil (emergency) you may blow an engine - a new car may be cheaper than fixing...”

Riccetto said, “What a great graphic and breakdown for everyone! Thank you Neil.”

Kite said, “Two types of maintenance would be preventive and mandatory(not working)?”

Host Hussey said, “The two general types of maintenance philosophies are:

Preventive Maintenance (PM) and Corrective Maintenance (CM)”


Preventative or Corrective

The chat wrapped up with participants sharing their thoughts on which type of maintenance they believed to be best: Preventive Maintenance or Corrective Maintenance.

Nordman said, “Preventative Maintenance! You eliminate downtime in repairs. “

Bigger said, “Preventative every day of the week and twice on Sunday.”

Rusine said, “Hmmm... Not sure. Corrective sounds like immediacy is involved. Preventive is on-going.”

Giglio said, “If I had to guess I would say preventive because you're making sure that something doesn't break. Then again this could be one of those trick questions where they're both equally important.”

Austin said, “I'm guessing prevention but you could prove me wrong.”

Labelle said, “Oh..this one’s hard…”

Packer said, “Preventative, because corrective is after it has gone wrong?”

Brett said, “Preventative maintenance all the way! There are far more benefits and way fewer emergency situations!”

Teitsch Kent Fay Architects said, “Preventive maintenance whenever possible!”

Jason Moorefield saod, “If you as a planner and scheduler or a quality person...its PM. If you ask sales....its neither until it has to be CM.”

Host Hussey said, “It depends on whether the failure is deemed acceptable (i.e. no significant impact on safety or the environment or that preventing failure is either not economical or not possible) or not.


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