A maintenance program is only as good as its measurement data. Poor data may be worse than no data at all because poor data may lead to the wrong analysis, resulting in working on the wrong thing.
One of the best ways to help ensure good data collection is to have well-written procedures for collecting the data. Plants often fail to see the importance of having well-written procedures for most tasks and especially for tasks seemingly as simple as data collection.
This article covers the importance of having good procedures and presents the details needed to develop well-written standard maintenance procedures.
A standard maintenance procedure is a detailed list of steps that describes how to perform a maintenance task and is also a documented standard to which the job or task should be performed.
All repetitive maintenance tasks should be covered by SMPs, regardless of who performs those tasks, be they craftspeople, contractors or operators.
How does a preventive maintenance (PM) write-up differ from a standard maintenance procedure? The answer: It doesn’t. A PM is simply a type of task written into an SMP.
An SMP or a Standard Maintenance Procedure is a vital part of keeping your equipment in top shape, keeping your employees safe, and maintaining your plant’s overall productivity. An SMP is a document containing instructions on how to perform maintenance tasks correctly and efficiently. In the poultry processing industry, there are many important things to think about when writing SMPs. This post summarizes the post The Fundamentals: How To Write A Standard Maintenance Procedure.
SMP’s allow you to optimize and standardize your maintenance tasks to make sure your employees are performing them in the safest, most efficient, and most effective way possible.
Here are some key steps to creating an effective SMP that will help your maintenance technicians to avoid mistakes and save your poultry plant time and money:
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Tips For Helpful Standard Maintenance Procedures
Include Lists of Tools, Parts, Supplies, and Experts
Your SMPs should have a complete list of all the parts, tools, and supplies needed for every task. It should be extremely specific, down to the numbers and grades of nuts so that no one is without an excuse if something is done wrong.
Make sure also to mention if anyone besides the person performing the maintenance needs to be present. Is there a company, consultant, factory rep, or another employee that needs to be involved in the task?
Include Routine Tasks
Your SMP should explain how to do all the routine maintenance tasks that are most frequently performed in your plant. Some of these tasks may include:
- Bearing lubrication
- Gearbox lubrication
- Drive belt tensioning
- Alignments, bearing installation
- Drive chain replacement
- Hydraulic hose construction and replacement
Consult the most experienced members of your maintenance team to come up with a standard way to complete tasks. Your SMP should go into enough detail that someone who has never done these tasks before could perform them without further explanation.
Include Safety Concerns
Safety concerns are one of the main things that should be included in an SMP. Being properly equipped and fully aware of the task at hand are crucial in deciding the safest way to perform a task. Some things to include are:
Personal protective equipment required to do the job:
- All safety and environmental hazards to be aware of while doing the job
- A detailed list of steps for performing the job or task
- A complete list of tools and materials for doing the job
Be sure to use the word “Warning” to protect against personal harm and the word “Caution” to protect against equipment harm. Using those words correctly can alert the technician of specific safety concerns and prevent confusion as well.
A standard maintenance procedure should be well-written and specific enough that qualified technicians who have never performed the task before can complete it. Consistent SMPs reduce the variability of the procedures, and in turn, can prevent one from being performed incorrectly.
Just a few things to stay consistent on:
- Don’t change equipment names from step to step
- Begin each step with a verb if possible
- Have the job performer enter quantitative values (qualitative instructions are left up to interpretation, and can leave the details of a task up to a technician’s best guess)
Especially for larger jobs, visuals are a key component for effective SMPs. Things like pictures, drawings, diagrams, and graphics are excellent tools that further explain necessary the steps for an SMP. Often, maintenance tasks are complex and difficult to visualize. Images can speed up tasks, and save your plant thousands of dollars.
Train Your Staff On SMPs
To make sure maintenance technicians are performing tasks in line with the SMP, everyone must go through training and perform tasks while inspected by a supervisor. These training and tests must take place periodically to ensure all maintenance staff are doing tasks correctly.
Keep Improving On Your SMP
Your staff will always be finding better ways to do things. Make sure you are recording these new ideas and improvements and are editing your SMP to be up to date. If you don’t do this, your SMP will become outdated and fall out of use.
Details Of Procedure
- Based on conditions of use and experience, periodic maintenance work on machines is planned by maintenance dept. it is identified in relevant preventive maintenance work
- Maintenance is done based on the maintenance schedule.
- Work instruction for daily maintenance like checking, filling of oil/grease of the production machine is given to PROD for execution.
- Scheduled and other maintenance plans are executed by maintenance dept personnel.
- And records are maintained in the respective machine file.
