Everyone wants something! As a Maintenance Support function, where do you find the time for every request? Where do you find time to train? Where do you find time for Predictive Maintenance (PM) activities?  Where do you find time to do Asset Reliability?

In my experience, increasing headcount in this competitive environment, is just not an option!

So where do we find this elusive “time?”

Looking honestly at our maintenance activities, how much of the work we ask our mechanics to perform is truly “value-add”?  Does it make sense to do monthly inspection PMs on equipment that never fails? What about those monthly inspection PMs on equipment still fails?!? When we did an analysis, we discovered we are wasting time doing maintenance activities that are not needed.

How can we determine if the PMs are not needed? Simply stopping the PM program is a good way to lose your job…. If we had the labor available we could do a lot of PM Optimization studies. BUT – if we had that time, would we have this issue to begin with. So, what can we do?

What if our machines could talk to us and we were able to listen?

If our machines could talk to us and we were able to listen, what would they tell us? Could they tell us everything is fine, don’t do this month’s PM – don’t run the risk of a machine breakdown by doing anything today. 

Could we eliminate non value-add inspection PMs and perform only those maintenance activities the machines tell us we need to do?

If we could optimize the actual maintenance work being performed, would we need as much maintenance labor?

What could we do with that available labor?

The traditional World Class Maintenance Labor Rule of 45/45/10 – 45% time on PMs, 45% on Corrective work and 10% on Emergency work – would tell us if our machines talk and we are were listening, there is a potential of reducing the demand for maintenance labor by 45%!

What if we could even just reduce that number by half? What would you be able to accomplish if you had 25% of your maintenance labor available to do other things? 

IoT is about our machines talking to us – but we have to listening and be able to respond. 


 Nikolaus Despain CPE, CRL is the Director of Maintenance at a large manufacturer. He has over 25 years of experience in Food Manufacturing. During his career he has help various plant positions in Operations, Engineering and Maintenance – including Maintenance Supervisor, Project Engineer, Maintenance Manager, and Plant Manager. He has led several company-wide project teams in evaluating, selecting and implementing various maintenance reliability programs (CMMS, EAM, PM, PdM, TPM, RCA and CBM). In his current role he is responsible for multiple plant Maintenance and Technical Asset Performance. He works with corporate plants in driving Continuous Improvement projects and an integrated Asset Management program. He is also responsible for all Maintenance, PSM, and RMP activities.

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