What Can You Expect from a Maintenance and Reliability Assessment at the Corporate Level?

Yoann Urruty, Spartakus Technologies
Tags: maintenance and reliability, CMMS and EAM, reliability-centered maintenance

What Can You Expect From a Maintenance and Reliability Assessment at the Corporate Level?

Reliability refers to how consistent a plant's operation and performance are. Thus, a plant boasting high reliability demonstrates the capability to sustain consistent production levels, meet market demands, and avert unexpected asset failures and downtime.
According to findings and benchmarks from Solomon & Associates and Emerson, top-performing entities in the first quartile managed to cut maintenance costs by three to five times compared to their less successful counterparts. Simultaneously, their asset availability reached levels that were seven to 14 percent higher. The key to achieving these outcomes lies in adopting best practices in maintenance and reliability.

Source: RAM study, Solomon consulting

Embarking on this journey starts with a crucial initial step: benchmarking your organization against industry leaders. This process involves undergoing a comprehensive maintenance and reliability assessment, which, when executed correctly, yields a detailed action plan for you and your team.
A robust maintenance and reliability assessment should encompass various essential components to thoroughly evaluate the performance of a manufacturing plant and its maintenance practices. These foundational elements should revolve around the following core pillars:

Pillar 1: Asset Reliability Foundation

Pillar 2: Work Management

Pillar 3: Craft Skills

Pillar 4: Parts Management

Pillar 5: Reliability Engineering

Pillar 6: Leadership for Reliability

How to Properly Conduct the Assessment and Build the action Plan

Engage all stakeholders throughout the assessment process, including maintenance teams, operations, procurement, HSE, and management. This inclusive approach ensures a diverse perspective and secures buy-in for future improvement initiatives.
Complete the assessment within a timeframe of three days for a single manufacturing plant, allowing for 45-minute interviews with the mentioned personnel. Subsequently, compile findings into an Excel table detailing all action items. Prioritize these actions based on two criteria:
Effort to Implement:
1 = High effort
3 = Low effort
Effect/Impact after Implementation:
1 = Negligible impact
3 = High impact
Multiply the scores for each action item and sort them in descending order (9 to 1) to identify low-hanging fruit. Collaborate with key plant stakeholders to conduct the prioritization exercise. Once prioritization is complete:
  1. Identify the person responsible for each action item.
  2. Set reasonable deadlines for completion.

Example of a timeline for an action plan in a chemical facility


Consider the budget required for each item (determine if it falls under capex investment or regular maintenance budget).

This systematic approach ensures that improvement efforts are strategically aligned and responsibilities, timelines, and budget considerations are transparently established with input from all relevant stakeholders.

What Happens After?

After prioritizing and assigning responsibilities, the following steps involve:
  1. Identify a Champion: Designate a champion who will be held accountable for overseeing the implementation of the action plan. This individual should be committed, influential, and possess the necessary skills to drive change.
  2. Establish Recurring Meetings: Schedule recurring meetings immediately to ensure ongoing progress and address any challenges during the implementation phase. These meetings should involve key stakeholders to maintain alignment and commitment.
  3. Emphasize Collaboration: Stress the importance of collaboration and support from all organization members. Building a culture where reliability is seen as everyone's responsibility fosters a collective commitment to the improvement process.
  4. Leadership Involvement: Upper management should lead the change initiative and actively participate in the implementation process. Their visible support and engagement set the tone for the entire organization and reinforced the significance of the reliability improvement efforts.
  5. Continuous Improvement: Conclude by reminding readers that reliability in a manufacturing organization is an ongoing effort. The action plan should be regularly reviewed and updated to adapt to changing plant needs and industry trends. This ensures that the organization remains agile and responsive to evolving challenges.
  6. Just do it! You have spent time and effort on building this action plan. There is no excuse not to execute it! 
In summary, a successful maintenance and reliability assessment is characterized by its thoroughness, reliance on data, and a clear focus on achieving tangible improvements in equipment performance, uptime, and cost-effectiveness. It should be viewed as a dynamic and iterative process, with regular assessments and updates to stay aligned with evolving organizational needs and industry advancements.