Check Your KPIs

Alan Friedman, Zenco

Check Your KPIs

When it comes to maintaining your assets, how do you know if you are doing a good job or not? When you implement a new program or technology at your plant, how do you measure the return on investment? Over many years, I have noticed that people are notoriously bad at this. They purchase new equipment or implement new policies without being crystal clear about their goals and how they will measure progress.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs help us measure our progress. The clearer your goals are, the easier it will be to come up with KPIs to measure whether you are reaching them or not. Let’s take an example of a plant purchasing ultrasound equipment to aid in properly greasing bearings. We know that over-greasing bearings lead to premature failure and that ultrasound technology can help us solve this problem. We invest in the technology and the training, but how do we measure the impact of what we are doing? 
If greasing bearings better extends their life, then Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) is an appropriate KPI to measure. We can look at the average bearing life we were getting before and after implementing this technology. If we are doing things correctly, the bearings should last longer.

Show me the Money!!!

We intuitively know that extending bearing life is a good thing, but before your supervisor plans a parade in your honor, she will want to see the money. You invested in a new tool; what’s the return on this investment? 
Every time you replace a bearing, you must pay for the new part, the labor to change it and downtime. Even if you are repairing a planned outage, you should include downtime because you could have shorter planned outages if your assets were more reliable. These values should be easy to come by. Every bearing you did not replace this year (compared with before you started using ultrasound) is money saved. 
If you grease bearings only when they actually need it, you are probably also saving money on grease. Track it, quantify it, and report it. 

What Else?  

Are there other benefits associated with extending bearing life that can be measured and quantified? Consider a reduction in accidents, environmental events and regulatory issues associated with catastrophic bearing failures. If so, measure it, quantify it and report it.


It is not enough to do a good job. We need to measure the effect of our actions, quantify what a good job we are doing and report it. It often comes down to money, so KPIs should include financial investment returns. Time spent clarifying your goals and determining how you will measure success is time well spent!
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About the Author

Alan Friedman, aka the Vibe Guru, has over 30 years of vibration analysis experience, He has trained 1000’s of students arou...