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Create your most effective maintenance strategy with RCM

Create your most effective maintenance strategy with RCM

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We have found that most operations in our heavy industrial asset sectors can still expect significant increases to reliability, throughput and profits resulting directly from improvements to the way in which maintenance is set up and managed. Sometimes this is because maintenance has traditionally been seen as a cost and budgets have been over-cut.

More frequently, though, a combination effect can be observed with the organization finding that traditional improvement initiatives are losing resonance, pressures to maintain production lead to high and increasing reactive workloads and knowledge and experience that rests with a few seasoned individuals is being lost as they retire.  False or out-of-date assumptions related to commercial or supply chain requirements can often be the start of a sequence of sub-optimal decisions which impact performance and lead to excessive costs. Having a realistic understanding of operations and commercial realities allows for maintenance strategies to be optimized.

Key Challenges


of activities are spent on reactive work in a firefighting mode


of maintenance staff feel overwhelmed by a backlog-wave

~ 1%

of applicable data is used to drive decision making and to manage the business


adapt their maintenance strategies to current business plans

Our Strategy & Solutions

T.A. Cook’s teams of specialized consultants, engineers and development coaches provide a unique approach to operational challenges to develop and implement programs that increase and sustain our clients’ profitability. Each project is run by T.A. Cook with client participation throughout and governed by clear accountabilities, milestones and expectation of measurable benefits. The first 25% of the project focuses on design and definition of the detailed activities with associated resources to reach challenging but achievable goals.

During the core phase, we switch to finding specific solutions, improving processes and organizing for success. Where in-house knowledge and answers are not readily available, we are able to bring a range of best practices, tools and techniques which are transferred to the client organization and provide the basis for continuous improvement. During the last 25% of the project, the foundation for genuine sustainability is set through audits, checks and iterative improvements​.

Our Service Offering

Current State Analysis​

Many businesses have either conducted an analysis in the past and are broadly aware of which improvements could be made or have never received an independent view of what could be improved in their maintenance structure. Either way, a fresh look at processes, organization and the way in which the maintenance activities impact upon the business is valuable because it quantifies opportunities, benefits and the necessary resources to achieve these in a way which in-house staff are unlikely to replicate.


Organizational Set-up and Responsibilities​ ​

Having run a maintenance department for as long as the company has been in business it is highly likely that from an organizational point of view there have been many changes. Unfortunately, whenever costs have been targeted, maintenance departments have rarely escaped cuts to budget, and as a result these changes are unlikely to have been optimal with a focus on reducing heads as opposed to maximizing value. Luckily, advances in technology and a greater understanding of what drives reliability means that fewer staff are able to offset these reductions to manpower – but only if they are organized efficiently to identify requirements and translate these into effective interventions. T.A.Cook is able to point the way to a higher performing benchmark organization tailored to each client that makes maximum use of existing experience while identifying high potential individuals and providing full training & coaching to all.


Asset Structure and Data Management​

It is probable that production facilities have been developed, expanded and changed significantly from the point at which the first plant was commissioned. Unless the asset structure was setup in an ideal way from day one and comprehensively maintained, then these changes are probably not fully incorporated potentially leading to confusion and lost time whenever work is undertaken and certainly making it much more difficult to establish factual data on performance and intervention success that can be derived from a complete asset history and are needed to establish the best reliability routines. Our teams are expert in these matters and whether or not it is in SAP or another CMMS, will create an asset environment in which the best decisions at lowest costs can be expected. Further, it provides an excellent base from which to create a digital twin and the opportunity to and optimize resources even further.  ​ ​


CMMS Use & Alignment​

It is almost a given that SAP provides the mechanism by which a company runs it business. As common as SAP is it is unusual to find a fully functioning suite of Plant Maintenance, MM and PP modules seamlessly interacting with the rest of the business. In fact, it is often an open secret within a company that these have been ignored or by-passed with many preferring to use their in-house or preferred alternative systems. This leads inevitably to significant rework and waste, but more importantly to a foregone opportunity to understand where and how money has been spent and, more significantly, how reliability can be improved. Now, even if one doesn’t have SAP, the T.A. Cook experts are likely to know the CMMS in question and, in any case most software packages rely on the same basic work order logic and data interaction with other packages so we can probably help anyone.


