The maintenance and reliability world is filled with key performance indicators (KPIs).  Properly tracking KPIs can be challenging due to difficulties in obtaining accurate data and the time required to obtain them.  The key is to pick KPIs that will help you identify and drive the behavior that you need to change right now. As advances are made, additional KPIs can be added which help identify and drive additional behavior changes and improvements.

It is very important to understand that KPIs can lead to false-positive indications and never actually result in value-added or sustainable improvements within your organization. You must understand and address the true root causes behind a deficient KPI and eliminate them.

For example, mean time to repair (MTTR) can be a very good indicator leading to great improvements.

Unfortunately, this indicator can also be harmful if misunderstood or given the wrong improvement focus. What if individuals decide to take deleterious shortcuts to quickly get a machine operational again?  MTTR may seem to improve on that machine, but did overall asset health and reliability really improve, in a meaningful way that provides real value back to your organization? These shortcuts may actually lead to additional machinery failures and greater downtime.

MTTR could be an indication that maintenance staff requires training on how to properly repair the machine. Too short and perhaps unwanted shortcuts are being taken. Too long may indicate that excessive time is being wasted hunting for tools or spare parts due to a lack of proper planning and/or kitting. Is a detailed and efficient work plan available, to guide your maintenance staff incorrectly repairing the equipment?  MTTR, if properly used and tracked can point you toward areas of substantial improvement.

Never forget to determine and address the root causes of equipment failure. Doing so may eliminate the need to work on the equipment in the first place. Prevention is always the best way to drive sustainable improvements in uptime and capacity.

Beware of driving improvements in KPIs for the wrong reasons. This can lead to a false sense of progress that never brings about real changes and advancements in reliability to your organization. Ensure that you understand the real variables driving the KPIs you have selected. Don’t let your chosen KPIs give you a false sense of improvement!

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, , , by Trent Phillips CRL CMRP - Novelis