Round Table: Proactive Maintenance

Apr 15, 2019 4:30:49 PM

What is the biggest challenge that prevents mining companies from implementing the culture and practices of Proactive Maintenance?


As part of our Bluefield Transformation projects, we work with clients to help them understand and embed the culture and practices of proactive maintenance.  We asked some of our team members the following question:

What is the biggest challenge that prevents mining companies from implementing the culture and practices of Proactive Maintenance?

Stefan Van Der Linde:

Short term KPI's.  Added to that I think a lack of actual belief in the concept of proactive maintenance (from not seeing it implemented properly). The amount of times I hear on sites they don't have the money to perform more planned maintenance and yet they are happy to continue to spend it on breakdowns, which cost significantly more, boggles my mind. It does require some faith that the initial investment of increased proactive maintenance (which can raise your costs in the short term) will have positive results in the medium to long term.

John Thomsen:

I had a maintenance Superintendent in a work management training class a few years ago. After day one of three, he said "Thomo, I've been doing this stuff for 25 years but no-one has ever sat me down and explained it to me".

Ponnai Umapathy:

The frequent changes of leadership, with a change in focus on what is required to deliver, stopping progress.

James Owen:

I can see poor Operational Readiness setting operations up for a hard slog from the jump. In Brownfield mines we see results of the same thing, poorly set up (and messed with) CMMS, and basic processes that just don't make it easy for those that count- the tradie and line manager. However, you asked about culture and practices. That's about caring for the outcome.

Gerard Wood:

Bureaucracy, allow people to have ownership and address poor performance in an open and honest manner just like in a sporting team!

Mark O’Neill:

Approaching the problem top-down through process and procedure change without addressing the human element and getting the individuals to take ownership and care about the quality of the work they perform each day.

Colin Sheldon:

From an underground perspective, a lack of understanding by the mining team and upper management who are predominantly from mining backgrounds and not maintenance. e.g. for the conveyor system, if the major maintenance day was planned for Thursday but the belts had not been providing good availability for the week to date with unplanned breakdowns, the Thursday maintenance day would be cancelled to achieve weekly targets. Often these 12 hours maintenance days would have major contractors/OEM service engineers lined up to perform maintenance tasks that would then be called off. Too often the assets would get stuck in a breakdown cycle as planned activities were cancelled to achieve targets - there is only so much opportune maintenance you can do during a breakdown!

Gerard Wood:

Great comment Colin. The asset management plans that we create are a great tool to overcome this problem. It happens in open cut also. When the production people signoff on the AMP they are agreeing to abide by the scheduled downtime plan. So maybe cross functional agreed AMPs are part of the solution?

Jon Grose:

Turnover and lack of ownership.  Also, managers having BS KPIs driving their behaviour.

Gerard Wood:

All KPI's become BS if people performance is judged on them alone. People will achieve the KPI's even at the expense of the business. The real KPI is that the business grows and continues to improve its profitability. To achieve that everyone has to work together regardless of silo-ed KPI's.