In these days of economic crisis, physical assets have to be worked harder for longer and so the importance of a robust Asset Maintenance Strategy grows by the day.
Asset Care is the generic title for all those activities that seek to maximise the benefit of owning an asset or, in more general terms, reducing the maintenance cost and increasing the efficiency of production equipment. The term Asset Care has been coined to emphasise that, when executed correctly, it comprises a complete programme of activities designed to maximise the benefit of a machine or facility from cradle to grave. Thus it stresses a forward-looking planned approach rather than the hitherto breakdown service usually associated with an Engineering Maintenance function.
The oil industry was perhaps the first 24x7 Process Industries to recognise that their business was split into approximately four equal sectors;
- Design & Construction
- Operations & Maintenance
Oil companies were the most suited to carry out the first and last of the activities above and several decided that most engineering work was best out-sourced. Design & Construction had been out-sourced for years, but most maintenance had been kept in-house. So the maintenance of all refinery assets, not just the specialist, began to be out-sourced to general engineering companies. Their performance was linked to production operations and payment for maintenance support linked directly to achieving an agreed production output.
A by-product was of the traditional project and operational split was the loss of information integrity in the transfer of ownership from the project to operations. This was aggravated by ever tighter controls on capital spend. Often resulting in increased revenue charges, which of course run on for the whole life of the facility. There was the potential to improve this with the new complex partnership contracts to design, build and operate. These contractual arrangements are still being optimised.
The changes could also provide a more meaningful career path for the engineers required to maintain and develop the assets in optimal operational condition at economic cost.
Much of our recent work has been within the Pharmaceutical Industry.
Training in Developing a Maintenance Strategy
The training course material is in two formats.
A Describing the range of techniques that are available and from which choices must be made, if a strategy to enhance the effectiveness of the business is to be developed. This has been provided as module of a university MBA course.
B A course designed to equip maintenance coordinators and technicians to use their own systems more effectively and take part in a continuous improvements program.
Compliant management of the physical assets of an organisation is becoming increasingly important. Compliance has had a very specific meaning in the aeronautic and pharmaceutical sector for many years under the pressure of the regulators such as FDA and MHRA, but it applies to any business sector. All businesses are regulated to an increasing degree and need to comply or it is possible that they will not survive. In addition they need to meet the quality and financial objectives set by their management to respond or keep ahead of the competition of their sector.
However, the need to outsource must not result in the abdication of responsibility of the owner’s engineers. They too could also end up in court for any serious environmental or safety infringement. The regulators also play an increasing role in many sectors of the process industry. Adding to the pressure to design economically maintainable plants is very welcome indeed. Effective maintenance, centres on doing enough to maintain the functionality of the asset. Not too much to reduce the value added, or too little to involve excessive downtime or breakdown costs.
With the support of analyses such as RCM (Reliability Controlled Maintenance), CBM (Condition Based Monitoring) and SPC (Statistical Process Control), allied to established MMS (Maintenance Management Systems), superior competitive Asset Maintenance can be achieved. 20CC have a considerable track record in this field.