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When a Maintenance Schedule KPI Compliance Focus Hurts the Business

Author: Colin Sheldon

Have you ever seen a maintenance schedule compliance KPI (Key Performance Indicator) dashboard proudly showcasing 100% completion and adherence to plan, and yet the operation is struggling with breakdowns, poor availability and reliability?

Bluefield has seen this on many occasions. When more importance is placed on meeting schedule compliance KPIs than the truthful representation of the state of the planning and execution functions, the result is poor business performance.

Work orders are the mechanism by which mine sites allocate work and ensure asset strategies are executed. Often, they are grouped into multiple checks within a single document for neatness and consolidate the number of overall work orders generated in a scheduled period.

The success of the plan during this schedule period is predominantly determined by the percentage of work orders completed vs work orders planned. This metric is often available via the CMMS to the whole organisation and chain of command – from the planner and scheduler, to the site manager and through to corporate management.

This metric has a great deal of emphasis placed on it, but looking at this metric alone can have negative consequences.

In efforts to ensure a positive KPI, Bluefield has seen planners close work orders on the instruction of supervisors confirming they have completed the work but lost the paperwork.

Even worse, Bluefield has seen maintenance teams leave a truck broken down, even though it would have been a quick fix to return it to service, just to ensure this “break in” work didn’t affect their KPIs.

There should be less pressure placed on the metric and more emphasis placed on the true representation of the schedule compliance.

It’s not just whole work orders either. Where multiple maintenance tasks exist within a single PM check sheet, incomplete inspections can often be masked or hidden within the larger work order, especially where the WO is marked as ‘complete’ and is closed as such within the CMMS.

Bluefield has previously written about inaction being a major cause of condition monitoring program failures (see here), and this mechanism of hidden missed inspections is one which features prominently within.

This was exemplified on a recent asset audit. Bluefield noted a subsection of a work order was consistently marked as incomplete. The work order itself was marked as ‘complete’ within the CMMS and on the physical work order front page despite this area of the machine missing its intended inspection.

Bluefield found a change in site procedure had labelled this particular machine-zone as a ‘confined space’ and as such the maintainers were unable to complete the task.

Such tasks should be assessed as part of a strategy change if the task is to be removed, or the correct risk management tools, safety equipment and training provided to prepare the maintainers with what they need.