The Best Maintenance KPI for Maintenance Department Success are Leading Indicators

Maintenance KPI are most effective when they drive the behaviors and practices that make plant and equipment highly reliable

KPI for Maintenance Departments to Get Greatest Success are leading indicators. Lagging maintenance indicators have low value compared to using leading maintenance indicators as your maintenance KPI

Maintenance KPI are most valuable when they cause the organization to reduce the need to do maintenance. The job of maintenance KPI is to eliminate the need for maintenance.

The following query about maintenance KPI for maintenance department arrived late in December 2017.

“Hi Mike,

Thanks for your free Plant and Equipment Wellness book download; very interesting reading; just about half-way. A very good read, especially as regards maintenance standards on lubrication, distortion, etc.

Wanted to ask you what are your views as regards autonomous maintenance in view of your book on Plant and Equipment Wellness? I am currently starting an operation in security printing; most equipment comes from Japan, so design-out; poke yoke are very much in use.

Also wanted to ask you what do you consider the most important KPI for maintenance department, such as MTBF; MTTR; planned/unplanned maintenance, etc.? And second question: how do you best capture this data?

Thanks in advance for your time.

Best regards,”

Paul F. | Head of Engineering


Hello Paul,

Glad that you liked the Plant and Equipment Wellness book. The second book, Industrial and Manufacturing Wellness, explains the full Plant Wellness Way EAM life-cycle methodology. The first book, Plant and Equipment Wellness, covers the basic Plant Wellness Way concepts.

Autonomous maintenance is valuable, provided the operator understands the equipment operation; is fully competent in the equipment’s maintenance tasks; and is competent in the use of all necessary tools. (Competent = trained + skilled + experienced + knowledgeable to solve problems back to correction design requirements) Otherwise, you need a team of people that in combination deliver competent maintenance.

Design-out and error proofing does not mean the equipment parts won’t fail. I’d love to see the OEM’s operating and maintenance manuals to see what are their recommendations for maintenance.

Your list of example maintenance KPI are lagging indicators, which means you measure your reliability and maintenance problems so you get historic information to tell you that you had reliability and maintenance problems. What a crazy way to run a business! If you want outstanding plant and equipment reliability, you need to be proactive to ensure everyone’s efforts across the organization and life cycle are creating world class operating asset reliability.

World class reliability performance requires you to use leading indicators for maintenance KPI. You want the KPI for a maintenance department to drive the actions and behaviors that reduce the need for maintenance. That’s the true business purpose and value of autonomous maintenance—to be way ahead of reliability and production problems so they don’t grow into big maintenance costs.

Leading maintenance KPI measure whether you are doing the right things in Production, Engineering, Supply Chain, and Maintenance that cause world class reliability during equipment operation.

You’re in a security printing operation that uses machines and equipment to make your products. Those items of plant need to be highly reliable if you want to minimize your operating and maintenance costs. The leading indicators to apply would measure whether your operation is proactively creating equipment reliability and minimizing maintenance costs.

You put the data collection for leading indicators into the procedures your operators and maintainers do when they do their jobs.

My recommendation when developing leading maintenance KPI are to monitor and measure that your organization is proactively delivering the entire list of Precision Maintenance requirements noted in the image below.

Developing leading maintenance KPI based on using Precision Maintenance standards


You can read more about precision maintenance by clicking these links to webpage Precision Maintenance Explained and PDF document Using and Introducing Precision Maintenance

All the very best to you,

Mike Sondalini
Lifetime Reliability Solutions

The CEO, Executive, Manager, and Engineer Who Wants Their Enterprise Asset Management and Maintenance Systems to Get World Class Reliability and New Profits

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