Maintenance Technology April 2017 - 26

WORKFORCE STRATEGIES
which unreliable equipment reigns.
In this type of reactive environment,
it is virtually impossible to achieve
high levels of maintenance-workforce
efficiency. Unplanned failures, by their
very nature, don't facilitate planning
and scheduling, leading to extremely
inefficient and expensive reactive
corrective work. As if this weren't bad
enough, it is invariably the value of lost
production and subsequent lost profit
that causes the greatest economic harm
to the site and business. Sadly, these
costs are often overlooked.
The next environment most prone
to maintenance workforce inefficiency
is one where maintenance labor costs
are low. Southeast Asia, for example,
experiences severe inefficiencies-often
at appalling levels. In those regions,
it's not unusual to find human labor
being utilized instead of equipment. For
example, you might find large numbers of
maintenance workers with shovels doing
the work that a single bulldozer could
complete in short order. Sometimes,
though, this is by design, i.e., to create
more jobs to support a growing middle
class. Nonetheless, while it's an expensive
way to operate, the costs can be more
easily absorbed due to exponentially
lower-skilled maintenance-craft wages.
Surprisingly, highly reliable operations
represent yet another, although not
necessarily obvious, area where maintenance inefficiencies can be found. In such
environments, the business is typically
enjoying very high profit margins as a
result of achieving maximum production
with existing assets.
Of course, it's human nature for people
to focus on what's important and overlook anything that's deemed less so. Thus,
in a highly reliable production environment, as profits rise, maintenance-cost
management can take on a lower sense
of urgency. In extreme cases, the inherent
inefficiency can lead to anywhere from
tens to hundreds of millions of dollars
in unnecessary maintenance expense.
Interestingly, this situation may also
occur in less-reliable operations when
the market is tight and profits are high.
(It's not uncommon for managers to
remove any maintenance cost controls as

26 |

MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY

Table I. Work-Sampling Case Study Example:
Recovery of Value of Time Being Wasted
Number
of
Workers

Cost/Hr.
Fully
Loaded

Total Cost/Yr.

Non-Value-Added
Dollars/Yr.
30%
Wrench Time

Non-Value-Added
Dollars/Yr.
70%
Wrench Time

Opportunity
Dollars/Yr.
30% to 70%
Wrench Time

100
100
100
200

$35
$45
$55
$35

$7,280,000
$9,360,000
$11,440,000
$14,560,000

$5,096,000
$6,552,000
$8,008,000
$10,192,000

$2,184,000
$2,808,000
$3,432,000
$4,368,000

$2,912,000
$3,744,000
$4,576,000
$5,836,000

Table II. Work-Sampling Case Study Example:
Efficiency Gains, Measured in Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs)
Number
of
Workers

Total
Hrs./Yr.
Based on
2,080 Hrs.

100
200

208,000
416,000

Non-Value-Added Non-Value-Added
Hrs./Yr.
Hrs./Yr.
30%
70%
Wrench Time
Wrench Time
145,600
291,200

long as sales demands are satisfied.)
In both of those scenarios, however,
maintenance inefficiency will only be
tolerated as long as profit objectives are
being met. As soon as market conditions change, pressure will once again
be applied to maintenance cost and,
subsequently, to maintenance-workforce
efficiency. The reaction to this oftensudden change can be quite ugly as
arbitrary rules with the potential for
unintended consequences, e.g., discontinuing proactive maintenance as a way
to reduce maintenance labor costs, are
put in place.

Effective measuring
In an ideal production environment,
skilled maintenance resources are used
efficiently and effectively. As the father
of statistical process control W. Edwards
Deming advised, "You can't manage what
you don't measure."
To ensure that maintenance resources
are being efficiently and effectively
utilized, they must be measured.
Although not used extensively today,
the early 20th century methodology of
maintenance-work sampling provides an
effective means to measure wrench time.
(Despite exaggerated claims by some that
this sampling is akin to Frederick Taylor's
infamous time and motion studies of the
late 19th century, it is not.)
Maintenance-work sampling is
simply a statistical tool that, when used
effectively, can measure maintenance-

62,400
124,800

Opportunity
Hrs./Yr.
30% to 70%
Wrench Time

Opportunity
Full-Time
Equivalent
(FTEs)

83,200
166,400

40
80

workforce productivity. Identification and
elimination of barriers to productivity
can significantly increase the value-added
contribution of existing maintenance
resources. Work sampling is the process
of capturing and analyzing a statistically
valid number of random observations
to determine the amount of time, on
average, that workers spend in various
activities throughout their normal
workdays. Non-value-added activities
are then targeted for reduction and/or
elimination using root-cause analysis.
The maintenance-work sampling
approach is based on the proven theory
that the percentage of observations made
of workers doing a particular activity is a
reliable measure of the percentage of total
time actually spent by the same workers
on the activity. The accuracy of this
technique is, naturally, dependent upon
the number of observations. To achieve
a 95% confidence level in the results,
approximately 3,000 observations must
be made and recorded. While this might
seem excessive, a single trained observer
can collect that number of observations
during a week of single 8- or 10-hr.
maintenance work shifts.
Keep in mind that maintenance-work
sampling makes it possible to measure
utilization of work groups and the overall
maintenance workforce. Key opportunities that warrant attention can be isolated
and examined. A good example is that
of travel time involved in obtaining
requisite maintenance tools and materials

APRIL 2017



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maintenance Technology April 2017

Maintenance Technology April 2017 - 1
Maintenance Technology April 2017 - Cover1
Maintenance Technology April 2017 - Cover2
Maintenance Technology April 2017 - 1
Maintenance Technology April 2017 - 2
Maintenance Technology April 2017 - 3
Maintenance Technology April 2017 - 4
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