Bluefield Transformations: Focus on Work Quality

Jul 31, 2019 2:58:31 PM

The quality of maintenance that is applied to an asset has a great effect on reliability. People and culture are difficult to improve and as such is usually ignored. 

By Peter Yates 

Bluefield is often engaged by clients to review and improve maintenance execution work quality. (Read some of our previous articles here and here). 

Asset reliability affects the bottom line of any business, and as cost pressures rise, we must focus on implementing improvement projects that add bang for buck. It’s also vital that the improvements are sustainable (a problem we’ve previously written about). 

Historically, our focus for poor equipment reliability has been on “the what” and “the when” of maintaining an asset, which typically included strategy and service sheet reviews. We have learned over time that while these processes and documents are important, there is one factor missing: “the how”.  

The quality of how maintenance is applied to the asset has a great effect on reliability. People and culture are difficult to improve and as such is usually ignored. 

Bluefield have completed a number of Maintenance Transformation projects for clients. While we acknowledge there are other components to asset maintenance, such as planning, scheduling, stores etc, we focus our improvement program specifically on execution: “the how”.  

While the process is adapted to suit individual sites, we’ve learned that three key steps (below) are essential to a successful Transformation: 


  • Evaluate – paint a picture of how their assets are currently performing and what effect maintenance practices are having. Time usage model (TUM) data, completed service sheet reviews and talking to maintenance technicians are some examples of what is used to paint the picture.   
  • Transform – Share the evaluation findings with the execution team and discuss. This is referred to as holding up the mirror. The output of this stage is to develop a set of agreements that the team will live by to improve. Actions will also be developed and owned by the team to enable the agreements.  
  • Sustain – Checking in to see how the agreements and actions are progressing or staying on site to support the implementation of same. For sustainability, it is important to support the key stakeholders and not do the work for them. 

Transformations help teams identify their issues and opportunities, understand how they came to be, and how to rectify them in a sustainable manner. Successful teams have: 

  • People with complementary skills; 
  • People who are committed to common goals; and  
  • People who are committed to an approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. 

Through the Transformation process, teams will understand that change is uncomfortable but necessary to improve. Importantly, the change is owned and driven by the client, not Bluefield, and this means the success they achieve is more likely to be sustained in the long term.