February 20, 2015
KPIs: Back to Basics
As professionals in the reliability industry, we tend to make things more complicated than they need to be. We are results-driven individuals (we have to be) and a good maintenance manager will tell you that if it isn't broke, you may still want to fix it. As a supervisor in this industry, you have to always ask yourself: is there something I can be doing better to improve performance? One way to help answer this question is to set good KPIs - Key Performance Indicators. And that, my friend, is what today"s article is all about.
When it comes to knowing if our maintenance and facility care plans are working - and how we measure them - our bosses tend to look at factors such as whether the equipment is working or if we are being a (necessary) drain on the company"s bottom line. Those of us in the thick of it, however, are more concerned with the performance of our equipment, avoiding downtime, reducing energy waste, and ramping up efficiency. If we can achieve those goals, then we can make the bosses happy and keep the lights on.
Measurement and setting realistic or obtainable "goals" is one way to achieve maintenance Nirvana. But how do we measure those goals and how do we know if what we are doing is truly effective? One way is to set - and measure - key performance indicators (KPIs).
What Are Key Performance Indicators?
Key performance indicators are earmarks or factors that you can look at and measure to determine if a given project, methodology, or task is performing at, below, or above expectations. When tackling any objective, you should always set performance indicators and aim to meet - or exceed - those benchmarks.
So what are some key performance indicators you should set? Typically, a maintenance manager or facility supervisor will want to set their KPIs along three paths: department and individual goals, site goals, and corporate goals.
Department Goals/Individual Goals
Examples of department goals could be something like increasing production by a certain percentage or enhancing machinery efficiency by a particular amount. If you decide you want to increase productivity by 5% over the course of several months, you would define set benchmarks that you need to hit in order to achieve this task. By measuring and aiming for these benchmarks, you can then receive a clear picture (and a defined path) that will let you know if you are on track or if you need to make adjustments to your end-goal.
Individual goals would include things such as obtaining a certain certification or completing training on equipment. Taking a course in OSHA standards or furthering education all fall under this category.
Site goals are a bit more complicated but follow the same principles. One great site goal to set for your department would be to reduce the energy waste of your machinery and facility by whatever amount you deem feasible. Benchmarks along the way could include ensuring preventative maintenance is performed on time (smooth running machines use less energy than poorly maintained ones), switching light switches to timers in non-essential areas, replacing outdated equipment with new machines, and focusing on energy-saver products where applicable.
As you incorporate each of these into your workflow, tick them off your list and rest assured you are on the path to achieving your site goal.
Corporate goals and key performance indicators centered around them tend to focus on the bottom line. How do we cut costs, improve worker efficiency, increase profit, and make sure the maintenance department is a profit center versus a cost center. All of your KPIs in this arena will likely be centered around these items. Worker safety and compliance will also feature as goals, though these will usually be lumped into department goals.
At the end of the day, KPIs are performance indicators that let you know how you project is going and if you are meeting your goals or not. The important thing is not just to hit the pre-defined benchmarks, but to monitor them, and adjust accordingly.