Unfortunately, in my forty plus years of experience working for major corporations or my additional qualifications as a trusted consultant, rarely do maintenance organizations approach optimum maintenance.  While this article will focus on electrical maintenance, ,the points covered are applicable to all maintenance activities.

Obviously, breakdown maintenance must be performed.  The disadvantages of breakdown or reactive maintenance are well documented, resulting in high repair costs, unplanned downtime, collateral damage and frequently…safety issues.  The challenge is to do the correct amount of preventive and predictive maintenance on critical assets.  The graph below illustrates the relationship between EPM costs, repair and replacement costs and total maintenance costs.

Reproduced with permission from NFPA 70B-2016, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance, Copyright ® 2015, National Fire Protection Association. This reprinted material is not the complete and official position of the NFPA on the referenced subject, which is represented only by the standard in its entirety which can be obtained through the NFPA web site at www.nfpa.org.

There are two compelling reasons to perform preventive and predictive maintenance – safety and reliability.  The safety of personnel, community and environment are obvious to all.  There are also legal issues associated with electrical maintenance.  Regulations are documents which define process or service characteristics, including administrative provisions where compliance is mandatory.  Standards are documents approved by a recognized body that provide rules and/or guidelines, but compliance is not mandatory.  An example of regulations governing electrical maintenance requirements is OSHA 29 CFR 1910 Subpart S.  Examples of applicable standards would be NFPA 70E 2018, NFPA 70B 2016, and ANSI/NETA MTS 2011.  Applying these standards ensures OSHA compliance.

Listed below are my observations on why companies either perform insufficient maintenance or more maintenance than is needed to meet safety and reliability goals.

  • Maintenance program is not aligned with business plan
  • Failure to understand applicable regulations
  • Assigning maintenance strategies based on equipment type and ignoring environment and loading differences
  • Equipment criticality not correctly established
  • Improper team selected for RCM process
  • Faulty analysis of data from predictive technologies
  • Failure to act on identified issues
  • Cultural issues leading to a reluctance/refusal to change
  • Initial program not regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changes to regulations, equipment condition, or business plan

We at OpEx Realization Group can help you optimize your maintenance program and keep it current.

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