Operations & Maintenance under the microscope

A company in the chemical industry suspected weaknesses in the maintenance of its production. One indicator was that more than 80% of maintenance orders were reactive, even though a high proportion of maintenance should be for preventive measures. The consequences of this unfavorable situation are considerable losses in Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and throughput.

As external specialists with a neutral view, it was T.A. Cook's task to carry out an in-depth analysis of the situation and, on this basis, make suggestions for optimization. The following potential was identified:


More Throughput


Increase in Maintenance Efficiency


Benefits in Materials Management (OEE & Throughput)


Savings in Modern Organization & Good Practice Processes (Efficiency & Cost)


Over a period of three weeks, T.A. Cook and a team of three to five experts analyzed the current situation. This involved looking at a wide range of areas, including maintenance, reliability, and shutdown management. The analysis also required holding discussions at various levels and taking a deep look at the organization, bottlenecks, the consistency of the IT systems, especially in operations & maintenance with 5 different systems, as well as cross-interface processes and management systems. Then, among other issues, the following weaknesses were revealed:

- No active OEE management adressing losses and waste
- There is no integrated IT, but work is done with several different IT systems
- Performance measurement is virtually non-existent
- The management level shows little active leadership
- Crucial core functions within the maintenance organization are missing
- Shutdown management shows significant deficits.

All points culminated in the realization that the company was suffering from inefficient resource and cost management in the area of maintenance, a lack of operational key figures and inefficient core processes with an impact on production costs, quality-related processes and throughput.


T.A. Cook developed a two-step plan to address the problems and thereby increase effectiveness and efficiency. With these measures, T.A. Cook predicts at a total savings potential of EUR 3.5 to 4.1 million per year.

The 1st phase of the step-by-step plan lays the foundation. T.A. Cook proposes optimizations in the areas of maintenance, material management, availability, and performance and shutdown management. The goal is to achieve higher overall plant efficiency combined with a significantly increased throughput of approximately 16%. Some examples of individual measures are:

-    Optimization of the production planning process under the premise of not causing any production downtime due to self-inflicted resource shortages
-    Performance of RCA (Root Cause Analysis) on bottleneck machines with the aim of improving availability (improving maintenance effectiveness)
-    Improvement of shutdown management (preparation and implementation).
-    Establishment of a modern maintenance organization with clear roles & responsibilities and definition of a systematic order management process
-    Establishment of a robust KPI system for daily, weekly and monthly performance management in maintenance, production and process quality management.

Phase 2 serves to stabilize and sustainably establish the measures introduced in phase 1. In addition, the production and, in particular, the organization are critically examined. This includes the number of shifts, the shift factor and the roles and responsibilities of the functions. The production/maintenance interface is also to be improved through clear roles and responsibilities.

The fact that there is a need for action was undisputed among the decision-makers after the need for optimization had been revealed.

"Most of the points we have crystallized here are very typical weak points at manufacturing companies. It is also often the case that companies already know this or at least suspect it. We can verify this impression with our analysis methods and substantiate it with figures, data, facts and communicate it transparently."

Bernd Zanger, Principal at T.A. Cook, Analysis and Project Manager

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