What are the signs and indicators that a site has its assets under control?
Bluefield are in the privileged position of visiting numerous sites, whether for asset inspections or as part of our Bluefield Transformation projects. An important skill for our specialists is being able to quickly understand whether a site has its assets under control through good maintenance and asset management practices, so we can assist our clients make fast and valuable improvements. We asked our team the following question:
When you first get onto a site, what are the signs you look for that indicate whether a site has good Asset Management performance?
Office housekeeping, then workshop housekeeping, then equipment condition, then completed PM checklists. I know by then the maintenance performance. If the maintenance is good, then I will look at the life cycle management which completed the AM review.
Even before getting to site a desktop review of performance metrics would give an indication of effectiveness of the asset management effort. Metrics to analyse could include Availability, OEE, %PMs, %PM Completion, %Subsequent PMs, %Scheduled vs Unscheduled work & downtime, Safety KPIs, etc.
The state of the visible tools used to track performance and present information (i.e. Lean boards, action boards, presentation screens, bulletin boards). A good start for sites to have these in place – but when looking at them closely it is interesting to note if these are kept up to date and present the latest information. Also, interesting to see how many people stop and look at these tools.
Another good indicator is the status of actions – one site in particular had actions that were dated back 12+ months with no movement or progress. Others showed actions that had been postponed multiple times. These can be on action boards, within meeting minutes, or within the site register.
All of the above (of course), but also the behaviour of the various levels. Are supervisors rushing around or purposefully in control of their day? Are trades organised with spares & tools ready to go, safety gear in place with tidy work areas? Are planning meetings well run and everyone showing up to meetings? Are maintenance offices an ad-hoc spares area? Does the maintenance manager walk through the workshop and get asked meaningful questions? Are operations clued into the importance of asset management? Are they allowing sufficient time to do the crucial maintenance tasks? Are they overloading the machines or damaging them often?
Just small clues showing that a site is in control of the execution of The Plan.
Stefan Van Der Linde
From an Asset management perspective an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the asset is a good start. Do the operators/maintainers know the limitations of the asset? For example, with a mill I worked at recently, they don’t have a clear understanding of what the mill is able to handle in terms of tonnage per hour/charge weight etc.
From a maintenance perspective, I think availability needs to be looked at to see how stable it is. Is the machine reliable, i.e. does it produce a PREDICTABLE availability month by month? The trouble with looking at a fleet’s availability averages over a year is that it doesn’t show its stability. Does it have a month of >90% availability a followed by a major breakdown of 70% availability giving an average of 80% or is it 80% month by month? This is a major point for production as having stable availability (or high reliability) can be sometimes more effective than a higher average availability but that varies dramatically month by month.
As soon as you come in the gate you get an overall impression of a site from the ownership/pride in how it looks, even if it is an older site. Housekeeping is good, vehicles parked in marked parks, a bit of paint brightens up the place, notice boards display current information on appliance tags, lifting gear etc. Workshops have a place for everything, and everything is back there. Up to date metrics are displayed with comments and actions to correct or thumbs up for good progress. People are keen to have a yarn about what they are working on and good things happening.
In fixed plants, operators are the ‘first aid’ people, and will engage in maintenance discussions.
All of this doesn’t mean it is Nirvana, just people who have a solid maintenance culture and leaders who are consistent and persistent with their messaging.