Preventive maintenance (PM) is a cornerstone of reliability-based maintenance. It’s no surprise then that PM attainment has become a key performance indicator (KPI). However, it may surprise you that in many organizations, maintenance is not primarily responsible for this KPI.

Maintenance always has an important role, of course. It must create the PM program. It must generate, schedule and plan PMs. It also must have staff with enough skill to accomplish the PM. If maintenance is missing any of these things, it has a lot of work to do. But if PM attainment is already one of your current KPIs, these steps are probably already being done.

Yet if those planned PMs are not being accomplished, there is another likely reason besides maintenance capability. The most common reason for scheduled PMs not being accomplished is a change in the production schedule removing access to equipment and lines that were scheduled for work.

This doesn’t absolve maintenance for missing PM due to other reasons. If it doesn’t have the material, people or tools on hand or has poorly estimated the necessary work, maintenance should be accountable. However, big blocks of PM tasks are often missed due to a change in the production schedule. This usually is not in the control of maintenance.

The reason the schedule changes is often due to a short-term need for more production, frequently while there are complaints about the machinery not running well enough. Yet even when the reason for extending the production schedule is to overcome maintenance downtime, the stage has been set for even more downtime to come.

To hold me responsible for a KPI, I should have the means to control it. If I am the maintenance manager, I rarely control the production schedule.

While I like using PM attainment as a metric, my suggestion is for it to be a shared metric among both the production manager and maintenance manager (as well as the production planning staff, if you have one). They should all be held accountable if scheduled PM tasks are not being performed.