A question and answer session with Dmitry Kisil

Questions for the interview with Mr D. Shorten,

Maintenance Management Services Product Manager, Lloyd’s Register

 This is a response to questions posed by Dmitry as part of an MBA project –
reproduced here with his kind permission
  • What are CBM weaknesses?

 With all different maintenance strategy options there are areas of weakness as there is no “one size fits all” solution to reliability management.

Personally I think people get rather bogged down with labeling. NO maintenance policy is formed by a single strategy it will have been created from a mix of devices, strategies and tools that works best. However, one thing is CERTAIN; to get the most out of every piece of equipment we operate we must only spend money on it when it is needed and at no other stage. We cannot improve the inherent reliability of a system from the day we take ownership, unless we make modifications to the design, which is unlikely to be cost effective, so we are stuck with our machines. What we should try and do is really understand what the risks and consequences of each machines failure means to our business. From here we can really understand which machines are most important to us, why they are important to us and to which we should offer the greatest priority.

This starts with the question “can we tolerate a failure?” if yes then shall we simply wait for the device to fail and then replace it – this may be acceptable, e.g. non-specific lamps.

If failure is not to be tolerated then we must ask if there is a cost effective CM task that could be deployed to protect the device by checking for symptoms linked to that failure and by then intervening before the fault becomes established. If not then we must define a scheduled task that will return the asset to a new/acceptable condition prior to any measurable deterioration.

Finally, if this not possible then some re-design will be necessary to remove the failure mode or to move it into one of the categories above.

To answer your other point regarding PPM etc. all maintenance is planned apart from when things fail unexpectedly – this is then a repair! A well-managed maintenance strategy will use CBM + PM plus watch keeping and housework tasks, performance monitoring and run to failure components. The mix will depend upon the specifics of the company in question!

Regarding the run to failure approach – for certain things this is already normal. We do not repair pumps, or small motor gearboxes, we swap out PCB’s and relays, even quite significant items are becoming non serviceable. Again this will reach equilibrium according to the risk/reward balance.

  1. Budget planning / control and CBM.

I believe that very few engineering managers would have a career if they did not understand that they were responsible for other people’s money! I believe that you should spend as little as possible whilst meeting the needs of the organisation, i.e. compliance, safety, environment and other business specific drivers must be considered and expected levels of assurance met. I do not believe that you should increase risks or fail to meet obligations, though I am aware that often short cuts are made in order to meet the perceived business needs. This has its own risks and in our industry these risks if opened up and consequences realised, these consequences could prove fatal to a individual, a product or service and even the company itself!

I do not agree that CBM activities within a maintenance management strategy should be treated any differently to any other means of achieving the desired reliability and functional capability. In a perfect world machines would achieve their design life (whatever that means?), however random effects are more significant that most people realise or acknowledge hence the reason we have to react to unplanned events more often than we would like to. What time based maintenance allows is for us to smooth the resource expenditure plan as we know when jobs are going to be done and we can plan without significant peaks and troughs accordingly. This places the plan itself at the head of the strategy not the asset, this is not quite the “tail wagging the dog”, but similar! This may, for some if not the majority of machines, be a perfectly acceptable management strategy as any losses incurred by maintaining too early or too often are vastly out-weighed by the cost to monitor and resource spares within tight planning windows etc. Certainly large consumable items with long lead times like pistons, liners, crankshafts etc. may render the CBM activity null or require additional inventory adding further cost. Certainly the potential of the open ended operational cycle is within sight. We are already looking at 7.5 years for some ships survey cycle, moving away from the traditional 5 year approach. In fact with our latest MCBM descriptive note we have removed all due dates and in practice this may mean that for the life of the asset in question no invasive survey will be required and there is also the potential for no unnecessary preventative overhauls to be performed.

  1. Cultural changes.

This is a very big issue and is significantly based upon the risk/reward balance. Other industries like aviation, nuclear, rail, power gen and some large scale production facilities are subject to overbearing cost penalties for not meeting contracted supply obligations. Certainly in the gas production world many hundreds of thousands of dollars per day have been cited. This is a clear driver for maximised reliability and fewest surprises. Nuclear facilities must protect staff and environment and thus have in place significant levels of additional assurance via multi-level safety procedures and extensive failure prevention devices such as CM and via CBM avoid unnecessary access to sensitive plant spaces. Again the use and thus cost to instigate CM and CBM becomes insignificant under these conditions. We within Marine on the other hand are faced with exceptionally low freight rates, over supply, regulations that require redundancy and a conservative culture resistant to change. We do not build in capability when vessels are new, we struggle to retrofit once in service and we continually face resistance from those who see technology as a threat to themselves.

Do shore staff and seagoing staff have to be treated differently in light of CBM implementation?

