Dec 11, 2015
Production processes do not stay in top-notch condition without daily maintenance. In the past, this may have meant just repairing broken equipment or checking lubrication. Today, “maintenance” means much more, as its direct impact on process performance is better understood. Maintenance now involves identifying and developing key maintenance processes through work order management, shutdown planning, materials and resource planning, and competency development, as well as key performance indicator (KPI) management and follow-up.
An outsourcing agreement puts responsibility for all the customer's daily maintenance activities in Valmet's hands; all permanent on-site maintenance personnel are on Valmet's payroll. The service organization focuses on improving daily work planning and effective weekly scheduling practices, meaning more work can be performed by fewer individuals.
As production and maintenance are the key functions in mill or plant operations, close daily cooperation between the customer and Valmet is a must. It usually involves morning meetings that go through events in the previous shifts, and process area team meetings to examine events and plans for the days to come.
“As an original equipment supplier, Valmet has access to broad expertise, resources, services, and equipment know-how that is not otherwise available to the customer. Valmet's ability to look after automation systems is particularly significant,” points out Miikka Kettunen, Senior Manager for Agreements in Asia Pacific Service Operations, who led the Valmet service team at Orora's Botany mill in Sydney, Australia until the end of 2014.
Kettunen emphasizes the value that the customer gets from having vendor-supplied maintenance: they can concentrate in their core businesses while Valmet keeps their equipment in excellent condition. “There is a business relationship between the mill and the maintenance supplier. In vendor-supplied maintenance, many KPIs are jointly monitored. To be able to achieve the set goals, the maintenance supplier must continuously develop their operations. It is not possible to slack off, which occasionally happens with in-house maintenance,” he says.
In moving the customer's performance forward, Valmet wants to create world-class daily maintenance operations. However, there are challenges:
“The challenges include getting the best possible resources and changing the culture from the traditional way to thinking about safety, reliability and KPIs in maintenance,” notes General Maintenance Manager Markus Weinzierl, who heads Valmet's service team at UPM's Plattling mill in Germany. “One big challenge is to get the customer’s trust and commitment at all management levels. Additionally, as cost pressure is another big challenge, we have to continuously find new optimization potential to support the customer's competitiveness in the market.”
To provide the best possible maintenance outsourcing services, Valmet hires the best talent and supports them with all necessary learning and development opportunities, tools and maintenance systems. Weinzierl continues: “The service organization does not produce investments or consumables; we sell and deliver hands-on work in front of our customers.”
Valmet goes that extra mile in daily maintenance operations to enable the customer to perform better. According to Weinzierl, Valmet's way of operating, working methods, implementation, and use of maintenance systems are all unique: “When we agree with the service team how to carry out daily maintenance, we also monitor that everything goes as planned. Otherwise all the effort taken and energy spent will be wasted.”
In these economically difficult times, cutting the maintenance budget may seem like an easy way to save money. “It may work for some years, but in the end it will have a negative impact on the technical condition and lifetime of production equipment – and create an ‘indirect debt’,” Weinzierl adds. “In the long run, maintenance has to find not only the potential in direct maintenance costs but also in indirect costs, such as quality costs in maintenance. There may be, for example, equipment that is not working well or consumes too much energy.”