KPI's for maintenance: 15 suggestions for numbers that matter

Dec. 12, 2016
Data is important, but only if you choose the right things to measure

In a recent conversation with a very close friend and peer, we were told by a company president that he wanted to have key performance indicators (KPIs) as the main focus point with his new director of maintenance.

Having previously developed some KPI’s around customer requirements, we asked the president what he wanted to see. He said: “I don’t know. I’m just a numbers guy. My father built the company (800 trucks) from one truck, but I don’t know what we need. I just want some KPI's.”

I have said for years that I don’t care about the numbers (I do, but I don’t) because when I get involved with a company they already know the numbers are too high. If you take a job at such a fleet, you will be required to lower the numbers (costs), but you have to avoid falling into the corporate structure and concentrating on defending the numbers as opposed to fixing the issues. I have said for many years, “Long before the costs hit the report, the cost are right in front of your face, if you are looking.”

In another situation, a maintenance manager slipped and told me he now has the vendors updating his PM compliance list. I asked if he was comfortable with that, and he said no, but I have to get the vehicles off the list. I then asked what’s more important, verification of the PM/Annual inspection completed or the list?  He said: “Getting it off the list so the compliance looks good. I am measured by the numbers.” Voila, my point!

So from a maintenance perspective, what numbers are important?  I have what I think is important and three other veteran maintenance managers --  John Sullivan, Joe Stianche and Doug White -- have what they think is important, so I compiled our notes. Here is a list of 15 areas you can consider as critical KPIs. Importance, order or choice is in the eye of the requestor.

1  Road calls on a daily basis

Tire road calls

Mechanical road calls

Emission related

2  PM compliance

   Trailer PM’s overdue greater than 20%

   Tractor PM’s overdue greater than 10% 

   Reefer PM’s overdue greater than 10%

3  Labor repair order hours

Accountability of repair order hours

Indirect hours vs. direct

4  Parts purchased

                Dollars purchased plus or minus RO parts dollars

5  Air Pressure compliance from current PM’s performed.

                Percentage of air pressure readings from PM Sheet differing from 100-lb. base line

6  Daily out of service vehicles

               Out of service and date estimate of being back in service

7  Daily out of service at dealer/maintenance provider.

              Out of service and date estimate of being back in service

8  Daily parts Inventory dollars

              Raw part inventories from computer records, not physical count

              Raw tire inventory from computer records, not physical count

9  Open repair orders

10  CSA Score and road side inspection data

11  Budget

           Monthly and year to date position

12  Some form of cost totals

Per tire, repair CPM, per hour, per case, per ton, per gallon, per pound

13  Overtime measurement

           OT over 10%

14  Whatever is eating your lunch

15  Anything the owner, president or boss wants

At the end of the day, the majority of the data is in your computer records and can be displayed on a simple dashboard. The above 15 suggestions for KPI’s should be complied by the accounting department, not the maintenance department (fox in the hen house), and exported to that dashboard.

With all do respected to the person asking you for KPIs, he probably doesn’t know what to measure, just that he is not happy with the costs and that pushing the maintenance department to measure KPIs will force someone to LOOK.

I do believe that you can’t fix what you don’t measure. Pick five of these and your maintenance department will perform better and costs will be lowered. Isn’t this what we are supposed to do as the people responsible for maintenance leadership, fix the root problems?

About the Author

Darry Stuart | President

Darry Stuart has more than 45 years of experience in the transportation industry. As President/ CEO of DWS Fleet Management Services, he has been providing “Limited Time Executive" services in transportation and fleet equipment management to a variety of companies.

An ASE-certified master technician, Stuart began his career on the shop floor before moving on to fleet management executive positions at Perdue Chicken, BFI (Browning-Ferris Industries), United Truck Leasing, the  Keen  Companies, and Cumberland Farms/Gulf Oil.

For 35 years, Stuart has been an active member of the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) of the American Trucking Assns., serving as the group’s general chairman from 2007-2008. He is the recipient of numerous industry awards, including TMC's Silver Spark Plug, which is given in recognition of an individual's outstanding contributions to the cause of excellence in heavy-duty vehicle maintenance management. He has been cited as an industry expert or authored over  250 articles on equipment and fleet management topics.

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