Efficient Plant May 2020 - 10

feature | aging assets

PRACTICES, CULTURE ARE KEY
With 30 years of data to support our findings,
we know that what differentiates top performers from average performers is not what
they work on, but how they do their work.
Top performers have proactive cultures and
practices that allow them to perform at high
levels of mechanical availability at optimum
costs. The differentiating factor is not Process
Family, complexity, equipment counts, or age,
but the strategies used by organizations to keep
their assets in good shape and operating at
optimal levels.
If we look at this performance, it is obvious that their strategies are working. Q1
performers average at least a 2% mechanical
availability advantage over all the other
performers.
Let's return to the age discussion. Fig. 2
focuses on the Q2 through Q4 organizations
and the age of their assets. If age was a clear
disadvantage, we would expect to see the
difference between Q2 and Q3 performers
be much more than an average three-year
difference and the average between Q3 and Q4
performers to be more than four years.
If age was the driver, one would not expect
a four-year difference in age to cause a 6%
decrease in mechanical availability. Since age

10

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EP2005fsolomon.indd 10

Percentage mechanical
availability

Fig. 2: Mechanical Availability Based on RAM EI
100

Top performers are differentiated from average performers
not by what they work on, but
how they perform their work.

90
80
70

Q1

Q2

Quartile

Q3

Q4

Fig. 3: Maintenance Cost as Percentage
of PRV Based on RAM EI

Maintenance cost,
percentage of PRV

amance is an average of 13 years, the spread
between the quartiles is six years from Q1 to
Q2, three years from Q2 to Q3, and four years
from Q3 to Q4. The RAM study includes a
range of assets, from newly commissioned
plants to plants that have operated more than
70 years. If age was a determining performance factor, the expectation would be that
the average age differential between Q1 and
Q4 performers would be much broader than
13 years and only roughly five years between
quartiles. Since the average age of the quartiles
shows a linear "disadvantage" with age, but not
the magnitude expected, there must be factors,
other than age, that affect RAM spending. By
examining the study findings, we can evaluate
what truly drives top performance.

Source: Solomon Associates
International Study of Plant
Reliability and Maintenance
(RAM) Effectiveness

5

The normalization factor is plant replacement
value (PRV). When cost
performance by RAM EI is
examined, the inconclusive
premise of the age as a
disadvantage argument is
shown.

0

Source: Solomon Associates
International Study of Plant
Reliability and Maintenance
(RAM) Effectiveness

Q1

Q2

Quartile

Q3

does not appear to drive mechanical availability issues, it has to be something else.
Consider the cost to operate these assets
(Fig. 3). In the study, our normalization factor
is plant replacement value (PRV). When cost
performance by RAM EI is examined, you
can see the inconclusive premise of age as a
disadvantage.
If age was a critical issue, then the argument
made above, comparing the quartile performance, would also apply. It wouldn't make
much sense that just because the Q4 assets are,
on average, four years older than Q3 assets,
they would require 1.5% more in maintenance
spending on a PRV basis.
Mechanical availability and the spending to
achieve optimal performance level appear to
have very little to do with age as a driver across
the quartiles. The only question left to ask
is, if age is not a disadvantage, could it be an
advantage for Q1 performers? Again, based on
average age and the linear relationship between
Q1 and Q4, could the fact that Q1 assets are an

Q4

average of 13 years newer than Q4 assets be a
possible advantage?

BEST PRACTICES
DRIVE RELIABILITY
What we know from the study is that Q1 performers are not the best performers because of
things they can't control-equipment age, asset
counts, equipment complexity-but because of
the things they do control. They have a culture
that drives them to consistently perform best
practices and, as a result, deliver the necessary
mechanical availability to meet customer needs
at an optimum maintenance spend, or RAM
Effectiveness Index Q1 performance.
These best practices have nothing to do
with the type or age of assets being maintained. They involve planning, scheduling
and completion of work processes, and application of effective maintenance strategies.
The top performers are very proactive in the
way they do maintenance:
 When necessary, they perform condi-

MAY 2020

5/1/20 10:51 AM


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Efficient Plant May 2020

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