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M-News Edition 24
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M-News - the Maintenance Newsletter

Edition 24, April 2002


In this edition...
Feature Article - The Scoreboard for Maintenance Excellence
Feature Article - Maintenance Management - The Planned State
Feature Article - What is the True Downtime Cost?
Feature Article - Root Cause Analysis Case Study
Limited Time Offer - FREE Three Months Trial Subscription to Uptime
Survey Results - Maintenance Salaries
Current Survey - Condition Monitoring and NDT Practices
Recommended Books
On the Lighter Side - Engineering Humor

If you wish to receive notification of future copies of this newsletter by email, please register at If you have any feedback on the newsletter, or have something to contribute, please send me an e-mail.

Feature Article - The Scoreboard for Maintenance Excellence

This article is the second in a series of five offered by Pete Peeters of the Maintenance Excellence Institute which presents a strategic approach to Maintenance and Reliability Improvement. An introduction to the entire series can be read at The first article was featured in last month's issue, Edition 23. This second article is titled "The Scoreboard for Maintenance Excellence", and gets down to the detailed level of "determining where you are?" with actually applying today's best practices for maintenance. It introduces The Scoreboard for Maintenance Excellence as a benchmarking tool to assess your current operation. It addresses very specifically 27 major evaluation categories with 300 evaluation criteria. This article also defines how you can develop your own unique Scoreboard for Maintenance Excellence for continuously evaluating progress on your journey to Maintenance excellence. The full article can be read at Note that you will need to have the free Adobe Acrobat reader installed to be able to view this file. We will progressively feature additional articles in this series in future issues of this newsletter, but if, in the meantime, you would like to receive the entire series, we would suggest that you contact Pete Peeters via email at

Feature Article - Maintenance Management - The Planned State

This article was offered by Daryl Mather. It argues that, at many organisations, the reason that Maintenance is largely reactive is because their Maintenance Management processes have have failed to keep pace with rapidly moving technologies. It suggests that the path to improvement consists of six steps - Business Rules and Guides, CMMS System, Work Process Definition, Equipment Strategies, Exception and Functional Reports, KPI Reports (Key Performance Indicators). This article is available at Note that you will need to have the free Adobe Acrobat reader installed to be able to view this file.

Feature Article - What is the True Downtime Cost?

This article from Don Fitchett of the Business Industrial Network argues that the key to realizing greater savings from more informed management decisions is to predetermine the "True" cost of downtime for each profit center category. It also outlines the True Downtime Cost (TDC) methodology for analyzing all cost factors associated with downtime, and using this information for cost justification and day to day management decisions. You can read this article at Once again, you will need to have the free Adobe Acrobat reader installed to be able to view this file.

Feature Article - Root Cause Analysis Case Study

This article, submitted by Dr Bill Corcoran of Nuclear Safety Review Concepts, is a Root Cause Analysis case study (using the PhoenixTM methodology) of an accident involving the death of a fourteen-year-old girl at a ski area, and argues that as we use technology to improve our lives we need to understand the limits of design and the potential dangers of safety devices. You can read the full article at Note that you will need to have the free Adobe Acrobat reader installed to be able to view this file.

Limited Time Offer - FREE Three Months Trial Subscription to Uptime

We are pleased to offer to M-News newsletter readers and subscribers a three month FREE trial subscription to the Process Plant & Equipment UP-TIME newsletter produced by Feed Forward Publications. This is a limited time offer, and will only be available to those who register for the trial subscription before June 15, 2002. If you were to purchase these three issues individually, then this would cost you A$45 (about US$25) - so this is an excellent value-for-money offer.

To our knowledge, there is no other newsletter available which is specifically targeted at improving shop-floor level knowledge and skills, allowing them to proactively engage in maintenance and reliability improvement. We think that once you have started receiving and sharing the newsletter with your Plant Operators and Maintenance workforce, you will soon discover the value that it can bring to your organization. We are sure that you will then choose to subscribe to the newsletter on a more permanent basis.

Survey Results - Maintenance Salaries

This survey was conducted between January 15 and March 15 this year, with valid responses received from 180 participants.

