Maintenance manger with a laptop

February 5, 2024

| 4 min read

Criticality analysis: What is it and how is it done?

Criticality and reliability-centered maintenance go hand-in-hand. Think about it: We’re told to prioritize PMs for critical assets, to build a TPM plan that accommodates critical pieces of equipment, and to perform root cause analysis (opens in new tab) on machinery that we consider to be high priority based on criticality. But how do we decide what makes equipment critical? In short, it all comes down to risk. Performing criticality analysis allows you to understand the potential risks that could impact your business.

What is criticality analysis?

Criticality analysis is a systematic approach of assigning a criticality rating to assets based on their potential risks. Still sounds kind of abstract, right? How can risk be quantified? It helps to think about criticality analysis as part of larger failure modes effects like FMEA (opens in new tab) and FMECA (opens in new tab).

Learn how to fix a broken maintenance strategy with FMEA

Read more (opens in new tab)

As we’ve defined it recently, failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is an approach that identifies all possible ways that equipment can fail and analyzes the effect those failures can have on the system as a whole. Failure mode, effects, and criticality analysis (FMECA) takes it a step further by conducting a risk assessment for each failure mode, and then prioritizing what corrective actions should be taken.

Download your free FMEA template here (opens in new tab)

Why is criticality analysis important?

As James Kovacevic of Eruditio describes (opens in new tab), using a predetermined system to evaluate risk allows you to remove emotion from the equation. This ensures that reliability is truly approached from a risk-based point of view, rather than individual perception. Once equipment undergoes relative ranking based on its criticality, work can be properly prioritized, and a condition monitoring (opens in new tab) strategy can be put in place. Performing an equipment criticality analysis also helps to clarify what can be done to reduce the risk associated with each asset.

Who’s responsible for criticality analysis?

So, who actually carries out criticality analysis? Industry experts say that it should be a cross-functional effort. We couldn’t agree more. It’s a much more effective process if input from operations, maintenance, engineering, materials management, and employee health and safety functions is considered. After all, risk can be defined differently for different teams. And since assigning risk will always be somewhat subjective, having a diverse background of knowledge to draw on will help to curb that.

How to assess the criticality of an asset within Fiix CMMS

Asset criticality acts as a prioritization tool, allowing us to determine the most suitable maintenance strategies based on the significance of assets and their impact on a plant’s business objectives.

Edit criticality score for new equipment dashboard

Fiix’s scoring system clearly identifies how important a piece of equipment is to an organization. The customer can easily select their equipment and score each one by ranking the likelihood of failure, and the impact of a failure to generate a critical rating.

Critical rating matrix graph

There are numerous industry theories that discuss how to conduct criticality analysis, and we have chosen ours due to its simplicity. Learn more about how to create an ACR when developing an asset management model.

Conduct your own asset criticality analysis using this free resource

Download template (opens in new tab)

How to use criticality analysis within Fiix CMMS to benefit your maintenance planning

Using criticality analysis within Fiix CMMS can help maintenance teams use their resources efficiently by focusing on maintaining their critical assets first. There are different ways you can use the asset criticality field in Fiix Analytics to help manage your work, including creating or filtering your own dashboards. Here are a few ways you can use this field to sort through your criticality:

  1. Tracking your equipment. You can leverage the different visualizations within Analytics to see what percentage of your assets are at each risk rating (based on the definitions displayed in the feature itself). You can do this by creating groupings for the asset criticality field and filtering out any records without ratings. This can be further segmented by category or location of your equipment to give you a clear view of the risk across your plant.
    Dashboard: assets by criticality risk rating
  2. Identifying equipment without a rating: This shows you how many of your equipment records you haven’t assessed yet. This is useful for maintaining data quality in the system as equipment and sites are added and removed. This is done by filtering records with no ratings and filtering to only include equipment.
  3. Prioritizing work: You can also use analytics to keep track of open, late, or upcoming work orders, so that you prioritize work and allocate resources appropriately based on the equipment’s criticality.

These are just a few of the examples of how you can use Fiix to manage asset criticality. Incorporating criticality analysis into your maintenance planning proves to be a strategic approach for enhancing asset management. In utilizing visual reports to identify trends, gaps, and insights, Fiix CMMS empowers maintenance teams to become more proactive and organized. You not only optimize resource allocation but also foster a culture of preventative maintenance, ultimately contributing to the longevity and reliability of your most critical equipment.

A 5 step criticality analysis checklist for maintenance teams using Fiix CMMS

Now that you have a better understanding of how criticality analysis helps prioritize maintenance tasks. Here’s a summarized step-by-step checklist for performing criticality analysis for maintenance teams:

  1. Define objectives: Clearly state why you are conducting the analysis. This could be to prioritize maintenance tasks, optimize spare parts inventory, or any other specific goal.
  2. Identify assets and systems: List down all the assets, equipment, and systems that your assessment will focus on.
  3. Gather data: Collect all necessary data to help evaluate the assets based on the set criteria. This can include past maintenance records, manufacturer’s data, and operational feedback.
  4. Score each asset: In Fiix, assign a score to each asset by selecting the appropriate response to the two criteria.
  5. Re-evaluate each year: This is an ongoing process, and every year maintenance teams should re-evaluate their assessments to ensure it aligns with priorities and the organization’s evolving needs.

The benefits of conducting criticality analysis

There are a series of practical outcomes from maintenance teams when they conduct criticality analysis. Criticality, at a high level, is imperative for the advancement of maintenance maturity; lacking it often results in inconsistent decision-making. Establishing a commonality factory is essential for informed decision-making. Criticality serves as a tool to identify inefficiencies in processes and equipment and facilitates the discovery of waste. Using criticality analysis creates an environment where insights become more accessible, leading to savings in parts and improved allocation of resources, ultimately minimizing waste through an asset criticality score.

Embracing the power of criticality analysis for informed decisions

Criticality analysis, at its core, is a tool that transforms abstract risks into tangible data, enabling businesses to make informed decisions about their assets. In an industry where equipment reliability is paramount, understanding the nuanced layers of risk is not just beneficial–it’s essential. But what sets criticality analysis apart from other risk assessment methods is its emphasis on a collective, cross-functional approach. By incorporating diverse perspectives from various departments, businesses are equipped to gauge risks from multiple angles, creating a more holistic and accurate assessment.

Get a nine-step plan for modernizing maintenance

See it in The Business Leader's Guide to Digital Transformation in Maintenance

Download the guide

Business leader's guide to digital transformation

Want to see Fiix in action?

No problem. You can try it today.

Free tour

fiix dashboard screenshot