The 7 Maintenance KPIs You Really Need

Analytics has the power to maximize productivity, improve maintenance performance, and provide visibility into the progress of your asset management program. Maintenance KPIs are typically how you gain broad insight into your performance. However, how do you know you’re tracking the right KPIs?

The right metrics to track are the ones that give you the insight needed to improve your processes.  Looking at just one of these measurements will rarely give you the information you need. KPIs need to be viewed holistically and measured against each other. A single outstanding KPI doesn’t necessarily mean you’re performing well. Hitting 100 percent on Schedule Compliance is great, but not if you’re only scoring 50 percent on Schedule Capacity Utilization.  

Every organization is different, but over the years we’ve assembled a set of KPIs that we believe are the most useful across a wide range of industries. It’s up to you to decide precisely which metrics you wish to track, but the list below serves as a starting point.  

1. Scheduled (planned) vs. Unscheduled (reactive)

Maintenance technician checking wires on the exterior of a building

At first glance, this KPI just tells you what percentage of your work has been scheduled and how much of it is break-in work. However, that ratio can provide great insight once you start to examine it with a critical eye.  

First, an organization with a high ratio of unscheduled work is probably spending more on maintenance than strictly necessary. Preventive maintenance is almost always less expensive than reactive maintenance.  

Second, as Jaco Visser notes in “11 Disadvantages of a Reactive Maintenance Program,” reactive work tends to treat symptoms rather than causes. Sometimes symptoms need treatment, but ignoring the underlying cause means that you will likely be dealing with the exact same problem soon enough.  

So, what’s a good ratio? Industry sources tend to agree that having an 85 percent or higher rate of scheduled work makes you a world-class organization. It’s a goal to aim for, but of course every organization is different, so this percentage may be somewhat different for you.  

Your Scheduled work metric also gives you insight into how much break-in work you’re getting. Unless your organization has specific rules for what constitutes break-in work, then any work that wasn’t scheduled can be considered break-in work.  

2. Regulatory Work Compliance and PM Compliance

These metrics are somewhat similar, but the reasons for tracking them are quite different.  

Both situations involve maintenance work that must be done by a certain date. They differ in that PM work must be done to follow recommendations, either the manufacturer's or those of your organization. Regulatory work, on the other hand, must be done to satisfy the regulatory requirements of your municipality, state, province, country, and other appropriate governing bodies for your industry.  

You need to track your Regulatory Compliance to ensure the needed work is being done according to the regulations. Falling behind on this could result in substantial fines. Even worse, it could result in a serious industrial incident. This is often precisely what those regulations were put in place to prevent.

Preventive Maintenance (PM) Compliance tells you the PM work orders completed as a percentage of the PM work orders due in that period.  

This is an important metric to keep your eye on. A low PM compliance percentage may show that your assets are in danger of failure, as they’re not getting the required maintenance.  

3. Man-Hour Compliance and/or Planning Accuracy  

This KPI tells you how many hours of work took place in comparison to how many were scheduled. This seems simple, but it can give you insight into the accuracy of your job plans.  

A schedule with 1,000 hours of work should take 1,000 hours to complete. A big variance here (in either direction) may indicate that you’re using inaccurate job plans.  

This may come about simply because it’s easiest to plan and schedule in discrete blocks of time, often four hours. It’s easy, but not always accurate.  

If you’re noticing a big discrepancy between actual and planned hours, you’re going to have to start digging into the individual work orders to find out what’s causing that difference. Did weather cause delays? Was the crew kept waiting for permits? Did they discover more work that needed to be done?  

On the other hand, it may be that a common job is being planned for four hours, but only takes the average crew three hours and 15 minutes. Finding this out will allow you to adjust your job plans accordingly, thus freeing up more wrench time and increasing productivity.  

4. Open Critical/Emergency Notifications and Orders

Technician reviewing maintenance information on a tablet

It is essential for you to track this KPI, which shows you the critical work orders that are still open. This is distinct from your backlog, which shows all the work orders yet to be completed. Remember, this KPI shows us just the critical/emergency notifications and orders.  

