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Study: Increases in maintenance budgets can propel uptime

Limited budgets and aging equipment are the most commonly cited barriers keeping maintenance and reliability departments from improving their total manufacturing uptime.

That's according to the results of the 2003 Maintenance Performance Metrics Survey, a new study from Rockwell Automation and Plant Services magazine (

Conducted in August 2003, the survey asked 519 maintenance and plant manufacturing managers in North American industrial companies to indicate the business metrics they use today to measure uptime performance and the ways in which they apply those measures to maintenance repair and operations (MRO) activities.

The survey indicates that while manufacturers measure corporate performance through production uptime and return-on-investment metrics, they do not apply the same metrics at the maintenance department level. Maintenance managers believe that corporate officers most often use factors such as “meeting production goals,” “uptime,” and “return on investment (ROI)” to measure MRO activities. Some (58%) of respondents said uptime is a key metric, and 78% noted that meeting production goals is a primary tool to measure manufacturing performance.

Survey participants noted that decreased expenses and improved production uptime are top company-wide priorities for the coming year, yet 79% said one of the largest barriers to improving uptime is budget limitations. Respondents noted that increasing the maintenance budget by a third would help meet corporate goals for uptime.

Additional highlights of the 2003 Maintenance Performance Metrics Survey include:

- Although respondents view improving uptime and meeting uptime goals as priorities, more than half of the respondents’ organizations do not meet uptime goals of 90% or higher.

- Strategies most often used to maintain uptime, in order of preference, include scheduled maintenance, routine maintenance, spare part inventory, training, reactive maintenance, and predictive maintenance.

- Most participants believe that “equipment reliability” and “equipment availability” have a major effect on improving uptime. Three-fourths of respondents said a “knowledgeable and skilled staff” also can have a major effect on improving uptime.

- Most respondents said they’d like to spend less time on reactive maintenance and more on preventive maintenance. One-fifth of the respondents are spending time on predictive or planned maintenance.

- Four-fifths of participants said they generally rely on outsourced repair services on an as-needed basis, primarily due to limited staffing (73%) and limited skills or experience (59%).

Detailed in the October 2003 issue of Plant Services, the results of the survey can also be viewed at

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