CBM implementation should be treated the same whether shore based or not. CBM is no different to the reading of a gauge and then taking a decision to adjust a valve. The creation of scheduled PM tasks for instance, is based upon the manufacturers experience and then tailored to fit with the operation of the specific asset on each specific vessel. When a PM system generates a work order to go and perform a maintenance task that requires the machine to be stopped and locked off, the engineer performs the necessary procedures to make safe and inform the necessary personnel etc. he then performs the task and thereafter returns the asset to a safe operational status and closes the work order. A CM job would be just the same, however the machine is normally left in operation. The only material difference is that the output from the CM task at times will generate an invasive PM task. This is then the controlling entity and not a sterile set of documents from the equipment manufacturer which have no understanding of the local needs. That said the more dynamic manufacturers continue, somewhat belatedly to realise that there are opportunities which stem from offering alternative maintenance strategies for their machinery. For staff competency there is certainly acceptance that CM and CBM roles require some training dependent upon each individuals needs but this is no different to any new training requirement for any technological development such as when moving from conventional electrical systems to PLC control.

What particular problems do you foresee with implementing the cultural change and what would be the set of rules to deal with these problems?

You cannot enforce cultural change though you can make changes to force activities by regulation – Though I see no scenario where regulations would be changed simply to facilitate the change in a maintenance regime unless there was a clear case that to avoid using CM and CBM would endanger life. That said, SOLAS amendments have supported improvements in this area see below;

1.2.2 Safety management objectives of the Company should, inter alia: .2 establish safeguards against all identifiable risks; 1.2.2 Safety management objectives of the Company should, inter alia:.2 establish safeguards against all identifiable risks and assess all risks to its ships, personnel and the environment and establish appropriate safeguards;

This is welcomed but is rather subjective and not sufficient to force a given change upon the market.

The main problem with cultural change within our industry is the number of stakeholders that have to move at the same time to drive this type of initiative forward. Owners, operators, charters insurers, class, PSC, legislators etc. all have to at least accept CM and CBM as a viable alternative otherwise the benefits will be diminished.

  1. Motivators for a change (PM to CBM).

 What would be the main motivators for 3 main groups?

  • For owners; Cost reduction, promotion of position within the industry and competitive advantage
  • For managers; Lower operational costs due to fewer unforeseen events and lower consumables plus the opportunities offered by consistently achieving better overall performance
  • For ship-board crews. Fewer unnecessary tasks, more technical and thus rewarding engineering role, greater satisfaction as a result of working on real and necessary engineering activities.
  1. How to create “CBM” bond between the office and the ship.

In the same article you admit that power and control have shifted from the ship to the office. I am of the opinion that the very existence of such centre of power divides the company into 2 antagonistic camps.

You may well be right as one see the other as an adversary – probably because they have slightly conflicting roles and see each other as an obstacle rather than a support structure. I believe that if the maintenance plan was controlled by the office but enacted by the ship and that the remote separation between the ship and shore could be reduced to one simply of physical distance then they may work better together. I also believe that functions such as procurement of spares should be driven by the maintenance strategy and not exist in spite of it!

All parties need to feel and knowingly believe that they are on the same side fighting the same war!

The power for the ship should be held squarely by the CE as he takes responsibility for the ships functionality and ongoing performance. The controlling entity for the business and maintenance strategy and thus the management support systems which control the overall activity of maintenance management has to be ashore so that the coordination between the needs of each vessel and the fleet as a whole can be catered for. In broad terms the strategic management should be ashore whilst the day to day management should be local.

What could be the steps to promote such equality?

I think that there has to be complete and utter trust between the permanent shore staff and all the rotating CE’s and their teams. There cannot be an “us and them” culture. There has to be a co-operative and team building approach to the engineering operation. This must start by effectively marketing the headline management strategy to the various stakeholders i.e. selling the strategy to the CE’s, superintendents, junior engineers and procurement officers. Where there are doubts these must be freely aired and the points discussed and if objections are raised these must be fairly considered and as necessary reflected in a continuum of change. If there are individuals who by their very nature seek to disrupt such a process then they should be encouraged to participate more usefully or be re-allocated. However, often critics are very good influencers therefore if they can be empowered by building trust and by being demonstration of empathy to their criticisms very often these can act as conduits of change in the less vocal but equally marginal personnel. One idea which I have some support for is the creation of a deputy chief engineer whose role is to manage the CM and CBM activities within the ship. This ties the CBM role into the most senior level within the ship without encumbering the CE with unnecessary detail activity. This role would be strategic and feed not only within the ship but within the fleet so that lessons learned are quickly passed around and opportunities for failure avoidance are maximized.

People are at the center and the systems are tools to aid the people to do their job well!

People are at the center of all these procedural and system lead activities. The best laid and detailed CBM management process will not work if it is not bound in culturally. The system, its features and tools facilitate more flexibility and greater scope for data manipulation diagnostics, prognostics etc. But without the hearts of the people being part of the system it will fail! The Achilles heel of CBM – is the people within! Win their trust and CBM can be highly effective.

With thanks to Dmitry Kisil, Loss Prevention Executive, West of England Insurance Services (Luxembourg) S.A.

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