There are almost always going to be at least a few of these, but they shouldn’t stay open for any longer than necessary. An increasing number, or an increase in average age, may indicate a very serious problem.  

If an emergency work order has been sitting around for awhile, it’s essential for you to find out why. Any work orders that are truly safety-related must be done as soon as possible. However, once you start digging, you may find out that some of these “emergency” work orders aren’t really all that critical.  

If you notice a lot of work orders labeled “emergency” or “critical” and they’re not being done, then it’s possible that this is because they’re not really emergencies. A lot of “emergency” work orders coming from one area might indicate that someone there is marking the work orders as critical in the hopes of getting them done sooner. If you find out that this is the case, you might need to institute some sort of gatekeeping system to determine what constitutes an emergency job.  

We are not encouraging you to ignore emergency/critical work orders. Whatever you do, don’t make assumptions about the nature of these work orders without checking into it.  

5. Schedule Compliance

This KPI shows the percentage of work orders completed in accordance with the schedule. You should aim to get this number to 90 percent or above.  

Racking up a high number for this KPI feels good, but it is important to remember that the real purpose of scheduling is to complete more work. If you notice that schedule compliance is frequently close to 100 percent, then you need to determine if enough work is being scheduled. It’s very easy for a crew to achieve 100 percent schedule compliance if they only have enough work to fill up half their time!

Like most KPIs, this won’t tell you much in isolation. You need to look at how it relates to your other metrics. For example, see how it relates to your ratio of Scheduled vs. Reactive. If you’re hitting 100 percent compliance with the schedule, but you still have time for break-in work, then you need to put more work on your schedule.  

You can also check to see how well it matches up with your Planning Accuracy or Man Hour Compliance metrics. A lot of variance here may indicate inaccurate job plans.  

6. Scheduled Capacity Utilization

This KPI shows you just how much of your labor capacity you’re using according to the schedule. Your goal should always be to drive it up to 100 percent.  

You may be tempted to leave some cushion in your schedule to account for break-in work. Don’t give in to this temptation! Load every schedule completely and feel the pain of break-ins. Remember, your schedule will always be a mix of high and low priority work. Break-in work will take the place of lower-priority work when needed. Don’t move your PMs or your regulatory work, and don’t let break-ins interfere with anything truly critical, but be ready to shift the low priority work orders when needed.    

Tracking capacity utilization allows you to finetune your approach over time by looking at it in combination with your other KPIs, such as Schedule or Man Hour Compliance. Are you scheduling to fully capacity, completing all the work, and still have time for break-ins? Then you may need to review your job plans and make sure they’re accurate. You may find that there’s fluff in some of your plans that can be cut out. More accurate job plans lead to more accurate schedules.  

In short, don’t schedule to 60 percent just because you suspect you’ll have 40 percent break-in work. That’s basically a way of giving up on the idea of continuous improvement. Instead, schedule to 100 percent capacity and try to drive break-in work down to zero.

7. Planned vs. Actual Costs

Female warehouse worker reviewing analytics on a tablet

Finally, you should make sure you have a KPI that tells you the actual maintenance costs versus what was planned. This point of this metric is to look at what you said vs. what you did, and then use that information to make adjustments for next time.  

Comparing planned costs to actuals can also improve your job plans. Differences in planned vs. actuals don’t just occur out of nowhere. Did parts need to be ordered, and rush delivery drove up the cost? Were contractors required? If that’s the case, then add those parts and contractors to the plan.  

In addition, actual costs that diverge greatly from the planned costs can give you insight into your assets. You’ll need to drill down a bit, but if you find an asset that is costing more than other, comparable assets, then you can investigate further and find the cause. This may help to reduce costs, but just as important, it may help to avoid failures in your critical production assets.  

Prometheus Reporting & Analytics provides you with these KPIs right out of the box. In addition, Prometheus Group can ensure all your reports and KPIs are tailored to your organization’s needs. For more information, contact us today.