How to Standardize Your Maintenance Program


“Without standards, there can be no improvement.” — Taiichi Ohno

Many of today’s industrial standards came from the mind of Taiichi Ohno. Mr. Ohno developed such production and management programs for Toyota, including:

  • Total production system
  • Lean manufacturing
  • Just in time manufacturing

You do not need to be an expert of these programs and others to know that the absence of a plan and standards is a recipe for failure. Maintenance and Reliability leaders know that they cannot complete their work without being linked to the larger organization and meeting its performance requirements.

Choosing the correct plan and adhering to its components is a sure way to achieve maintenance and asset reliability. The journey is hard. Many organizations modify systems to meet the condition they are in and the goals they wish to obtain. Very few companies adopt or use all of the various standards in programs without some modifications. The nature of most systems is a continuous modification process to meet current experiences and challenges.

Think about selecting tried-and-true plans

The adage of “you measure what you value,” indicates the critical criteria of a plan selection. Standards reflect the culture of an organization. Therefore, the “right” plan should measure what an organization values and work within its culture.

A key component of most modern production systems is the importance of the relationship between all of an organization’s entities. Team members on the production floor can work with the maintenance team, and the maintenance team can help the team members on the floor.

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is the latest version of Ohno’s Total Production System. TPM started in the 1960s. Many of its components are familiar to those involved in modern manufacturing. The foundation of TPM is the 5S process. Eight pillars of activities support the function of TPM.

The “Big Idea” behind TPM involves operators participating in the maintenance of equipment. Adherence to TPM promises improved manufacturing performance. Fewer breakdowns and defects from TPM activities can boost an organization’s performance.

Choose from other available metrics and standards

ISO 55000 provides a detailed roadmap to meet the rules of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO provides a standard platform to measure an organization’s success.

Another straightforward standards measurement is the primary use of maintenance metrics with a sole focus on equipment downtime and the performance of the maintenance branch through the use of a CMMS.

Solutions used to adopt a maintenance system are:

  • Downtime reporting from production. CMMS analysis provides greater clarity to all stakeholders about downtime.
  • Maintenance adherence to work plans. The number of work orders created versus the number of work orders completed provides good insight, as well as a comparison between planned work and reactive work.
  • Quality failures due to equipment conditions. This requires production and maintenance to work closely together and, ideally, form a maintenance program with equal buy-in.

Labor and cost analysis is a tricky metric when establishing maintenance performance standards. Asset leaders should be careful about the parameters that are chosen.

It is better for maintenance leaders to pursue those standards that they control directly. Work order compliance is a great start. Equipment downtime and line speed data are usually available through most control systems.

Comprehension of current conditions and goals is why matching an organization’s culture and communication is vital. Many organizations pursuing programs like predictive maintenance find their equipment costs go up because they encounter previously unseen problems. It is better when all parties are involved in understanding equipment and its maintenance requirements.

Stay true to the plan

Reliable Plant points that out good data is the tool to measure your operation’s current status and progress following adoption of a standard. Good data comes from the constant and accurate input of data into a CMMS or other type of maintenance software.

Plans developed with the active participation of all parties improves adherence and engagement. Maintenance technicians need to be prepared to participate in a program with the clerks in the front office as well as fellow technicians to boost program support.


Maintenance leaders should select standards that meet the organization’s culture and goals. There are several plans to choose from and most are modified to fit the organization. Selected plans should be shared broadly within the organization as an entire organization supports effective programs.

Want to keep reading?

Total Productive Maintenance [Pillars & Benefits of TPM] - UpKeep

Total Productive Maintenance is often defined as productive maintenance involving total participation of the organization.
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ISO 55000 - What Asset Managers Need to Know

Get an overview of ISO 55000 before reading the entire standard. The most important information is highlighted in this article
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What Are the Benefits of CMMS?

Learn how you can reap the benefits of a CMMS system to improve your productivity, asset health, and maintenance capabilities.
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