The maintainability of a company’s assets is a reflection of its maintenance effectiveness and performance. Downtime due to asset failure is not 100% preventable. So, the main goal of maintenance is to effectively and efficiently deal with failure and minimize downtime. Here, we explain the concept of asset maintainability and how it differs from reliability. You will also learn how measuring and tracking maintainability can improve maintenance efficiency.
What is Maintainability?
Asset Maintainability or AM refers to the ease of identifying, repairing, and restoring an asset to its full functionality after it has experienced an issue. To illustrate, a piece of equipment that you repair faster and with lesser resources has high maintainability.
You can measure AM using one of the key performance indicators (KPIs) of maintenance, MTTR or mean time to repair. The MTTR of an asset is the average time it takes to repair and restore it. Because maintainability is related to an asset’s reliability, AM is sometimes confused with reliability.
Asset Maintainability vs. Reliability vs. Availability
As discussed in the section Reliability Availability Maintainability (RAM) Analysis of our Redlist dictionary, maintainability is one of the three interconnected maintenance performance terms.
Reliability tells how likely an asset will perform without fail under standard conditions for a definite period. You can measure the reliability of assets with metrics like the mean time between failures (MTBF) and mean time to failure (MTTF).
Whereas AM answers the question of how easy to repair an asset, reliability answers the question of how likely an asset will be put to repair or stop working. Together, reliability and maintainability affect availability, or the ability of an asset to perform its functions and be useful.
Assets that have poor maintainability and low reliability mean that they also have decreased availability. In other words, if a piece of equipment:
- Takes too long to repair
- Repeatedly breaks down
- It will be rarely available.
Factors Affecting Asset Maintainability
Asset maintainability relies on technicians who perform repairs and the resources at their disposal. Below are the factors that affect AM:
- Organized and accessible resources – The faster the technicians can access the tools, manuals, and materials they need to repair an asset, the easier it will be to resolve downtime.
- Updated operating and troubleshooting information – Technicians must have access to all the relevant information to pinpoint and fix the issue for the faster repair of malfunctioning assets.
- Effective standard operating procedures (SOPs) – Technicians and maintenance personnel must have a reference document to follow to perform the correct and effective repair faster and more effectively.
- Regular training – Technicians must continuously improve their skills and learn new technologies to increase their efficiency in repairing assets.
Asset Maintainability and Maintenance Efficiency
Measuring and improving asset maintainability is an excellent way to enhance the efficiency of your maintenance procedures. For example, if you know it takes you a long time to repair and restore your assets, you can implement a more efficient system that will resolve issues faster and with fewer resources.
You can start by recording when an issue occurs in an asset and the time the asset is back in operation. From this, you can measure your MTTR on each asset which will let you know if your maintenance team is spending too much time and resources on resolving issues.
Getting high MTTRs means that the assets’ maintainability is low and your maintenance efficiency is low. You can then take the necessary steps to improve your maintenance efficiency.
Thus, the accurate and timely recording of maintenance procedures is necessary to assess maintainability and improve maintenance efficiency. But this is rarely accomplished because of the dynamic and fast-paced nature of the work in the production, manufacturing, and maintenance areas.
CMMS for Improved Maintainability
Thankfully, there are maintenance tracking tools that you can use to measure and track asset maintainability rapidly. One of these tools is CMMS or Computerized Maintenance Management Systems. CMMS is a software or application that you can use on your mobile or desktop computer where you can record the details of your maintenance procedures.
With CMMS like Redlist, you can take quick notes and receive real-time reports. Thus, you can measure and track MTTRs with ease and accuracy. Ultimately, it can speed up and increase the accuracy of your maintainability assessment and maintenance improvements.