A full analysis can be read at, but in summary, the main conclusions from this survey are:

  • Overall, salaries seem to have risen fairly significantly.
  • Salary levels have risen significantly in US$ terms in the United Kingdom, however, this is could largely be a result of the increased number of respondents from this country, and the corresponding change in the mix of respondents from the UK.
  • Salary levels appear to have dropped significantly in US$ terms in Canada, however it may be that last year's result was abnormally high.
  • Experience and Education continue to have a significant impact on salaries in the Maintenance sector.
  • Plant/Maintenance Engineers are better paid than Maintenance Supervisors/Foremen.
  • Maintenance Planners continue to be paid significantly less than Maintenance Foremen/Supervisors, a sad indictment on the value that industry continues to place on this role which is vital for ongoing plant reliability, and for the effective and efficient use of maintenance labour.
  • Manufacturing:Machinery and Equipment continues to appear to be the best paid industry sector for Maintenance workers.

Current Survey - Condition Monitoring and NDT Practices

Which Condition Monitoring and NDT techniques do you use at your workplace? Do you use contractors to perform these tasks? Which techniques give you the best results? Let us know in this survey which will remain open until May 15, 2002. You can complete the survey, or view the results to date at

Recommended Books

View our current Top 5 recommended books, and the current Top Ten Best Selling Maintenance Books at

On the Lighter Side - Engineering Humor

A rather inhibited engineer finally splurged on a luxury cruise to the Caribbean. It was the "craziest" thing he had ever done in his life. Just as he was beginning to enjoy himself, a hurricane roared upon the huge ship, capsizing it like a child's toy. Somehow the engineer, desperately hanging onto a life preserver, managed to wash ashore on a secluded island.

Outside of beautiful scenery, a spring-fed pool, bananas and coconuts, there was little else. He lost all hope and for hours on end, sat under the same palm tree. One day, after several months had passed, a gorgeous woman in a small rowboat appeared.

"I'm from the other side of the island," she said. "Were you on the cruise ship, too?" "Yes, I was, " he answered. "But where did you get that row boat?"

"Well, I whittled the oars from gum tree branches, wove the reinforced gunnel from palm branches, and made the keel and stern from a Eucalyptus tree."

"But, what did you use for tools?" asked the man.

"There was a very unusual strata of alluvial rock exposed on the south side of the island. I discovered that if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into forgeable ductile iron. Anyhow, that's how I got the tools. But, enough of that," she said. "Where have you been living all this time? I don't see any shelter."

"To be honest, I've just been sleeping on the beach," he said.

"Would you like to come to my place?" the woman asked. The engineer nodded dumbly.

She expertly rowed them around to her side of the island, and tied up the boat with a handsome strand of hand-woven hemp topped with a neat back splice. They walked up a winding stone walk she had laid around a Palm tree. There stood an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white.

"It's not much, but I call it home." Inside, she said, "Sit down please; would you like to have a drink?"

"No, thanks," said the man. "One more coconut juice and I'll throw up!"

"It won't be coconut juice," the woman replied. "I have a crude still out back, so we can have authentic Pina Coladas."

Trying to hide his amazement, the man accepted the drink, and they sat down on her couch to talk. After they had exchanged stories, the woman asked, "Tell me, have you always had a beard?"

"No," the man replied, "I was clean shaven all of my life until I ended up on this island."

"Well if you'd like to shave, there's a razor upstairs in the bathroom cabinet."

The man, no longer questioning anything, went upstairs to the bathroom and shaved with an intricate bone-and-shell device honed razor sharp. Next he showered -- not even attempting to fathom a guess as to how she managed to get warm water into the bathroom -- and went back downstairs. He couldn't help but admire the masterfully carved banister as he walked.

"You look great," said the woman. "I think I'll go up and slip into something more comfortable."

As she did, the man continued to sip his Pina Colada. After a short time, the woman, smelling faintly of gardenias, returned wearing a revealing gown fashioned out of pounded palm fronds.

"Tell me," she asked, "we've both been out here for a very long time with no companionship. You know what I mean. Have you been there anything that you really, really miss? Something that all men and woman need? Something that would be really nice to have right now!"

"Yes there is!" the man replied, shucking off his shyness. "There is something I've wanted to do for so long. But on this island all alone, it was just...well, it was impossible."

"Well, it's not impossible, any more," the woman said.

The man, practically panting in excitement, said breathlessly: "You mean you actually figured out some way we can check our e-mail here?"

I hope you have enjoyed this newsletter. All feedback, comments and contributions to future editions are very welcome (as are enquiries about contributions to, and sponsorship of, this newsletter).

Alexander (Sandy) Dunn
Plant Maintenance Resource Center

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