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March 08, 2013

Facility Management Best Practices

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Facility Management Best Practices

building graphic image on Facility Management Best Practices page at Provista

If everyone at a facility is satisfied with the existing maintenance program, why should they be interested in facility management best practices? Studies show that most maintenance departments in the United States and Canada operate at between 10 and 40 percent efficiency and that nearly 70 percent of equipment failures are self-induced. These statistics should not be acceptable—not to upper management and certainly not to maintenance managers.

These facts should generate some amount of interest. Where does your maintenance department stand in relation  to these figures? Do you measure and track maintenance efficiency? Do you accumulate and analyze data on equipment failures? If not, then you probably have no idea if you are the same as, better, or worse than these averages.

What are best maintenance practices?

Best maintenance practices are defined in two categories: standards and methods. Standards are the measurable performance levels of maintenance execution; methods and strategies must be practiced in order to meet the standards. The combination of standards with methods and strategies provides the elements of an integrated planned maintenance system. Achievement of the best maintenance practice standards (Maintenance Excellence) is accomplished through an interactive and integrated series of links with an array of methods and strategies.

Before defining the standards for best maintenance practices, it is a good idea to make sure that there is common agreement on the definition of maintenance: To keep in its existing state; preserve; continue in good operating condition; protect.

Surprisingly, there are a number of people who do not know the meaning of maintenance—at least the way they practice maintenance would indicate this. In practice, the prevalent interpretation of maintenance is to “fix it when it breaks.” This is a good definition for repair, but not maintenance. This is reactive maintenance. Proactive maintenance is the mission.

To change the organization’s basic beliefs, it must identify the reasons why it does not follow these best practices in maintaining its equipment. Two of the more common reasons that a plant does not follow best maintenance repair practices are: Maintenance is totally reactive and does not follow the definition of maintenance, and the maintenance workforce lacks the discipline to follow best maintenance repair practices or management has not defined rules of conduct for best maintenance practices.

Proactive or reactive

The potential cost savings of best maintenance practices may be beyond the understanding or comprehension of some managers. They do not believe that repair practices directly impact an organization’s bottom line or profitability. More enlightened companies have demonstrated that, by reducing the self-induced failures, they can increase production capacity as much as 20 percent. Other managers accept lower reliability standards from maintenance efforts because either they do not understand the problem or they choose to ignore this issue. A good manager must be willing to admit to a maintenance problem and actively pursue a solution.

How can you actively pursue a solution? Be proactive, disciplined, and accountable, manage to maximize available resources, and manage based on information. Adopting a proactive approach to maintenance will improve its effectiveness dramatically and more rapidly than instituting an aggressive program of maintenance effectiveness improvement within the confines of the organizational and cultural environment of an existing, predominantly reactive maintenance program.

Strategic attributes of proactive maintenance

Planning for the implementation of best maintenance practices is essential. Timelines, personnel assignments,

documentation, and the other elements of a well-planned change must be developed before changes begin to take place. Proactive maintenance organization attributes fundamental to success include:

  • Maintenance skills training
  • Work flow analysis and required changes (organizational)
  • Work order system
  • Planned preventive maintenance tasks/procedures
  • Maintenance engineering development
  • Establishment, assignment, and training of planner-scheduler
  • Maintenance inventory and purchasing integration
  • Computerized maintenance management system
  • Management reporting/performance measurement and tracking
  • Return on investment (ROI) analysis
  • Evaluate and integrate use of contractors


Where to begin

Industry not only is failing to achieve best maintenance practice standards but, on the average, is not even approaching acceptable maintenance practices. You should answer two fundamental questions:

  1. Where does our facility or plant stand relative to best maintenance practices?
  2. Can we accept our existing maintenance effectiveness?

You must determine your acceptance level for performance. If you think it is time to bring you and your facility out of ineffectual practices and into cost saving, reliability enhanced, and recognizable distinction, you will need to establish best maintenance practices as your standards of performance. Hand-in-hand you must make a transition from a reactive maintenance organization to a totally proactive structure.

The process is not an overnight project. It will take time, effort, and planning to accomplish. Above all, the transition requires commitment from all levels of your organization. The tools and planning strategies presented here will help tremendously once that commitment is made.

Tools like Maximo from IBM and IBM Business Partner consulting and installation from Provista can help.

Provista – Exactly what you had in mind™

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