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Measurement—A Tool for Continuous Improvement

A strategic issue in business excellence is the process of quantifying progress.
Scores of maintenance activities can be measured, but the following criteria are appropriate for deciding what should be measured:

• What is critically important?
• What needs to improve the most?

Specific measures of maintenance performance will vary by business. As shown in Figure 1 they should be balanced between functional and business measures. A compilation of maintenance function measures includes:

• Percent emergency work
• Percent preventive/predictive work
• Percent planned work
• Backlog
• Reporting levels
• Maintenance hourly personnel per first time supervisor
• Maintenance hourly personnel per support staff
• Maintenance hourly personnel per total plant hourly
• umber of crafts
• Maintenance resources allocated to areas
• Annual inventory turns
• Storeroom investment per estimated replacement value
• Storeroom investment per maintenance hourly per­sonnel
• Inventory accuracy
• Stores service level
• Late purchase orders
• Maintenance labor efficiency
• Maintenance labor utilization
• Safety meetings

On the more strategic side, business measures of mainte­nance effectiveness could include the following:

• Equipment uptime improvement
• Total equipment effectiveness/productivity
• Unplanned maintenance downtime as percent of total time
• Number of failures per period per category
• Mean time between failure by category
• Mean time to repair by category
• Maintenance cost as percent of estimated replacement value
• Maintenance cost as percent of plant controllable cost

The set of maintenance function and business related measures should be a balance of in-process measures and outcome measures. The in-process measures provide infor­mation for corrective action before the outcomes occur. For example, safety training is preferred over accidents and injuries. Measurement of the latter is too late as far as preventing accidents and injuries.
Longmuir [5] has developed guiding principles for the measurement process which will shape which measures are appropriate as well the proper use of results.

The principles include:

• Use measurement to improve; to solve problems and make decisions
• Measurements provide the "where" and "when," but not the "how"
• Measure what is important, not what is easy to measure
• Strive for a balanced set of measures
• Link measurements to the organization's vision, mis­sion, and strategic plan
• Align measures with upper and lower level measures
• Keep measures as simple as possible
• Successful measures are actionable
• Do not imply performance ceilings
• Do not use measurement as a club
• Use a great deal of involvement to assure relevance, buy-in, and action
• Do not wait for perfection before starting

The last point about getting started leads to the benchmarking area of this discussion. Benchmarking impacts the measurement process by reducing the total number of measures used. In life after benchmarking, plants should leave in place the smallest number of mea­sures possible to adequately track progress in identified areas of the best practices.

To be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:

Lean Manufacturing Articles and go to Series 01


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