Breaking out of the Reactive Maintenance Cycle of Doom

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This title may sound melodramatic, but if you suffer constant breakdowns and you have had limited success gaining control of your maintenance program, this title really should resonate.

The good news is, there is a way out of the reactive maintenance cycle of doom. If you would prefer to focus on this process rather than the larger goals set by the Asset Reliability Transformation® process, then you are in good hands.

As a subset of the ART process, we have defined twelve major steps that will enable you to drastically reduce the volume of breakdowns that you experience. Some of the steps will enable you to perform corrective maintenance more efficiently. Many of the steps are designed to help you avoid future failures. And some of the steps enable you to prioritize your activities so that you achieve the desired outcome more quickly.

The wrong paths

There is a right way and a wrong way to do everything. Sadly, many organizations faced with high levels of reactive maintenance go down the wrong paths:

  • They engage consultants who perform detailed analysis and define a new maintenance plan that you are left to try and implement. In most cases, the plan is not implemented or is found to be severely lacking.
  • They define a new time-based maintenance strategy, with or without consultants, that only has minor benefits.
  • They implement a condition monitoring program that is capable of detecting fault conditions well into the future, but the maintenance department is still fighting fires. There is no point in seeing the future if you cannot deal with the present.
  • They buy precision maintenance tools and assume they will automatically begin performing precision maintenance.
  • Due to a need to reduce costs, the headcount of the maintenance department is reduced, only making things worse. Of course, this plan is inflicted upon the maintenance department rather than being seen as a solution to the maintenance issues.
  • They keep doing the same things and expect a different result. With the best intentions, there is a hope that time will become available to take care of the maintenance issues. The time never becomes available.

Should we follow ART rather than focusing on the reactive maintenance cycle of doom?

In truth, you probably should. The ART process includes two phases that will benefit your efforts to reduce reactive maintenance:

  • The VALUE phase will enable you to define the business case for improving reliability (reducing the amount of breakdown maintenance) and it will convince senior management to support your initiative. That support is not just financial; it sends a message to everyone that reliability is important. It can be difficult to change the way the maintenance department has behaves unless everyone is engaged in the process. It is difficult to achieve that level of engagement unless there is support from the highest levels within the organization.
  • The PEOPLE phase takes advantage of the senior management support and ensures that everyone is motivated to improve reliability, and they have the skills and knowledge to make a difference. One of the primary goals is to change the corporate culture and create an army of people who are all motivated to make improvements. Without this phase, you may face resistance because you will be changing the way you have always done things. People don’t like to change unless they understand the benefits of that change, and unless they can contribute to the process.

Having said all that, we recognize that not everyone wishes to engage with senior management or attempt to change the corporate culture. As a result, we have created this course and written a book, that narrows the focus to the maintenance department. It will enable you to have the best chance of reducing reactive maintenance without senior management support or supportive culture.

We hope that once you have broken out of the reactive maintenance cycle of doom, you may cycle back and revisit the Asset Reliability Transformation process. Senior management will be delighted with the improvements you have made and are sure to provide the support that you require.

Note: you may be wondering why the STRATEGY phase was not listed above. If you go ahead with our plan to break out of the reactive maintenance cycle of doom, the essential components of the STRATEGY phase will be included in the process taught two.

What are the goals of the course?

If you take this course, you will be armed with the knowledge and strategy to break out of the reactive maintenance cycle of doom. You will be provided with a slide book and the published book “Breaking out of the reactive maintenance cycle of doom” by Jason Tranter. The training will help you to understand how each step in the strategy relates to each other and why they should be performed in the order and manner that we described. The published book will serve as a useful reminder and guidance as you go through the process. We do not expect you to remember everything that you learned on the course.

Course Agenda

The following is a brief outline of the course:

  1. OVERVIEW: The course begins with an overview of the process.
  2. UNDERSTANDING FAILURE: The course then explains some fundamental principles related to equipment failure. That knowledge will enable you to appreciate why the steps outlined in this process will work.
  3. THE FUNDAMENTALS: The course next focuses on some groundwork you must perform in order to set yourself up for success. Without these fundamentals, it will be almost impossible to be successful.
  4. SETTING PRIORITIES: You can save a huge amount of time if you identify the equipment that consumes most of your resources (i.e. breaks down most frequently). Will provide a simple process that enables you to do that.
  5. GETTING ORGANIZED: Next we focus on improving the maintenance processes. The primary focus is on establishing basic planning and scheduling and an efficient spares/materials management process. This step ensures that more work can be performed with the same number of people. That means that the right work can be done.
  6. IMPROVING THE FUTURE: Next we will focus on the steps that can be taken to eliminate future failures. We can’t just improve the efficiency of the breakdown maintenance we must reduce the number of breakdowns.
  7. SEE THE FUTURE: and finally, we will take our first steps into condition monitoring that enables us to see the breakdowns coming. The clearer that we can see the future, the better prepared we will be to deal with those breakdowns.

The course will also discuss how many additional people you will need to employ in order to implement this process. The good news is, you will not need to employ any additional people.

Is there a certification program?

No, there is not.

Training Options

We have compressed the training into a single day so that it does not take you away from your facility for an extended period.

Public course with an experienced instructor

You can attend the training at a public venue. The schedule of those events can be found here.

On-site course with an instructor who can help you relate the course content with your unique situation
And you can invite one of our training partners to deliver the course on site. The more people you including that training from the maintenance department and the operations/production department, the better. You may like to consider inviting the department to visit the plant ahead of time so that he or she understands your situation a little better and thus can make comments about your situation while delivering the training.

Online distance learning

You can also take the training online as a distance learning course. The beauty of this option is that you can learn and relearn. The distance learning lessons can also be added to your Asset Reliability Knowledge-center [ARK] system so it can be tracked in your learning management system.

Guided “Break-out” education

While the training described above is an essential part of breaking out of the reactive maintenance cycle of doom, we have also developed step-by-step guidance in video format that overviews the goals of the program, describes each of the steps, and then describes each of the recommended practices. Rather than simply educating you on the process as one continuous course, this web-based system enables you to learn what you must do when you are attempting to do it.

There are 12 steps in the process and a total of 85 recommended practices. Dividing each step up into recommended practices makes it far easier to understand exactly what it is you should be trying to do.

You can order the guided “break-out” system here.

Learn even more

If you are interested, we also have training on some of the essential elements of the process, however that training will go further than is required to “simply” break out of the reactive maintenance cycle of doom.

For example, you need to establish the fundamental elements of a planning and scheduling process to get reactive maintenance under control. The requirements are covered in the training described thus far. We also offer a more detailed online module that describes the bigger picture of work management (including planning and scheduling).

The same is also true for spares management, condition monitoring, asset strategy development (including preventive maintenance optimization), asset criticality ranking and Pareto analysis, culture change, root cause analysis, and other topics.

All of these modules will help, but it is important to follow the guidance provided in the “breaking out of the reactive maintenance cycle of doom” training course and the guided “Break-out” education otherwise you will aim to high and thus waste your time.

You can learn more about those courses here.