Maintenance metrics 101: A crash course in data-driven maintenance

September 13, 2023

| 5 min read

Maintenance metrics 101: A crash course in data-driven maintenance

What are maintenance metrics?

Maintenance metrics are numerical measurements that track specific processes, like daily work orders received by the maintenance department. These metrics quantify performance, offering insights into your facility’s operations, and guiding better decision-making for improvements.

There is a difference between maintenance KPIs and maintenance metrics. KPIs connect progress to performance, while metrics connect performance to action. In other words, KPIs are the target you’re aiming at, and metrics are the arrows you’re shooting at the target. For example, your maintenance KPI might take downtime, and the metrics you measure for this KPI might include mean time to repair (MTTR) or inventory accuracy.


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Why are maintenance metrics important?

Maintenance metrics are crucial for several reasons:

  • Performance evaluation: Metrics provide objective data to assess the performance of maintenance operations. By measuring various aspects of maintenance, facilities can understand how well they’re performing in comparison to past performances or industry benchmarks.
  • Informed decision making: Quantitative data removes guesswork and allows managers to make decisions based on evidence. Knowing, for example, the mean time to repair (MTTR) for specific equipment can inform whether it’s more cost-effective to repair or replace it.
  • Identify areas for improvement: By analyzing maintenance metrics, organizations can pinpoint inefficiencies or areas where performance is lagging. This knowledge can guide efforts to improve processes, training, or resources.
  • Cost savings: Metrics can highlight wasteful practices or areas where resources are being underutilized. By addressing these areas, companies can save money in the long run.
  • Enhance equipment longevity: Proper maintenance, as indicated by positive metrics, can extend the life of machinery and equipment, preventing premature replacements and ensuring optimal operation.

What are the most common maintenance metrics?

Everything in maintenance can be divided into two areas: people and assets. Tracking, analyzing and optimizing the performance of these two elements is the key to maintenance success. Some of the most common maintenance metrics include:

  1. Operational metrics: Measuring the way people work
    Measuring the performance of your team makes it easier to eliminate inefficiencies, redundancies, and reactive maintenance. Operational metrics help you manage your people so they can achieve their full potential.

  2. Asset performance metrics: Measuring the way equipment works
    Assets make the products that your company is built on. That’s why it’s key for equipment to function reliably (and for a long time). Asset metrics allow you to track the way maintenance impacts asset performance and ensure equipment always runs like it’s supposed to.

  3. Inventory metrics: Measuring the way parts work
    Good inventory management often leads to good maintenance. When the right part is in the right location, tasks are done quickly and correctly. Inventory metrics give you the information needed to make better decisions about spare parts and help your maintenance excel.

What maintenance metrics should you be measuring?

There are often some key metrics that most maintenance teams measure regularly. For example, downtime is tracked, and it is a direct indication of the maintenance department’s performance and impacts production schedules and costs. In addition, some other commonly tracked metrics include:

  • Mean time between failures (MTBF)
  • Mean time to repair (MTTR)
  • Planned maintenance percentage (PMP)
  • Stock turnover ratio

There are a few key steps to take when choosing the maintenance metrics that make sense for your organization.

  1. Determine your organization’s objectives.
  2. Formulate a broad strategy to meet these goals.
  3. Associate each goal with a measurable KPI, emphasizing its significance.
  4. Identify the individuals responsible for the plan’s execution and decide on measurement and influence methods.
  5. Gather input from various stakeholders, such as technicians and operators, to pinpoint relevant processes and KPIs, guiding you to vital metrics for your organization.

How to track maintenance metrics

Tracking maintenance metrics effectively involves a blend of technology, processes, and best practices. It takes a series of steps, but here are three main steps to follow on how to best track maintenance metrics:

  1. Identify your key metrics: If it isn’t already obvious, you first need to determine which metrics are most relevant to your organization’s goals and operations. Examples include mean time to repair (MTTR), mean time between failures (MTBF), preventive maintenance compliance, etc.
  2. Use CMMS software: Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) are tools for managing maintenance operations. They can capture, store, and analyze various maintenance metrics automatically.
  3. Implement IoT and sensors: Modern equipment often has built-in sensors that can provide real-time data. This data can track performance metrics and predict when maintenance might be needed.

Three questions you need to ask to track maintenance metrics

After selecting your metrics, you need to know how to track them. This is done with three crucial ingredients: Tools, processes, and people.

The right tools capture the numbers and calculate the metrics. The right processes turn that data into information, and that information into a strategy. Finally, the right people help your organization run the tools, execute the processes, and implement strategies.

There are three key questions you need to ask to make sure you get the right tools, processes, and people.

  1. How are you going to measure progress?
    This question helps you get organized. It establishes which tools are best for tracking the numbers you want, who is responsible for monitoring progress, your methods for keeping data accurate, and a process for analyzing results.
  2. How can you influence the outcome?
    This question helps you take action. It allows you to wrap your head around all the ways a metric can be influenced and identify which metrics you have control of, so you can build a strategy around them.
  3. How will you know if you’re successful?
    This question helps you close the loop. It creates a finish line to aim for, so you can understand if you need a new goal or if you need to make adjustments to reach the one you already have.

Ways metrics to improve your maintenance operation

Maintenance metrics are useless if they don’t lead to real change at your organization. There are plenty of ways that metrics can be used to make your operation better in the areas that matter most to you and your company.

  1. Reduce downtime: Examining maintenance metrics allows you to determine where downtime is a problem and how it’s caused. For example, analyzing MTBF and MTTR can help you identify if downtime is caused by a fundamental issue with an asset or by a weak work order process. You can use maintenance metrics to connect the dots and eliminate bad habits or the root cause of breakdowns to reduce downtime.
  2. Improve health and safety: Reactive maintenance has been shown to cause more than twice the number of accidents than preventive maintenance. Measuring maintenance metrics, like PMP and PMC, can give your preventive maintenance program a boost and help you prevent accidents and pass audits. These metrics allow you to find ways that the work order process can be improved, giving technicians the tools and resources, they need to do the job more quickly, easily, and safely.
  3. Cut costs: Maintenance metrics can help you spot where you’re spending money unnecessarily. Take stock turn ratio as an example. Calculating STR tells you if you’re overstocking or understocking inventory, which is a starting point for identifying high-usage and low-usage parts. This allows you to maximize your inventory budget and mitigate the impact of breakdowns by ensuring crucial parts are onsite.
  4. Increase efficiency: Efficient assets and efficient maintenance operations are often linked. Overall equipment effectiveness is a maintenance metric that can pinpoint where efficiency is lacking in your operation so you can fix it. OEE is a tool for evaluating the people, processes, and tools that impact production. For example, if poor quality is dragging your OEE downwards, it is likely due to process failures or a lack of standardization. With this information, you can work on improving these areas of your operation.
  5. Communicate the value of maintenance: Maintenance is often a thankless profession, but being able to communicate its value is key to getting extra resources and executive buy-in for new strategies. Numbers tell the best story, which is where maintenance metrics can help. They allow you to connect a change in process (moving from paper to digital work orders), to a quantifiable improvement (lower MTTR), and that improvement to ROI (increased uptime/revenue).

Maintenance metrics: The building blocks of maintenance success

Information is pivotal for maintenance professionals, reducing reliance on intuition and guesswork. Maintenance metrics offer this vital information, boosting uptime and efficiency, and aiding in making informed decisions on matters like inventory and asset performance. The effectiveness of these metrics hinges on the facility’s data management systems and processes. With proper management, maintenance operations can achieve unparalleled heights.

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