- When a breakdown occurs necessary to repair/rectification work is carried out, and records are maintained. Maintenance manager reviews the record and classifies the machine break down as either ‘Minor’ or ‘Major’ and maintains records of downtime hours, spares consumed and the approximate cost of spares/repair. Root cause analysis and corrective/preventive action records shall be maintained for all the major machine breakdowns, and The records shall include details of breakdown experienced/attended, the effectiveness of action taken and preventive action if any.
- If the root cause of machine breakdown is due to normal wear and tear of the repaired/rectified parts, then same shall be considered as ‘Minor’, but in case ‘Minor’ is repeated then it shall be considered as ‘Major’.
- Machine Details like make, capacity, location, and spares parts of the machine shall be maintained in the respective machine file.
- Maintenance Manager plans to procure and stock essential spare parts to ensure maintenance with minimal downtime. List of critical spares and existing stock is maintained.
- All the spares/accessories with shelf life shall be identified with the label containing details like Name, the location of use/application and date of receipt etc.
- 6.10 BreakdownBreakdown hours reported in the machine breakdown report shall be analyzed for all production machines regularly.
- 6.11 Maintenance of production draw dies, rolls & edge rollers are verified to ensure proper working condition. Records are maintained in respectively.
- 6.12 Maintenance department should check and maintain the record for Oil spillage, vibration, emission and noise in the work area
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Why You Should Be Using Procedure-based Maintenance
Imagine an operation in which there are no lost-time accidents, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) is increasing, and there is a plan to address the skills shortage. These sites do exist, and chances are they’re using procedure-based maintenance.
This type of maintenance involves having all maintenance activities documented in a procedure. The procedures are followed step by step when conducting breakdown, corrective and preventive maintenance.
This level of operational excellence comes with discipline, not just discipline that deals with people doing what they should be doing (or not doing), but the discipline to the process and eliminating variation.
That is the goal of procedure-based maintenance: to eliminate variation in all aspects of maintenance, including data collection, repairs, calibration and commissioning. Another goal of procedure-based maintenance is to eliminate and reduce the odds of mistakes by maintenance staff.
By ensuring that all activities are performed the same way, organizations can accomplish three key deliverables:
- Build a knowledge library to survive the skills gap.
- Identify key areas of variability and reduce that variability to achieve consistent outcomes from activities.
- Minimize the odds of a mistake during maintenance activities.
The use of procedures must be thought out well in advance. Without this thought-out approach, the adoption of the procedures will fail. The procedures need to be organized so they can be quickly located.
They must be written in a way, so there is no misinterpretation of the task’s meaning and so non-native English speakers can understand. Lastly, they must be utilized by the staff, with feedback captured and used to improve them.
Importance of Procedures
Procedure-based maintenance serves to address two key issues when performing maintenance activities. First, it reduces the variation that occurs when many craftspeople are conducting the same work. Consider how many ways there are to rebuild a pump.
How does disassembly happen? Does the disassembly occur with a precision torch and hammer, or does it take place with the proper tools? Does the rebuild happen in a cleanroom or in a dirty shop which can contribute to the contamination? Are the parts inspected according to a standard or left to the experience of the rebuilder?
Is there a standard list of parts that are replaced, or is it left to the inspection? Is a thread-locking component used during reassembly? Are the clearances checked based on experience or technical specifications? Are fasteners tightened using a torque wrench or the strength of the rebuilder? How is the pump tested before being put back into stock or service?
If you were to ask a group of craftspeople these questions, you likely would get a wide range of answers, and two people would not have the same process for rebuilding and commissioning a pump. This variation makes it virtually impossible to establish a root cause of a premature failure or poor performance of a rebuilt pump. A procedure based on the experience of the staff can capture the collective knowledge and put it into a repeatable and consistent method, eliminating this variation.
Writing Standard Maintenance Procedures
When writing an SMP, there will always be a trade-off between too much or too little detail. Too much detail will waste resources in writing the SMP and may slow the job by wasting the time of the job performer.
Remember that there is no perfect SMP regardless of how much detail is included. Too little detail and the job may be performed in an unsatisfactory or unsafe manner.
So, what is the proper amount of detail to be included in the SMP? The proper amount of detail will provide for a trained craftsperson (or an operator trained in maintenance skills related to the job) to perform the job, even if that person has not performed the job before.
Who should write standard maintenance procedures?
- A person who has some training in writing SMPs and who knows his or her company’s SMP writing procedure. (Yes, there should be a procedure for writing procedures.)
- A person is knowledgeable about the safety and environmental hazards involved.
