Preventive Maintenance Activities Improve Performance

MILWAUKEE - Limited budgets and aging equipment are the most commonly cited barriers keeping maintenance and reliability departments from improving their total manufacturing uptime, according to the results of the 2003 Maintenance Performance Metrics Survey, a new study from Rockwell Automation and Plant Services magazine. The results of the study illustrate the perception that corporate management views maintenance activities as an expense rather than a strategy.

Conducted in August 2003, the survey asked 519 maintenance and plant manufacturing managers in North American industrial companies to indicate the business metrics they use today to measure uptime performance and the ways in which they apply those measures to maintenance repair and operations (MRO) activities.

The survey indicates that while manufacturers measure corporate performance through production uptime and return-on-investment metrics, they do not apply the same metrics at the maintenance department level. Maintenance managers believe that corporate officers most often use factors such as "meeting production goals," "uptime" and "return-on-investment (ROI)" to measure MRO activities. More than half (58 percent) of respondents say uptime is a key metric and more than three-fourths (78 percent) note that meeting production goals is a primary tool to measure manufacturing performance.

"These results illustrate that, as corporate officers deal with tightened budgets and a reduced workforce, their first course of action may be to restrict or cut resources dedicated to maintenance solutions," said Mike Laszkiewicz, vice president, Asset Management, Rockwell Automation." The results also show that significant improvements can be made to a manufacturing process through strategic maintenance programs. Performance should be measured on the effect maintenance activities have on the operation as a whole, rather than solely on budget."

Survey participants noted that decreased expenses and improved production uptime are top company-wide priorities for the coming year, yet 79 percent said one of the largest barriers to improving uptime is budget limitations. Respondents noted that even a minimal (one-third) increase in budget would help meet corporate goals for uptime.

Additional highlights of the 2003 Maintenance Performance Metrics Survey include:

-- While respondents view improving uptime and meeting uptime goals as priorities, more than half of the respondents' organizations do not meet uptime goals of 90 percent of higher.

--A small percentage of respondents didn't know their uptime metrics for the past six months or their organization's goals.

--Strategies most often used to maintain uptime, in order of preference, include: scheduled maintenance, routine maintenance, spare part inventory, training, reactive maintenance and predictive maintenance.

--Most participants believe that "equipment reliability" and "equipment availability" have a major effect on improving uptime. Three-fourths of respondents said a "knowledgeable and skilled staff" also can have a major effect on improving uptime,

--Most respondents said they'd like to spend less time on reactive maintenance and more on preventive maintenance. One-fifth of the respondents are spending time on predictive or planned maintenance.

--Eighty percent of participants said they generally rely on outsourced repair services on an as-needed basis, primarily due to limited staffing (73 percent) and limited skills/experience (59 percent).

Results of the survey can be viewed at http://www.rockwellautomation.com/omro

Rockwell Automation (NYSE: ROK) is a world-leading provider of industrial automation power, control and information solutions that help customers meet their manufacturing productivity objectives.

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