The Best Reliability Assessment Utilizes both Qualitative and Quantitative Results

By: Matt Price, B.S.M.E, C.M.R.P

Fully understanding the maintenance and reliability strengths and weaknesses within a facility can be a huge undertaking. Traditionally, a study to understand reliability is performed one of two ways. The first way is through calculating, tracking, and comparing key performance indicators, watching trends in work history, and the comparison of business units within the facility. The second is a qualitative approach, where the facility is questioned about compliance with best practices of maintenance and reliability activities to determine perceived strengths and weaknesses. A numerical assessment of facility reliability, while data-driven, can lack an ability to see the entire story behind said facility’s successes or failures. This approach has strengths, of which include an understanding of actual costs and work performed. Although, this numerical approach also has weaknesses, such as an overwhelming amount of data without a clear direction of how to begin analysis. The qualitative assessment also has weaknesses including potential bias from the personnel answering questions, however there are also strengths to this form of assessment, including a better overview of the state of reliability and maintenance programs as viewed by those within the organization.

A more effective and repeatable reliability assessment would include a quantitative assessment using plant CMMS work history to develop trends, key performance indicators, and comparisons that will either validate or invalidate strengths and weaknesses as determined in a qualitative assessment with plant personnel. The ability to reliably gather and assess historical CMMS data would depend on determining a set of requirements or data signatures which can be used to validate strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, the quantitative cost information can be effectively used to justify projects, programs, and personnel required to improve maintenance and reliability activities. A reliability assessment can most efficiently and effectively be administered in this way; the use of a qualitative assessment to better focus a quantitative analysis provides the best combination of overall understanding from personnel with the accuracy and reliability of historical data. 

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Matt Price will be speaking on September 21 at 11:30 AM at the Maintrain 2016 Conference in Toronto, ON, Canada.  Matt will be presenting on how to use a qualitative survey to further focus a quantitative reliability assessment.  If you or others in your company are interested in attending Maintrain 2016, you may reach out to Pioneer Engineering at (970) 266-9005 for an exclusive $200 discount.  More information as well as registration can be found at Maintrain's official website here.