Executive Summary

“ABC Dairies” has to satisfy the requirements of its customers, its shareholders and the various regulators associated with the food industry.  ABC’s milk processing has unique characteristics; deliveries in season are ceaseless and the milk must be processed as quickly and economically as possible knowing that yet more is on its way. 

Plant availability is essential to ensure that the processing can outstrip delivery and that optimum added value can be attained.  The plant assets represent a substantial investment and as well as being able to demonstrate a high return must deliver high availability and reliable operation at the lowest cost.

Maintenance has a key contribution to make and the senior management is now looking at ways in which performance improvements and attaining standards of World-Class maintenance performance and CSA were engaged to conduct a high-level auditing and benchmarking study of the maintenance activities across the site.  It was found that plant availability levels equate to average/good benchmarking values.  However, it was felt that this is largely due to the relatively light mechanical loads on the plant and the processes being clean and using few volatile substances or chemicals.

Whilst one to one relationships between departmental managers appear sound, there is a general acceptance that the current maintenance function is not working.  This, despite the maintenance team having high levels of experience, a good team spirit, a willingness to use the CMMS, and being keen to develop themselves and the systems they work with.

Common problems throughout the site are communication and the availability of information.  There are no regularly scheduled cross-departmental management meetings at a tactical or operational level and even if these did take place (which they should) maintenance as a function within the site does not appear to have much kudos despite managing machine assets valued at €99m.

This culture, a lack of management development and leadership in the maintenance department sees the maintenance function being perceived as operating to their own agenda and providing a reactive rather than proactive service.

A culture exists where the maintenance function does not share its customers’ sense of urgency.

As well as frustrating the fitters and electricians and stifling improvement opportunities this is posing distinct threats to business operations regarding quality and safety compliance in that;     Customer audits are requesting evidence of planned maintenance activities and none exist (Evidence in Quality meetings agenda)

  •     The fitters and electricians are not working to statutory safety requirements (lockout procedures, permit to work systems etc.)

A planned maintenance regime does not exist in any recognised sense, the CMMS is being utilised to less than 5% of its capability (primarily for manhour accounting and cost codes [poorly], with very poor equipment history compilation).  The lack of a an Asset Register means that identification of even major items is ad hoc, although with no formal job register this is academic as no traceable records are produced (except for those driven by safety or compliance demands where the departmental manager manages the events and maintain their own work history records!).

This undisciplined situation is reflected in the stores and spares provisioning.  A large proportion of the spares held are not on the ‘system’ (estimated at 20%).  Those on the system do not appear to be appropriate, as ‘robbing’ (the removal of a serviceable component from one area of the plant to another to meet short-term needs) is not uncommon.  Bi-annual stock checks often reveal º8-10k discrepancies.

Budget control and attribution appears to have emerged historically to a point where it needs a complete re-organisation in the light of current business demands and boundaries.  Anomalies include no separate safety budget, some staff who clearly carry out a maintenance function not falling within the maintenance budget and contractors’ hours and materials not being differentiated.

There are obvious advantages to addressing this state of affairs and a raft of other more specific maintenance and associated practices this report details.  This starts with the fundamental identification of the maintenance objectives, maintenance control, a work planning system, workload and manning structure and planned and preventative maintenance based on asset life plans.

These recommendations are aimed at increasing production through increased asset reliability and availability.  They will also optimise spares holdings and overall maintenance management practices.

Typically, just the establishment of management systems realises an initial 1-3% sustainable improvement in production capacity (£20k-60k p.a.) with continuous improvement targeting an ongoing increase of 1-2% p.a.  Additionally, an initial reduction of up to 25% of spares holdings is attainable, with the revised holdings better geared to actual usage and needs and at no increased risk of “out of stock” situations arising (saving approximately £25k year on year).

CSA have implemented cost effective maintenance improvement programs for many leading manufacturers. For a no obligation initial chat; please complete the form and we will be happy to contact you to discuss how we may be able to help you.