Beyond Zero-Defect – Benchmarking Planned Maintenance at Vikram Cement

Looks like the term “cost center” will soon become an anachronism. The awareness that every link in the value chain has a direct implication on the bottom-line has redefined the approach of organizations to value creation. Almost every current management/quality model focuses on integrating all functions – “cost centers” and “profit centers” – to attain competitive advantage. This seems to be the philosophy behind Vikram Cement’s Planned Maintenance system.

Of course, in these days of TQM and TPM no competitive organization would consider maintenance as a contingency or ad hoc function. What I find remarkable about Vikram Cements is that they went several steps ahead by setting challenging maintenance benchmarks and following a strategy of continuous improvement to attain them. By using a combination of metrics such as Mean Time Between Failure and Mean Time To Repair, and analysis techniques like “5-Why”, the company attained several enviable benchmarks. Some of them in fact were breakthroughs in the industry – for instance, continuous running of the Line 2 kiln for 165 days without a break! Rather than be content with these feats, the maintenance team has been looking for ways to consistently exceed their own benchmarks.

What does it take for a company to push its limits this way, especially in once-sidelined areas like maintenance? I would say the key lies in developing an integrated productivity system that weaves in planned maintenance. As always, one factor can transform any initiative from ‘flavor of the month’ to a deeply ingrained component of the organization’s strategic makeup. That factor, if you ask me, is commitment from the top management.

Explore posts in the same categories: 07 Value Creation Processes, 08 Support Processes, Benchmarking, Business, Management

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One Comment on “Beyond Zero-Defect – Benchmarking Planned Maintenance at Vikram Cement”

  1. AM Says:

    Yes, buy-in from top management makes all the difference when it comes to maintenance. Often, when a company decides to down-size, the maintenance department is among the first casualties. Why? Because of the negative connotations of the very term – maintaining the equipment; nothing more. But maintenance is not just about status quo – it involves consistent efforts to improve equipment effectiveness and maximize efficiency. In fact, studies show that the average OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) of North American companies is 40% – less than half of what is desirable. Increasing the OEE is a more cost-effective and farsighted approach than simply replacing machinery. Higher OEE = higher productivity = better sales. Another reason why maintenance should be rightfully considered a profit centre!

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