- The writer should seek input from the trained job performer or subject matter experts who will be using the SMPs. It is a good idea to get the job performer to write the rough draft because you will get buy-in from the SMP users. A person is much more likely to use something that they helped to develop as opposed to something that was developed without his or her input.
What are the rules for writing standard maintenance procedures?
- The burden of written communication is on the writer, not the reader. The goal is to serve the user.
- The first writing is a rough draft and will need to be reviewed and tried before being published.
- Use numbered line items and avoided paragraphs (one item per step).
- Keep wording short and precise.
- List steps in the proper sequence. The job should flow in the natural order.
- Use step check-offs where useful.
- Have the job performer enter quantitative values; it is even better than check-offs.
- Target elementary-grade reading level (fourth or fifth grade) if possible, given the nature of the procedure, is written. A reading skill commensurate to the minimum qualifications for performing the job itself is assumed.
- Use graphics were needed to clarify meanings. A picture is worth a thousand words.
- Keep verbiage consistent. Don’t change equipment names from step to step.
- Begin each step with a verb if possible. For example, Step 13 – Remove coupling guard.
- If jobs involve too many steps, break the job into sections such as Motor Removal Section and Gear Unit Removal Section.
Remember to write for safety:
- Even though safety hazards are listed at the beginning of an SMP, the warnings should be repeated for each hazardous step.
- Use the word “Warning” to protect against personnel harm and the word “Caution” to protect against equipment harm. For example, Step 23 – Warning! Remove the hot slurry line.
How Procedures Impact Reliability
Once procedure-based maintenance is in place, the operation will see noticeable improvements in five key areas: safety, reliability, start-up failures, mean time to repair and knowledge management.
Safety will improve as tasks are well planned out with the risks identified. This allows the development of effective risk-reduction activities. Also, the procedures can be used in the event of a failure, which can lower the risks associated with unplanned work.
Reliability will increase as tasks are completed consistently with proper technical specifications. This reduces premature failures. In the event a failure occurs, it can be analyzed to determine the root cause, since the procedures and activities are defined and consistent.
Start-up failures will decrease, as procedures will ensure that all bolts are tightened properly, the area is inspected, all foreign objects are removed, and proper commissioning activities are performed.
The mean time to repair will be reduced, as a procedure is available that will decrease the time to repair and all the required information is readily available.
Knowledge management is another benefit of procedure-based maintenance. With this approach, the experience and knowledge of veteran craftsmen can be captured in procedures and transferred to junior craftsmen.
Having Staff Use Procedures
One of the most difficult parts of implementing procedure-based maintenance is the change it brings to an organization. Indeed, there will be a change in the way maintenance is performed for all levels of the maintenance department. For example, craftspeople must follow procedures and specifications and rely less on personal experience and intuition.
Maintenance supervisors are now focused on ensuring the procedures are used and updated. Planners become more determined to update the procedures, so they are readily available for use.
Helping an organization through this change is not easy. It will require a well-thought-out approach. I like to use the awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement (ADKAR) framework. This method enables organizations to plan and manage the change being implemented as well as bring people along with the change.
Each step in the framework provides specific actions that should be taken, such as awareness of the need for change, desire to participate and support the change, knowledge of how to change, ability to implement required skills and behaviours, and reinforcement to sustain the change.
The whole purpose of using a framework like ADKAR is to identify any concerns associated with the change, address those concerns, express how the change will benefit the staff, provide the knowledge and training, and finally demonstrate that the change is not a flavour of the month. The more time spent planning and managing the change, and the more likely the change will be adopted and sustained.
Procedure-based maintenance has the opportunity to drive significant improvements in safety, reliability and operations. But before an organization can jump into procedure-based maintenance, there must be a plan for how it will be implemented, who will write the procedures, to what standard the procedures will be written and how the staff will be trained on the new procedures.
With the U.S. Navy has adopted procedure-based maintenance, aviation and nuclear power industries, the results have been proven. If these types of organizations are using procedure-based maintenance, what is preventing your organization from using it?
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Using Standard Maintenance Procedures
It is one thing to develop good SMPs, but quite another to get people to use them. Many companies go to considerable expense to develop SMPs, only to have them stashed away in a file cabinet or stored on a computer where the job performer never views them.
In these cases, the SMPs are only useful to show the auditors when they come in to evaluate that they exist. With a little effort and personnel training, the SMPs can be put to actual use, adding real value to the company. If you want people to use the SMPs, require their use and make them easy to access. Attach them to work orders, post at the machine or post at the operator station.
The information in this article can also be used to develop good standard operating procedures (SOPs). Good procedures are important tools and a requirement of any successful reliability process.