Prioritization & Gatekeeping​​

With so many pressures to keep production going and fix problems quickly it is no wonder that prioritization is often a synonym for who shouts loudest. In a typical arrangement Maintenance is there to do what’s needed to maintain production and this requires knowledge, experience and a cool head. If the planned, proven and scheduled list of predictive and preventive works are not rock-solid and don’t represent 75% of the total workload then there’s still plenty to do to reach best practice. If they don’t make up at least 50% minimum of the total workload, then the chances are prioritizing and gatekeeping is a vicious and stressful circle with many important jobs being moved to backlog. Should the number drop to 30% or less, then it’s highly probable that costs are spiraling and reliability is just a dream. Many can see the benefits but have no idea how to get there: our maintenance teams do.       ​


Work Order Management​

The basic mechanisms for creating a notification, turning this into a work order and ultimately closing it on some kind of automated system are pretty much the same wherever. What is noticeable, however, is just how often each step of the process throws up uncertainties, preferences and work-arounds so that a clear picture of what’s to be done and why cannot easily be matched to by whom, when and at what cost. Aside from general inefficiencies, wider repercussions can be lower reliability and a lack of confidence relating to compliance. Properly mapping out the entire workflow, assigning clear accountabilities and training people to follow rather than work the system has considerable benefits for maintenance productivity and production stability. Find out more about our Spare Parts Management offering.


Planning & Scheduling​

Assuming a maintenance process is broadly able to identify the right work and prioritize it accordingly, it still needs to be planned to define the necessary activities, secure the correct parts and allocate the appropriate personnel. On a large site there could be hundreds of such jobs on any day and ensuring that these are prepared well is a considerable task which benefits greatly from experienced and diligent planners knowing for instance, how to compile and recall standard tasks and having a keen sense of value for money. Experience tells us that the combination is rare and relatively few standards and norms exist such that the exercise can quickly become overly subjective with relatively little objective challenge. If the plans are difficult to pin down then it is even less likely that a tight schedule can be relied upon to deliver the best combination of jobs in a shift. Our approach as well as a comprehensive library of standard reference jobs and access to user-friendly scheduling tools brings clarity and defines what is possible. ​


Technician Productivity & Active Supervision​

Having established a process with clear R&Rs, defined a standard planning process with an easy-to-use scheduling mechanism all that is missing is a team of technicians and supervisors capable and willing to fulfill the demand. Fortunately, most people in the field are skilled, enjoy their work and are keen to help. When the chips are down they’ll still pull out all the stops to get something up and running again, but doing so repeatedly is fatiguing and without the right supervision effort is wasted and productivity suffers. Our Hands on Tool Time studies (HoTT) objectively quantify the value-added time of technicians. Coupled with Supervisory Studies we define the active management content and can thus collectively determine the efficiency with which work requirements are turned into completed activities. This information generally reflects the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the maintenance process. The average number lies around 50% well short of the 65% process industry benchmark which is defines a realistic 30% improvement opportunity.​


Optimal Maintenance Spend

Our MainMax benchmark provides an accurate picture of maintenance strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. The relative performance of the constituent elements are judged against strict criteria and also compared against thousands of similar organizations. Because our focus is implementation and the conversion of opportunities into realizable and sustainable performance improvement we are not just looking at theoretical elements but highlighting those aspects that really make a difference. Taken a step further and with a little extra effort the Dynamo software package encompasses all our knowledge into an expert system that indicates just how much money should be spent to achieve the best value reliability and if the company is over or underspending in critical areas.


Developing a Maintenance Strategy Road Map​​

With so many talking about digitalization and so few knowing how to achieve it, in conjunction with our expert Partner companies we offer the perfect solution – an all-encompassing digital Readiness Review. From asset structure through CMMS integration to equipment history, Root Cause Analysis and the execution of the right maintenance strategies, our comprehensive review determines not just the technical status, but also the organizational competence without which much of the potential intelligent analysis and recommendations is wasted. It should be noted that in our core industry sectors DCS systems have been in use for decades. Reasonably sophisticated data-gathering and analysis has thus been possible for just as long yet it is not common, but an excellence base does exist. With our Partners we will build a Digital Road Map that highlights the key options, demonstrates the benefits and supports a detailed program to achieve a viable platform and organizational structure  for sustainable digitalization in one area, site or even a geography in a fixed timescale.


Success Stories

"Thanks to T.A. Cook‘s coaching and tenacity, our OEE transformation was successful, visible and tangible."

Philippe Simetin, Group ME Project Manager, Solvay Rheinberg

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Uwe Sahl

Uwe Sahl

Principal, Global Expertise Lead Maintenance