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5 tips to effectively “package maintenance” to unlock efficiencies

7 May 2020 by Add Energy

At a time when operations and maintenance teams are heavily focused on cost saving and resource maximization to assure productivity and profitability, it is critical to consider how you can work smarter with less. 

Packaging maintenance can be used to maintain different types of equipment within one work order across a defined boundary, like a package, system or equipment type. If done correctly, packaging maintenance can unlock significant efficiencies in maintenance execution, as well as improving system and plant availability. 

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While most organizations utilize this method to some degree, it is seldom followed through to its maximum potential. This is usually because the team is too busy with day to day operations and lacks the time to focus on the data driven element behind maintenance. 

In addition to this, those with packaged maintenance, may not have reviewed these strategies for a number of years, meaning they are not utilizing the most up to date philosophies.  

In this blog, we provide an example of what efficient packaging looks like, and offer 5 tips on how to achieve this. 

Example of efficient packaging:

Two examples of boundaries where maintenance packaging could work include: 

  • A vessel including the instrumentation, pumps, PSVs, motors and heaters
  • A pump package including the pump, gearbox, electric motor and circuit breaker

Let's expand this further by looking at the maintenance task to be applied to a pump where the tasks require an electrical isolation:

  • As you’ll be turning the power off to make things safe, you could maintain all the electrical equipment in that circuit (e.g. circuit breaker, cables, control box and electric motor) together with the pump and gearbox. 
  • Although this package maintenance will cover lots of equipment across multiple tasks and disciplines, it's a highly efficient way to organize your maintenance. 

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Packaging systems that are production critical can help improve system and plant availability because:

  • A production critical pump shouldn’t be taken offline multiple times to execute maintenance on different pieces of equipment associated with it - as this will cause excessive downtime
  • It should be taken offline only once, with all related equipment maintained during that period of outage

By improving system availability, this will save money on unnecessary downtime and increase the maintenance team’s productivity.

It is important to note that there is an element of balance to be struck when packaging maintenance. If the package is too large, the work order will, in essence,  remain open for longer, causing an illusion of false backlog, if one part of the job is taking longer to complete. 

If packaging is overused, this can make a maintenance programme very rigid and difficult to change. We’ve worked with some clients who have overpackaged, and we’ve had to reverse some of that into smaller, more manageable blocks.

5 tips for efficiently packaging your maintenance:

  1. Review a list of major equipment packages or systems that are critical to production and package those first

  2. Do not assign the same priority to all jobs in a maintenance package by:
    • Assessing the maintenance priority of each job in a package on its own merit 
    • Ensure safety critical jobs are prioritized if part of a package, so they are not downgraded to being production or business critical priority

  3. Ensure packaged maintenance jobs have long lead times, so they are visible in the system months in advance and can be planned correctly

  4. Ensure all supplementary jobs, spares and resources are planned in advance to allow effective execution of the packaged maintenance

  5. Ensure your weekly maintenance KPIs factor in jobs that can take longer than a week so they are not skewed

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