Asset Productivity Articles

Our expert staff is well known throughout the industry for its breadth of knowledge gained through years of practical experience. The following articles, written by members of our staff, have been published in industry journals and Web sites.


  • Enterprise Transformation: The CIO’s Roadmap to Operational Excellence

    Enterprise transformation, disruptive technology, predictive analytics, Internet of Things, enterprise visibility...As the CIO of a transportation organization you’re faced with enough technology buzzwords to make your head spin. From transit passengers to front-line maintenance workers, the stakeholders that matter to your organization demand easier access to better information.


  • Reliability Centered Maintenance: 40 Years Young and as Relevant as Ever

    Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) is turning 40, but it isn’t “over the hill.” In fact, RCM is just as relevant and strong an approach today as it was when Nowlan and Heap published “Reliability Centered Maintenance” in 1978.


  • Changing Company Culture: It’s a Matter of Principles

    If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a client say, “We’ve got to change the culture!” I would be a wealthy man.


  • Asset Management Plans: An ISO 55000 Building Block

    With the increased adoption of the ISO 55000 Standard for Asset Management, released in early 2014, more and more companies are contacting us and asking for help in understanding the standard and developing an ISO-compliant asset management system.


  • Pursuing a Leaner Spare Parts Inventory

    Most organizations have a significant financial investment in spare parts Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) storeroom inventory. Yet only about 8-10% of this investment is commonly used on an annual basis. The remaining 90 to 92% of the inventory consists of critical spares and slow-moving, excess, or obsolete parts. Let’s first examine what makes up the 90-92% portion of inventory and then consider some strategies that can reduce the overall investment required to keep production operating without unnecessary downtime.


  • Using a Reliability Scorecard to Measure if Your Project is Delivering Results

    Let’s assume you have the necessary sponsorship and formal approvals to invest in improving reliability. Remembering Stephen Covey’s second habit (begin with the end in mind), how can you measure if your reliability improvement project is delivering results that align with business objectives?


  • 12 Steps to Inventory Recovery

    The original 12-Step Recovery Program was developed in the 1930’s and incorporated by Alcoholics Anonymous to help people deal with their "powerlessness" to stop drinking. Since then the 12-step model has been adopted by many other groups dealing with an array of issues that all have one thing in common: a desire to stop.


  • Rewarding Proactive Behavior

    Rewarding individual operators, and operations as a group, means recognizing them for their performance and acknowledging their contributions to their organization's goals. Group recognition is typically tied to lagging metrics, i.e. asset reliability.


  • Is Your MRO Inventory Obsolete?

    Obsolete. Everyone who has ever purchased a computer knows what that means. It describes your computer within a month or so of your purchase.


  • Using Partnership Agreements to Reduce Conflict

    Venom…ill will…backstabbing…vindictiveness…mistrust…betrayal. These are some of the most negative aspects of human interaction. And they are present in nearly every manufacturing organization I’ve gotten to know well.


  • Could your organization be in a “Fitbit Trap”?

    Ten thousand steps a day is quickly becoming the gold standard for maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle. Getting steps in has transformed the image of exercise from an uncomfortable and uninviting activity to something very achievable for many people who want to improve their health.


  • How to Prevent “A Good Shift Gone Bad…"

    A good shift gone bad…
    Eddie pulled into the parking lot at the plant ready to go back to work. As a shift supervisor, he was looking forward to a smooth, drama-free shift. All his best employees were at the plant this rotation and he could count on them to do a great job. As he parked his car, he saw Pete, the shift supervisor he was relieving, drive past him in a hurry.


  • The Value of Loss Measurement Systems

    I have found that the most valuable weapon in any production facility’s business improvement arsenal is an effective loss measurement system. Every lost opportunity to make a pound of product or a box of widgets should be captured. And if the loss event is above a threshold value (which should decline annually), must have an origination point (an asset or a processing step), and some searchable categorization (such as equipment downtime, lack of materials, etc.) attributed to it. Note that these are not root causes, just the readily observable origin and effect. Root cause comes later.


