Steve Krone, Nutec Facilities Corp | 4 Min Read
Does it make sense for industrial maintenance departments to outsource maintenance? And, if so, is it profitable or value-added?
The answer to those questions depends upon whether the intent is to support Facility Services or Process Maintenance Services on hi-tech machine tools.
The answer could be “yes” for both areas, provided that the contract language for services as well as corrective action steps are developed prior to contractor selections.
Maintenance organizations seldom implement training programs to enhance maintenance staff capabilities. Staff learn on the go, and as they approach retirement age, these senior staff are frequently on their own, without junior staff to learn the skills necessary to work on the equipment and move into the retiree’s position – it is just too expensive for most companies to justify.
Maintenance organizations consistently strive to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of the maintenance departments, even going as far as to describe the department as a “cost center.” However, when you ask the question – what is maintenance? – the reality is that the departments don’t create a product or provide revenue. They are an expense to the organization.
Maintenance is evaluated by the length of time it takes to perform a duty. Departments strive to reduce the downtown on equipment by measuring the mean-time between failures (MTBF) and mean-time to repair (MTTR). Both of these measurements support reduction in downtime stats. However, these stats often drive a different behavior that prevents achievement of the true 85% or better Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) levels required by operations to produce a product. Because of this, work orders are seldom entered into the work order system and accurate information is not provided to accounting and manufacturing engineers to evaluate the next criteria equipment for replacement with capital each year. This drives the wrong behavior as it relates to organizational downtime stats for production / maintenance to use as an accurate tool for improvements and information flow.
Facility Services typically perform work on equipment that has very detailed preventative maintenance instructions. These instructions should exist to ensure that staff does the same thing the same way every time and without errors. Maintenance staff that are provided with systemic instructions about the preventative maintenance routine can thus perform their work in a reasonable time with average knowledge. In these cases, the maintenance organization can save approximately 20% per year, lowering expenses when compared with the normal yearly expense costs when using facility service outsourcing.
Examples of these types of jobs include:
Maintaining plant lighting
Preventative maintenance on HVAC equipment
Hoist preventative maintenance to meet OSHA Standards
New and relocated equipment installations
ARC Flash and Lockout/Tagout equipment tagging
Various utility drops to equipment
Parts distribution including maintenance and production