Maintenance Performance Benchmarking
Interest in and the practice of benchmarking continue to accelerate.
Watson  reports a 1992 study by the American Productivity and
Quality Center that indicates 98 percent of companies using
benchmarking expect their effort to grow over the next five years.
It is reported that today benchmarking efforts are underway in more
than half of the Fortune 500 companies. Benchmarking provides the
opportunity for innovation through the observation of what others
do. The benchmarking cycle suggested by Enusten  and Jones 
typically follows this pattern:
• Observe others and identify key issues
• Make commitments to replicate good practices
• Return to own organization
• Focus on successful implementation
• Use the key issues as a basis for a strategic plan for improvement
• Use a best practices concept to organize the plan
• Integrate the best practices into manufacturing to the extent
• Measure progress with appropriate measures
• Execute the plan
• Use performance measures as a feed-back mechanism to adjust the
A recurring principle cited by experts in the practice of
benchmarking is the absolute imperative of understanding one's own
processes before attempting to partner and benchmark another
Several benchmarking studies have been performed on the "best"
maintenance organizations in several industries. Perceived levels of
world class maintenance performance management have been published
with the studies. These results should be handled with care and
their use properly understood. Pradham  recently reported the
following maintenance benchmarks:
The perceived world class levels could be viewed as either "so-what"
or as goals to attain. As organizations get their work processes
under control and linkage is established between functional and
strategic levels of the business, the next step toward improvement
is to move out with their own benchmarking program. Their findings
will be more beneficial for innovation and goal-formulation than
trying to emulate the results reported in a "world class
benchmarking study." Results of studies of the "best of the best" in
maintenance or any other area are helpful, but they fall short of
providing information on how to close performance variance gaps.
Benchmarking is directly linked to strategic business issues. This
is apparent in the results of a study of 47 companies' benchmarking
process. Features of the companies with the most mature and robust
benchmarking programs as reported by Watson  include:
• Benchmarking is used as an exploratory tool for clarifying issues
of strategic management.
• Benchmarking influences goal-setting for the strategic plan and
enables improvement of key operational business processes.
• Benchmarking is used to identify both "business process" and
"people process" change enablers.
• Benchmarking partnerships support strategic alliances and natural
• Organization-wide knowledge sharing processes share results and
eliminate redundant efforts.
• Closed-loop business process measurement and monitoring systems
are based on continuously recalibrated benchmarks for all key
• Benchmarking is not delegated—it is performed by the line on the
The benchmark recalibration point suggests that the entire
maintenance performance management process is highly dynamic and
subject to change. As business changes and the maintenance function
changes to support strategic direction, performance measures and
performance analysis will change accordingly. Figure 2 provides a
flow diagram of the total maintenance performance management
process which incorporates the key elements of this discussion.
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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