  • How Do You Create Partnership Agreements?

    Partnership agreements are contracts between functional areas of the plant which have an effect on overall reliability. Developing, fostering and committing to plant partnership agreements is an important element in successful reliability improvement initiatives.


  • 5S Gone Wild…how far is too far?

    By Wally Wilson, CMRP, CPIM

    You can’t get too much of a good thing. However, taking the 5S methodology to the highest level possible might be an exception. The 5Ss (Sort, Simplify, Shine, Standardize and Sustain) are the basis for creating a workspace of visual management and lean operation. When attempting to implement a Visual Management system, most companies accomplish the painful sorting to identify and dispose of obsolete or unneeded items, organizing the needed items into some type of a defined order, and scrubbing the workspace until it shines. The last two steps in the process become the challenge: how  to maintain the standards on a daily basis and the discipline to sustain the transformation long term.


  • The Power of Alignment: Connecting Individuals to Organizational Objectives

    By Jeffrey S. Nevenhoven, Senior Consultant, Life Cycle Engineering

    Alignment is a critical factor in the world of rotating equipment and one of the most common causes for machinery malfunction. Without precision alignment, stationary and rotating components begin to wear under the stresses produced by misalignment. Accelerated component wear, reduced service life, excessive energy consumption, and poor quality are some of the results of misaligned equipment, all of which drive increased spending and lost productivity. Maintenance and engineering professionals conduct thorough evaluations of operating conditions, apply sound installation practices along with the use of precision alignment devices, and conduct ongoing condition monitoring to mitigate misalignment. 


  • Establishing a Root Cause Failure Analysis Program at a Pharmaceutical Facility

    By Anil Agrawalla, CMRP, Life Cycle Engineering

    Your clean steam generator system stops and alarms. Production halts; operations quickly calls maintenance. Maintenance jumps into action and determines that the bearing seized in the feed water pump. A bearing order is expedited through procurement, maintenance efficiently makes the repair the next morning, and the production team runs tests before putting the system back into operation. Corrective actions are created to ensure that the bearing is stocked in the MRO storeroom, and to double frequency of the pump’s preventive maintenance. The senior leadership team is satisfied with the response and corrective actions, and praises the team for limiting the production delay to just 24 hours.


  • How Can I Make My MRO Maintenance Storeroom More Efficient?

    By Wally Wilson, CMRP, CPIM, Life Cycle Engineering

    Many current storerooms are not designed to address the needs of the maintenance efforts they are intended to support. Regardless of the organization’s size, most storerooms are operating as they did when the plant first opened. These storerooms still have the light duty metal shelving that wastes much of the vertical storage space, and heavy-duty pallet racking with extra wide aisles for larger and heavier components which require more space. For many organizations, changes to make their Maintenance, Repair and Operational (MRO) maintenance storerooms more efficient are long overdue. Here are some recommendations for bringing your operation up to date, from location and layout to work processes and technology.


  • Maintenance Really is Really Not the Problem

    Keith Mobley, Principal SME, Life Cycle Engineering
    In late May, Terrence O’Hanlon posted on LinkedIn that attendance at maintenance conferences has dropped significantly. Responses to his post offered plausible reasons including budget constraints, lack of or recurring content, and total saturation. While these are no doubt contributors, I hope that there is one more, growing reason for this decline: more and more organizations are finally recognizing that maintenance is not the source of their competitive or financial problems. When I commented that this realization might be the reason, Terry—who has been a friend longer than either of us will admit—challenged me to prove my point. Here is the proof.


  • Seven Pitfalls to Avoid in Your Upcoming Assessment

    By Catherine Marshall, Director, Life Cycle Engineering

    The first step most organizations take in their continuous improvement journey is to undertake an assessment that will capture the current state of their operations and compare it to best practices.


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