Maintenance organization gets a check-up

Consulting partner T.A. Cook discovered potential maintenance optimization gains of €2.9 million for a specialty chemical company’s global maintenance operation. Employing new technologies, T.A. Cook came up with the means to compare the dispersed maintenance teams’ global performance. Tablets were introduced to the Europe-based engineering teams who were asked to record the time-on-tools data. Here are the key results:

€2.9M

in potential savings in maintenance and repair costs

10%

of the total current technical budget could be saved

c

Significant increase in plant uptime

Approach

The specialists at T.A. Cook developed a tool kit to review performance across a global industrial maintenance and repair operation. The new tools allowed technicians to carry out their check up at the various locations and departments throughout the corporation. T.A. Cook tailored their tried and tested tools from the petrochemical industry to the particular needs of the specialist chemical branch including expertise in data and cost evaluation, process analysis, field studies and benchmarking.

11 key performance indicators were identified and then compared. These figures gave an indication of the state of the corporation’s operational and procedural structure. Sequential processes were visualized in flow charts as this is the area where most bottlenecks and unproductive anomalies occur. The charts helped identify issues around coordination, communication difficulties and weak spots in the logistics chain.

The next step was to investigate the infrastructure for status notifications, orders and costs. The specialists were then able to generate and overview of how the corporation commissioned and assigned work and how they generally operated. The time-on-tools data was also integrated into the study at this stage. This data showed the specialists which time periods were more or less productive at the plants; it also showed the time required to carry out certain tasks. This was the first-time explosion-proof tablets and a new app developed specifically for the study were used. This enabled the engineers to record the exact times and reduced their workload by 50%. The resulting analyses and benchmarking helped create an image of the true state of maintenance and repair operations. Finally, all the data was aggregated and concentrated into specific metrics to provide management with a basis for their decisions on strategic changes to the maintenance and repair operations.

Achievements

As an average, the organization made savings of up to 10% in technical volume across the whole business. The savings were made by implementing a mix of increased efficiency, increased focus on important areas, and a reboot of the maintenance operations. The introduction of a preventative maintenance program and the avoidance of unnecessary downtime to maintenance operations lead to significant increases in line and plant uptime. Maintenance costs sank. Further savings were made by questioning the decision and operational procedures regarding plant improvements and the standardization and availability of specialized knowledge and training for employees.

“We discuss the results of the investigations with the various management levels. As we harvest the data, we involve the local engineers in the daily feedback rounds. This is how we both ensure that we aren’t incorrectly interpreting the readings and gain acceptance among the workers. Just like the saying ‘Self-awareness is the first step to success.”

Marco Wagner, Manager at T.A. Cook

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