Podcast Masterminds in Maintenance

Episode 15: ISO 14224, Asset Hierarchy, Structure, and Data Integrity with Ricky Smith

Ryan Chan


This week on Masterminds in Maintenance, we hear from Ricky Smith, CMRP.

Ricky Smith has a wealth of knowledge and years of experience in the maintenance and reliability industry and we were so thrilled to have him join us on our podcast. Ricky Smith started his maintenance journey in the US army, where he wanted to go to school to become a heavy equipment mechanic. He went on to work at a refinery and then Alumex as a technician and then as a maintenance engineer. He’s held a wide range of roles from maintenance supervisor, to maintenance manager, to maintenance company commander while in Iraq. Currently, Ricky Smith is a Maintenance and Reliability Best Practices Advisor at World Class Maintenance, where he is the Vice President.

Ricky argues that data integrity is critical to your reliability success. Without the proper categorization, hierarchy, and data structure you’re likely drowning in data without knowing what to do. Learn more about ISO 14224 and why it’s become the industry’s standard for how to capture data to drive better reliability decisions by listening to this week’s episode of Masterminds in Maintenance.

Listen to this week’s episode online here or on Apple podcasts here! You can also watch this episode on YouTube here.

Connect with Ryan Chan on Linkedin Here and Ricky Smtih on Linkedin here.

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00:02 Ryan Chan: Welcome to Masterminds in Maintenance, a podcast for those with new ideas in maintenance. I’m your host, Ryan. I’m the CEO and founder of UpKeep. Each week, I’ll be meeting with a guest who’s had an idea for how to shake things up in the maintenance and reliability industry. Sometimes the idea failed, sometimes it made their business more successful. And other times their idea revolutionized entire industries. Today, I’m excited to actually welcome back to our show Ricky Smith, maintenance and reliability best practices advisor, you’ve got a ton of different titles behind your name CMRP, CMRT. It’s really great to have you back and good to see you again, Ricky.

00:43 Ricky Smith: Yes. Good. Good to be here man. Thank you.

00:45 RC: All right. Well, you know just to jump in, for those of you who haven’t been able to listen to Episode 3 where Ricky was also on our podcast again, do you want to just quickly introduce yourself, share a little bit about your background and how you got into this industry again, Ricky?

01:02 RS: Okay. My name is Ricky Smith. I’ve been in the maintenance and reliability business since, went into it in 1972 when I went to US Army went to work… When I went in the Army I went to school for rebuild on all the equipment at the time what the US Army had. Worked with civilians for a number of years. Got out went to work for a small company called Exxon worked at a refinery cause my dad worked there it is only the way you get a job there. So I got into maintenance at Exxon. Left there went to work for a company Alumax Mt Holly which is now Alcoa Mt Holly, a world-class plant. That’s where really I learned the… Really the principles of foundation and world-class maintenance. And it really stuck in me ever since. Since then, I’ve been a maintenance supervisor, a maintenance manager, a maintenance engineer now maintenance advisor, maintenance consultant, whatever you want to call me, maintenance educator, so. That’s basically it, I’m a certified maintenance and reliability professional CMRP, I have the certified maintenance and reliability technician certification and a certified reliability leader. All those things don’t mean anything but just you taking some tests that’s all. I got lucky I passed all.

02:09 RC: Yeah. I mean it definitely shows your depth and expertise within the field, decades of experience. You are one of my favorite people to follow on LinkedIn. You’ve got so much education, so much that I learn from every single day. So I really appreciate that Ricky and it’s really great to have you back on this show. Last year we talked… We briefly briefly talked about ISO 14224, and we wanted to dedicate a full show and a full podcast episode to that. So that’s really what I would love for us to jump in. Could you give us a quick background behind what is ISO 14224? What is it? Why is it important, Ricky?

02:53 RS: ISO 14224 is the international standard and it is basically focused on the maintainability and reliability data and to make sure that we align our data properly with our CMMS, but also not just with our CMMS but also to be able to where we can assimilate the data to make the right decisions in maintenance so we can make our equipment more reliable. Have you ever heard of, excuse me, ISO 15000, what that is is the ISO document for asset management. So what I’m going to talk to you today about is the ISO 14224 and that is a different document. A lot of people get these mixed up.

03:32 RC: 14224 covers this idea around asset or data integrity around your assets. We know from so many different customers and prospects that we hear that data integrity is always a big issue for them. And then we hear on the other flip side where you have so much data, you don’t know what to do with it.

03:58 RS: Right.

04:00 RC: I think the main thing that we would love to get some insight in, is how do you prioritize what pieces of data are important? And what does ISO 14224 say?

04:10 RS: Well, one of the things that ISO talks about a collection and exchange of reliability and maintainability data for equipment. And it’s the international standard for collecting the data to help you manage maintenance of your assets. That’s really the objective of it and that includes the reliability data. Now, the whole thing around it is, one, is how do you structure your CMMS, how do you structure the hierarchy and your CMS so you can actually look at across your organization and find out a few things. One, am I managing my assets effectively? And if I manage my assets effectively, I want to know where are my problems. And I think 14224, when you look across how to get it set up from a hierarchical standpoint you can break it down from there and determine, “Okay, so in what areas, or overall am I having problems?” And then, I should be able to break it down from there, from not just that but down to even a lower level of it. It starts out with at the top of ISO 14224 talks about whatever industry you’re in.

05:15 RS: So if you in oil and gas… In fact, ISO 14224, it says for oil and gas but it’s really… It is the only standard for the collection of maintainability and reliability data in the dissemination of it to drive improvements. So it starts out with the industry then a business category. So like if you’re in oil and gas or you’re into drilling or you’re into refineries and so on. Then it gets down to installation and then, or could be plant. I tell people don’t get too broken up into the equipment taxonomy or the natural grouping of the equipment. But when you get down to the equipment unit, okay, and you get down to the components and maintainable items that’s usually where I stop. As far as a part… A part ought to be in the CMS underneath the component of maintainable equipment underneath the subunit or your asset that you have it under. So we can make sure we’re managing the right information.

