|Plant Maintenance Resource Center
M-News Edition 8
Edition 8, May 2000
Welcome to the eighth edition of M-News, a free newsletter on topics of interest to Maintenance professionals, brought to you by the Plant Maintenance Resource Center.
We aim to bring you the latest news and views on what is happening in the world of Maintenance. If you wish to receive notification of future copies of this newsletter by email, please register here. If you have any feedback on the newsletter, or have something to contribute, please send me an e-mail.
In this edition...
This month's feature article is kindly provided by Richard Ellis of the RE Group, and was originally delivered to the Seventh International Conference on Process Plant Reliability. Asset utilization is a tool focused on uncovering your hidden plant by measuring the difference between what the asset is capable of producing and what it actually produces. This difference is referred to as the "opportunity gap." This article explores the concept of asset utilization in more detail by addressing the four components: people, processes, technology and information, that comprise effective asset utilization programs.
The full article can be read at
Our second feature article this month, is actually more of a feature book! The Reliability Handbook was originally published in January this year by Plant Engineering and Maintenance Magazine (PEM) in Canada only. It is authored by various members of the Physical Asset Management consulting group within PricewaterhouseCoopers, and edited by John Dixon Campbell, the author of Uptime, which was reviewed in Edition 6 of this newsletter. Courtesy of Plant Engineering and Maintenance Magazine, and the folk at PricewaterhouseCoopers, you can now view all 50 pages of this handbook by clicking here. Please note that this also is in Adobe Acrobat format, and requires Acrobat Reader to be installed on your computer to be able to read it. This is a free download, and you will find Acrobat Reader here. The handbook contains eight highly informative and topical articles relating to Reliability Management, including:
The full article can be read at
For the engineers among us who understand that the obvious is not always the solution, and that the facts, no matter how implausible, are still the facts ...this article can be read at
We have now added new categories to our lists of links at the Plant Maintenance Resource Center website. You can now find links to articles on Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) E-commerce at http://www.plant-maintenance.com/maintenance_articles_ebiz.shtml. In addition, links to MRO E-commerce websites are listed at http://www.plant-maintenance.com/MRO_vendors.shtml. The lists of links contained here are in their infancy - if you are aware of any other MRO E-commerce articles or websites, please let me know so I can add these to the listings.
The current Plant Maintenance Resource Center survey is on the subject of Maintenance and the Internet. Completing the survey will tell us what YOU use the internet for, and allow us to tailor our web site to best meet your needs. The survey closes on May 15, 2000, so if you haven't completed the survey yet, please do so. Survey responses are entirely confidential, and the results will be published on-line. Please tell all your friends and colleagues - the more responses we get, the higher the quality of the results. You can register your vote, or view the results to date at http://www.plant-maintenance.com/survey.shtml
This is one of the more popular books purchased through the Plant Maintenance Resource Center website, and is authored by the "recognized expert" (Plant Engineering, January 1990) Terry Wireman.
At 184 pages long, plus glossary and index, it is not a long book, but has plenty of "meat" to it, nonetheless. The book starts with an outline of WIremans' model for Maintenance Management, which forms the basis for organising the remainder of the book. This model is somewhat similar to that outlined in Campbell's Uptime (reviewed in Edition 6 of this newsletter), in that it is organised in a similar pyramid, and contains 11 elements, starting with Preventive Maintenance at the base of the pyramid, and working up to Continuous Improvement at the apex. The purpose of the book is not to go into detail regarding this model, and there are a number of aspects to this model that many would disagree with, but it nevertheless forms a useful basis for structuring the remainder of the book.
The bulk of the book (11 out of the 15 chapters) is spent discussing the Performance Indicators that can be used to measure performance in each of the 11 elements of Wireman's model (or Maintenance Functions, as he calls them). These Maintenance Functions are:
These 11 chapters really are the book's strength, with plenty of detail there to keep plenty of people happy. In all, over 80 performance indicators are discussed. More experienced maintenance professionals may find themselves nodding their heads in recognition of the points discussed, and less experienced folk will find themselves rapidly accelerated down the learning curve.
There are a few common themes throughout the discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the various indicators - most notably, the requirement for accurate data to be recorded at source.
There are a few areas that the book does not cover, however, that could have added the cream to the cake. Strangely enough, despite its title, the book does not suggest a process that could be used to select and/or develop the most appropriate performance measures at any particular site, and ensure that there is a high level of ownership of these performance measures amongst those whose performance is to be measured (thereby assisting with data accuracy). In addition, although the requirement to have Maintenance performance measures linked to, and congruent with, higher level corporate performance measures is mentioned, there is little discussion on how best to achieve this. Some discussion of Kaplan and Norton's Balanced Scorecard approach may have been appropriate here.
On another front, there is no discussion on how best to utilise performance measures for effective decision making. In my experience, many performance measurement systems are ineffective because the performance measurement system is not properly linked with organisational decision making systems - performance reports are issued, but never effectively used to assist with decision making. Once again, if the people who provide the source data are also involved in the decision making processes (and therefore using the data that they record), this can have a positive impact on data quality.
Finally, there aren't many maintenance organizations these days which aren't forced to pay attention to a range of performance measures related to safety - accident rates, severity rates etc., but none of these measures are discussed in the book.
Overall, though, the book is worth reading - particularly if you are new to the maintenance game and/or haven't yet got performance measures in place at your workplace - but experienced maintenance professionals will also find plenty of food for thought here.
This book may be purchased from amazon.com through the Plant Maintenance Resource Center. For more details, or to order it, visit http://www.plant-maintenance.com/books/0831130806.shtml.
A Programmer and an Engineer are sitting next to each other on a long flight from LA to NY. The Programmer leans over to the Engineer and asks if he would like to play a fun game. The Engineer just wants to take a nap, so he politely declines and rolls over to the window to catch a few winks.
The Programmer persists and explains that the game is real easy and a lotta fun. He explains "I ask you a question, and if you don't know the answer, you pay me $5. Then you ask me a question, and if I don't know the answer, I'll pay you $5."
Again, the Engineer politely declines and tries to get to sleep.
The Programmer, now somewhat agitated, says, "OK, if you don't know the answer you pay me $5, and if I don't know the answer, I'll pay you $50!"
This catches the Engineer's attention, and he sees no end to this torment unless he plays, so he agrees to the game. The Programmer asks the first question. "What's the distance from the earth to the moon?"
The Engineer doesn't say a word, but reaches into his wallet, pulls out a five dollar bill and hands it to the Programmer.
Now, it's the Engineer's turn. He asks the Programmer "What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down on four?"
The Programmer looks up at him with a puzzled look. He takes out his laptop computer and searches all of his references. He taps into the Airphone with his modem and searches the net and the Library of Congress. Frustrated, he sends e-mail to his co-workers -- all to no avail.
After about an hour, he wakes the Engineer and hands him $50. The Engineer politely takes the $50 and turns away to try to get back to sleep.
The Programmer, more than a little miffed, shakes the Engineer and asks "Well, so what's the answer?"
Without a word, the Engineer reaches into his wallet, hands the Programmer $5, and turns away to get back to sleep.
I hope you have enjoyed this newsletter. All feedback, comments and contributions to future editions are very welcome (as are enquiries about sponsorship of this newsletter).
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