Reliablity Excellence® (Rx) Assessment, Master Planning and Business Case Development Process

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Whether facilities are new or old, large or small, simple or complex, reliable operations require a shared set of values, common performance expectations, proven work processes and well-established measurement criteria. For these operations, reliability becomes a competitive advantage by directly impacting safety, capacity, quality and cost. Life Cycle Engineering (LCE) has developed a Rx assessment, master planning and business case development process to help clients achieve this competitive performance level. 

By using LCE’s proven process our clients can determine how well they execute Rx best practices, identify the value associated with their application and determine the actions required to achieve sustainable improvements. Our process is based on a standard set of questionnaires that quantify approximately 650 attributes of the manufacturing operation including fixed assets, work processes, information systems and human resources. We align these attributes to the 29 elements of our Rx Model (represented on page 2) and rate them against our database of Rx best practices (see examples of the evaluation criteria and the ranking system on pages 4-5.) In this process we work with our clients to review and benchmark their organization’s operational and financial performance. We partner with our clients to identify and prioritize improvement opportunities and use this information to develop the implementation Master Plan (example on page 6) along with the business case (example on page 6) to justify the project.

This process addresses the operation holistically and promotes reliability throughout the organization. Although there are many activities that are primarily controlled by the maintenance organization, our experience has shown that a collaborative relationship between maintenance and other departments, such as engineering, production, quality, finance and regulatory compliance, is critical to success. The integration and interdependencies that exist between these other functions and maintenance can greatly impact the potential of Rx and overall business performance. Additionally, we have found that in order to achieve Rx, executive management must understand the value that reliability contributes to the business and actively participate in the cultural change and application of Rx best practices.

The many steps in the process – including data gathering, observations, on-site interviews, data analysis, planning and building the business case – increase awareness throughout the organization of the impact reliability can have on the business. Participation in the process facilitates organizational alignment as the future state becomes clearer and the stake each department/individual holds in the improvement process is defined. This alignment/buy-in is critical to the effective implementation of cultural and behavioral change associated with adopting Rx best practices.

Our experience executing more than 350 Rx assessments confirms that the process provides immediate benefits to the client’s organization. In addition to building organizational awareness, alignment and buy-in, the process delivers:

  • Widespread understanding of the current state of operations and the gaps that exist between the current state and Rx best practices
  • Identification of current asset problems where mitigation could self-finance Wave 3
  • Leadership commitment to the initiative
  • A defined roadmap – the Master Plan – that will lead to the future state
  • A cost/benefit business case that supports the financial justification to undertake the initiative
  • The identification of prospective change agents who will actively drive and sustain the new organizational culture

Once the organizational alignment exists, the true value can be recognized by implementing the Rx Master Plan.

By implementing a Rx Master Plan our clients have recognized improvements such as capacity increases greater than 45%, greater than 10% reduction in cost of goods produced, maintenance cost reduced by more than 30%, improved safety and regulatory compliance, substantial avoidance of capital investment and extended asset life cycle.  These business improvements are the direct results of a change in culture combined with the application of Rx best practices.  Reliability is achieved not only in the equipment/fixed assets, but also in the work processes, the information systems and organizational behavior.

Reliability Excellence Model

Life Cycle Engineering Reliability Excellence Rx Model

Steps in the Process:

Alignment of Scope to be Performed

  • Define plants, areas and departments/functions included in the assessment/improvement initiative

Preliminary Data Gathering and Pre-Site Planning

  • Gather organizational structure/hierarchy, equipment and financial historical data
  • Coordinate site logistics, on-site facilities for assessment/planning team and interview participants/schedule

On-Site Observations, Data Gathering and Interviews

  • Safety orientation
  • Facility tour
  • Educate participants via a focused Rx overview
  • Review the initiative objective, scope, approach and timing
  • Review interdepartmental relationships, interface and communications
  • Observe existing operational work processes and practices
  • Examine equipment, systems, organization and financial data/files
  • Conduct focus interviews of cross-functional team members
  • Identify and qualify potential improvement opportunities
  • Identify potential quick win opportunities
  • Formulate preliminary findings and recommendations
  • Conduct project outbrief of preliminary findings and financial opportunities

Analyze and Evaluate Data/Findings

  • Organize and review data/findings
  • Perform gap analysis between current and future state operations
  • Identify opportunities for improvement
  • Qualify opportunities for improvement
  • Develop recommendations for improvement activities
  • Develop draft implementation Master Plan
  • Develop preliminary Assessment, Master Planning and Business Case report
  • Issue preliminary report to client for review

On-Site Master Plan Refinement and Business Case Development

  • Review preliminary report with client team
  • Refine findings and recommendations with client team, if necessary
  • Review assessment of financial opportunities
  • Prioritize improvement potentials
  • Refine Master Plan including: scope, logic and duration for action items
  • Finalize resource requirements for Master Plan implementation (internal & external)
  • Agreement on metrics for measuring, managing and reporting progress
  • Develop the cost/benefit Business Case for improvement justification

Master Plan

Rx Master Plan 2


Sample Excerpt from Program Master Plan – Wave 2 & 3

Program Master Plan

Sample Business Case Development

Sample Business Case Development

© 2007 Life Cycle Engineering, Inc.

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