How do we reduce the cost of maintenance whilst continuing to improve the reliability and availability of our fleet or assets?
In rail for example, fleet availability and reliability are the central KPIs for TOCs (Train Operating Company) and ROSCOs (Rolling Stock Operating Company), whether bidding for franchises or for customer satisfaction, and it is well known that the key to achieving this is a robust maintenance regime. However, rolling stock maintenance is also the primary cost driver.
High speed rolling stock operations are more mechanically demanding and this can mean that greater levels of maintenance are required and will incur additional costs. Also, as many maintenance regimes are based on distance travelled, fleets with higher annual mileages will incur greater maintenance costs per year. Maintenance costs will also be affected by the age of vehicles, with older vehicles potentially requiring higher levels of maintenance and being naturally less reliable.
Maintenance accounts for some 44% of the rolling stock’s whole life cost over a 40 year life cycle (according to the Rail Value for money study – Rolling stock whole life costs – Final Report by Arup in March 2011).
This cost of maintenance equates to £0.4 billion when applied to the graphic on the left, for the year 2009/10, where a significant amount of savings can be made, even without doing any technically intelligent analyses.
Therefore we need to reduce the total amount of maintenance and the costs associated with carrying out that maintenance. But how?
We can achieve this by:
- Optimising the maintenance schedule;
- Improving the management and allocation of tasks;
- Reducing maintenance flow inefficiencies;
- Eliminating the duplication of tasks and task overlap;
- Up-skilling maintainers to investigate root causes;
- Carrying out Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM);
- Working closely with OEMs to improve the product design;
- Use of condition monitoring techniques;
- Use of intelligent software systems coupled to live data from the train;
- Utilising TOCs and Fitness to Run (FTR) daily examinations to conduct condition monitoring tasks;
- Creating intelligent data systems coupled to P to F curves that monitor and predict failures;
- Carrying out failure finding tasks;
- Eliminating single points of failure;
- Creating redundancy in critical systems or services;
- Challenging Railway Group Standards’ requirements that incur maintenance;
- Eliminating management reaction to ‘samples of one’ by introducing maintenance to ‘make things more reliable’ (when often the opposite is the reality!);
- Understanding the systems and components better through running, reliability and fault data trend analyses;
- Working closely with the TOCs to educate and convince them of the benefits of RCM; and
- Standardisation of parts, practices, processes, maintenance operations, training, Depot operations, work flow procedures, tools, special technical equipment, etc, so that it is easier for maintenance personnel to operate ‘cross depot’ much more easily and effectively.
Although we have experience in rail, we can conduct maintenance and asset optimisation projects in any industry or sector, and it is often the case where an expert but ‘fresh’ set of eyes, an open mind, emotional detachment, independent opinion and an alternative viewpoint can readily get to the bottom of your issues and problems.
CONTACT US today if you would like to know how we can help you resolve your asset, system, organisation and maintenance issues. We are available 24/7 and 365.
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