Measurement of equipment performance indicators in the work front is fundamental to adjust productivity, identify losses and reduce operating excesses
Almost a mantra for any manager, to follow the productivity of each equipment is as important as to check the performance of the workers inside a company. This control is the basic rule of management in the corporative world, where the decisions attached to cost/benefit are able to decide company’s lifetime or to drive it inexorably to the collapse.
But—even being evident for large contractors and decisive for mining companies—the use of performance indicators still is not a reality in small and medium companies, many times leaving their profit spill through the bucket edges.
When the production is measured, it is possible to know exactly what indexes have to be improved in one or more equipment. Such data are able to show the production and financial performance of a company, as well as to check if it is being feasible for the investors. It also shows the condition of the operating design of the project, the equipment’s way of operation and if a determined model is appropriated to the project where it is being used.
Indicators are collected daily to allow taking punctual decisions, always starting from processes individually installed in each company. These data indicate, for example, the necessity of replacing a machine with high fuel consumption by other with lower operating cost.
Indexes are also fundamental to evaluate the availability and productivity from each equipment and from the fleet as a whole. In other words, calculating average indexes and peaks of workable hours versus non-productive hours, and those of non-productive hours versus working hours, it is possible to check if the invested capital is giving the expected return.
Due to the focus in cost and productivity, management is fundamental even if the company has a minimum quantity of machines. Data may be measured even if they are referred to sole equipment. “When there is more than one machine with the same features, it is possible to compare equipment or operators”, proposes Alexandre Rodrigues, executive director of operations from Ouro Verde.
In turn, Silvimar F. Reis, director of the Group TMD – Tecnologia, Monitoramento e Diagnóstico and vice-president from Sobratema, highlights that there are no projects with few equipment, but with a lot of labor. “In these cases, indicators referred to persons, food and housing, for example, also become important”, explains him, adding that in these cases the selection of indicators may vary in accordance with the project and its features. “The important point is to know the relevance of each indicator in the operation, to ensure its right selection”, says him.
The higher difficulty in establishing useful indexes, however, is the equipment reliability, mainly because it depends on how data will be collected. According to Norwil Veloso, director from N. Veloso Assessoria em Equipamentos and member of the editing council of M&T magazine, the service render must have personnel trained to collect data in the field, instead of using information that comes from drivers and operators that do not give the right value to the results and are not fond of writing. “Currently there are several technologies of monitoring that supply reliable data, but they are not always within the reach of small companies”, argues him.
As highlighted by the expert, the indicators to be considered vary in accordance with the company and its vision of the fleet, among other points. “There are large companies that simply sell their equipment near the moment of rebuilding, therefore they do not see the necessity of having figures for each machine, but just for the fleet as a whole”, says Veloso. “And there are others that prefer rebuilding and working again after the end of the first useful life.”
There are also service renders that use the equipment all the time it can work, even in bad condition. They do not consider that when they are repairing a machine in such status, they are putting good money in a bad asset, with inconsistent cost-benefit ratio. “When they are well-used, the indicators of each equipment show clearly the best and worst machines of the fleet”, points the consultant, who created a system of compared evaluation called “Method of Expense Excess”, that shows these differences through the comparison with a pre-established parameter.
This methodology is part of his book “Management and Maintenance of Mobile Equipment” (Sobratema Publicações, 2009) and—according to him—was already used by a large contractor, “with interesting results”.
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