With the shortage of labor and supply chain disruptions, asset reliability needs to be a priority to sustain production levels, create quality products, and maintain productivity for your operations. Yet a survey of 80 large companies found that none were capturing the data required to evaluate and proactively address asset failures. NONE! These companies would be hard-pressed to implement a Failure Reporting Analysis and Corrective Action System (FRACAS).
If you are looking into a FRACAS or in the process of implementation, this article will highlight how to get started and set up your organization for success.
What is FRACAS?
Failure Reporting Analysis and Corrective Action System (FRACAS) is a closed-loop way of tracking failures, conducting analysis, and planning corrective actions to avoid future failures. The process and term were originally defined by the U.S. Government and implemented in defense operations (MIL-STD-255 FRACAS Standard).
FRACAS is commonly used by regulated industries or organizations required to certify to ISO standards such as ISO-9001, ISO/TS 164=949 or AS 9100.
FRACAS establishes process control management systems and workflow steps that can be reinforced through software programs. These workflows are unique by industry and application of the system. You can use FRACAS to improve equipment reliability, finished product quality, or even quality of service. Therefore, you see industries from the medical field to oil and gas companies applying these reliability improvement techniques.
How to Make Progress in FRACAS
You recognize the value of asset reliability but, if you are like most organizations, you have gaps in your maintenance processes to capture the data and implement the proactive preventive and corrective measures to effectively increase asset reliability. Self-evaluate whether you see these symptoms of maintenance inefficiencies holding back your implementation of FRACAS:
- Do you know which assets and components fail the most?
- Can you identify the cause of failures?
- Do you know if your equipment is running at the rate it should?
- Can you determine if a maintenance procedure, a process change, or engineering change is needed to stop repeated failures?
- Do you see high failures in equipment that has just been installed or serviced?
- Do you trust the data in your EAM/CMMS?
There can be many causes of reliability issues, so the first place to start is to make sure your work processes include capturing the information needed to answer these questions and more.
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure”
W. Edwards Deming
Capturing the Data
Fundamentally, it all starts with quality data. And quality data comes from consistent workflows that reinforce the need to document the failure including what failed, what was the problem or defect, and why did it fail. The data needs to be available in a central database like your EAM or CMMS program. And the data needs to be structured in a way that allows for analysis. This means you need to standardize the failure reporting with selection lists for the part (what failed), the nature of the failure such as a bearing seized (what was the problem), plus typical causes of failure such as inadequate lubrication (why). In addition, provide open-ended responses to allow the technician to suggest how to avoid the issue in the future such as “increase frequency of lubrication PMs” or “check the oil being used”.
From this simple example, you can see that the lists are going to be unique to the piece of equipment and so it is important to prioritize the assets that are most critical and start there with your parts and failure lists.
“The ultimate purpose of collecting the data is to provide a basis for action or a recommendation for action.”
W. Edwards Deming
Identifying the Critical Assets
Although you might not have the data to fully analyze failure modes in order to plan preventive measures, your database should be able to identify the assets that fail the most. Typically, it's only a few “bad actors” that have the most problems. But then, are they the most important assets to focus on for reliability improvements? Also, consider:
- Which assets are critical to production?
- What is the cost of unplanned downtime, or reduced production for the asset?
- Are there environmental or safety issues involved?
- What is the cost of maintenance and repairs?
In some cases, an asset can be so critical and so costly to repair, it is better to have a backup asset than deal with the downtime and repairs. Setting the asset priority for FRACAS is similar to a Reliability Centered Maintenance strategy.
Once you’ve identified the most important equipment to your operations, you need to identify the common failures of that equipment. The goal is to identify the defects that lead to failure, uncover the cause of the defect, and plan the actions required to reduce the risk of the failure occurring. There are many methods to do this analysis, one being Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA).
You’ll need the data from your EAM system, equipment manuals, and insights from your experienced technicians to start to identify the critical parts, failure modes, and mitigations for failures for each equipment type. Since you likely don’t have unlimited resources, this process includes a step to prioritize actions for the most common and catastrophic failures. This process will be somewhat anecdotal to start but will improve as you increase the collection of structured data.
“The intermediate between the collection of data and the action is prediction”
W. Edwards Deming
Closing the Loop with Corrective Actions
Reducing the risk of failures can include a wide range of actions, from maintaining a redundant system to conducting regular preventive maintenance tasks. The critical piece here is making it a priority for the organization to implement the actions and measure the impact of the failure-mitigation plans. FRACAS is designed to be a continuous improvement process of Plan-Do-Check-Act.
For the corrective and preventive maintenance actions, the planning of the tasks is a key step to ensure the actions are done correctly and timely. Without robust work instructions, you won’t know if a future failure was caused by poor implementation of the corrective action or it was an ineffective corrective action for the failure mode.
“It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.”
W. Edwards Deming
In addition, for data analysis, the actions taken need to be consistently applied to the same equipment across plants in order to gather enough data to close the loop. More data supports more statistical analysis of the failures and the impact of the corrective actions.
Activating Consistent Work Processes and Data Capture
Here at Sigga, we have been helping asset-intensive industries with SAP Plant Maintenance for over 20 years to improve the structuring of their work processes and data capture to improve asset reliability.
Our EAM Empower mobile app digitizes the entire maintenance process connecting users across your business in real-time. It helps your technicians implement consistent maintenance processes plus accurately capture and structure the data you’ll need in SAP to analyze what failed, what was the defect, and why did it fail.
Sigga Planning & Scheduling provides the management tools for the effective deployment of preventive maintenance and asset reliability improvement strategies. The solution allows you to automate scheduling to your rules for equipment criticality and work prioritization.
Together these solutions form an effective foundation for establishing consistent work processes and continual improvement steps as part of your FRACAS.
Learn more about Sigga Solutions for maintenance excellence!