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Rail Industry Contributed Content Home

May 2014



Mechanical Posting

Coordinating preventive maintenance activities and spare parts usage in a centralized repair facility




By Jim H. Davis

Performing scheduled preventive maintenance (PM) and predictive maintenance (PdM) activities on incoming equipment to a centralized repair facility (i.e., rail transportation equipment, surface transportation vehicles or assigned fleet vehicles) is one of the most important, if not the most important, set of activities that an organization can apply as part of an overall asset care and reliability program. 

The benefits are many, such as: 

• Repair/replacement of worn items/parts due to usage, time in service, normal wear and tear, and/or abuse. (Typically, these are predetermined patterns and conditions easily corrected by scheduled PMs.) Note: This could/should also include scheduled cleaning and sanitation activities, as well. 

• The identity of possible or impending failures not normally found or covered in scheduled time-based or calendar based PMs can either be repaired while the unit is already in the repair facility or put on a watch list for further monitoring, in-the-field checks and inspections for addressing at a later time. (Typically, predetermined patterns and conditions can easily be found by performing non-invasive and timely PdMs.) 

• Pre-scheduled and pre-planned work allows for faster and more efficient turn-around times to get needed equipment back into service. 

• Improved performance and utilization of the units, once put back in service, until the next scheduled repair center visit. 

• Increased overall safety of operations due to finding and resolving operational or other issues before they occur in service and affect other units, the entire network and/or passengers. 

• Pre-scheduled and pre-planned repair center visits provide the opportunity windows for 

equipment upgrades and modifications (i.e., for technology, safety or longevity). 

• A sound asset care and reliability program helps extend the service life (i.e., lifecycle) of the equipment to further maximize ROI. 

To accomplish and fully realize the many benefits noted above requires: 

• Attention to detail 

• Standardized policies and procedures 

• Complete management and supporting staff support and involvement 

• Impeccable data and equipment history files 

• A fully optimized CMMS/EAM software system 

• Optimized, effective and efficient work requirements, tasks and activities (i.e., PMs 

and PdMs, etc.) 

• On-hand MRO parts and supplies, and other required materials 

• Proper tools and repair equipment 

• Training for all personnel involved. 

The key to efficiency and effectiveness of required checks, inspections, calibrations, repairs, upgrades and modifications is good planning and scheduling. This provides three major advantages:

1. Knowing when a unit is due for a scheduled centralized repair facility visit so that it can be appropriately routed in the general direction of the destined facility and the provisioning of a replacement unit to provide uninterrupted service while the scheduled unit is offline for due service. 

2. Maintenance and other needed personnel, along with needed support tooling and equipment, can be appropriately staffed and scheduled. 

3. MRO spare parts, supplies and materials can be acquired in advance (utilizing the appropriate JIT approach for that given operation) to further ensure that the parts and supplies needed are on-hand, in the quantities needed, and ready for issue to the appropriate job work order. 

For a sample scenario of how this could all come about for the best effectiveness and efficiency, follow this link.

In summary: If you can’t get the right parts, at the right time, in the right quantity at the best overall cost, it will result in excessive downtime, lost revenue, expedited/excessive purchasing and freight costs, overtime and rework. 

It makes sense then, to have documented policies, practices and procedures, and standardized methodologies, accurate job descriptions, clearly defined roles and responsibilities, clear accountability, good data — and well-trained and motivated personnel. 

Jim H. Davis is vice president of business development for Performance Consulting Associates Inc., which provides asset maintenance management and MRO supply chain solutions in North America. He can be reached at davis@pcaconsulting.com.




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