06:14 RS: A good example is, if we have problems in our organization or one asset, we may have a similar asset that we have the same problem with. But we don’t have it correlated correctly in our CMMS that we don’t know if we’re having the same problem. So this whole thing about a simulation of data is assimilated. And then, to be able to determine, “Where are my resources going? My time, my people and money?” and making sure that when I’m driving improvements and asset reliability that I know I’m doing the right thing because I’m getting the right data, getting accurate data.

06:49 RC: Yeah. So correct me if I’m wrong on this, Ricky. The whole premise of ISO 14224 is this idea of categorization and creating hierarchies of your data so that you can draw basically reports on similar assets, similar trends in draw, draw conclusions so that you could drive action.

07:10 RS: Absolutely.

07:11 RC: So what I’m hearing is, a lot of our customers, they’ve got an asset list of let’s call it HVAC and boilers. And if a boiler goes down, for example. When they go out to repair it… Let’s call it, not that same exact boiler, but a similar boiler’s at a different plant, they wanna be able to associate the data and repair history of a previous boiler that went down with this new one, is that correct?

07:45 RS: Yeah, and when you know this on a boiler, there’s only certain items on boilers. And they may be a different manufacturer of boiler or whatever, but a lot of the maintainable items are gonna be similar. Are they having the same problem I’m having? Or across the plant. If I’m at a plant, am I having the same problem at one side of the plant or on the other? Or one production line or the other? We got overhead cranes, are all overhead cranes having the same problems? But they have different assets but similar components.

08:15 RC: Does ISO 14224 give any very tactical advice about how to categorize and create structures and hierarchies?

08:23 RS: Yes, and it’s really five levels. Okay, talks about the industry, talks about the business category, the installation, the plant, ’cause some installations may have multiple sites on there, so the plant or unit category. Then you get down to the system level, and then it goes down into even lower now, an equipment class. Equipment class, be level six, is pumps, as an example, or motors. Level seven gets down to lubrication of the part. You may go down to level eight, maintainable item, and this may be a gearbox. So that pump may have a pump, a gearbox. So the pump is a system itself and then we have a gearbox in that system. And then, in that gearbox, we have a bearing. So it breaks it all the way down to that level. Now, most companies don’t go to that level because like parts, like the bearing, I don’t like to use the part in ISO.

09:19 RS: I like to look at the parts consumption coming out of my CMMS, because the parts that are coming out of my CMS if I’m using a high degree of bearing certain pipe bearings, it’s probably alike equipment across my assets. And yeah, ISO can do that, but I can do it much faster by using consumption. How many parts are being checked out? What parts are being checked out? What type of parts are being checked out? And then I do a root cause analysis of that and typically it’s gotta be one or two things causing most of the failures.

09:47 RC: Yeah, absolutely. So you talked about ISO 14224, being initially created for oil and gas. I’m curious, now that it seems like it’s evolved a little bit, who is it for? You mentioned many different industries.

10:01 RS: Any industry, it doesn’t matter.

10:02 RC: Any industry. Okay. What about in terms of where within their maintenance and reliability life cycle and journey should I start thinking about ISO 14224? Is it at the beginning? Is it once I’ve matured quite a bit as a maintenance and reliability organization?

10:21 RS: The best thing to do, if you have a chance, if you’re putting in a new CMMS, the best time to start when you put a new CMMS in is making sure we’d set up our hierarchy according to ISO 14224. And there are many people out there, if you talk to someone about ISO 14224, like a consultant, and they look at you, deer in-the-headlight look, say, “Okay I’m gonna find someone else.” In the back of your mind, you’re saying that, but really, that’s what I’m saying, “Okay, this guy didn’t know what I’m talking about.” Okay. They may say, “Okay, what about ISO 55000?” And that’s what I was mentioning earlier. But ISO 55000 is for asset management, the next higher level up, but what we’re talking about is down to the maintainability and reliability data side. And that’s what’s important right now on the CMMS. Do we have the structure right to tell us what are the bad actors? Are we having similar failures across like equipment and if we are, if we solve it at one, will it help all the rest of the equipment, the like equipment.

11:21 RC: So actually I would love to talk a little bit about that point. What’s the difference between 15000 and 14… 55000 and 14224? I understand, one is focused on the collection of data and maintainability and the other is focused on the asset management piece. Can you explain, what’s the difference?

11:43 RS: ISO 55000, it’s a standard for asset management and it’s really, it’s a focus upon the purpose and application of asset management within organizations. It talks up as a standard for asset owners, regulators and certification body. It’s a higher level and it’s really to realize the benefit in an organization to acquire knowledgeable people capable of applying an asset management certification process. So it’s a certification process, okay. So at the same time, can be used to process that process to add value really to the business and just what it’s all about. So when we look at it, there’s, in fact there’s a governing body and the governing body is called The Global Forum on Asset… On maintenance and asset management. Global Forum on Maintenance and Asset Management, is really what the competency specification is for ISO 55001. So 55000 is the standard, and this actually breaks it down to get more detail. In fact, if you look at all the organizations that work in this document is everything from in Australia, Brazil, Europe, and then like in the US, we have SMRP. Really, around the world, SMRP, we have PEMAC in Canada, and then, we have SAAMA in South Africa. So, there’s a lot of different organizations that are aligned with this standard.

13:13 RC: Yeah. So, Ricky, I’m curious, what happens if we don’t adopt a standard for asset hierarchy categorization? What have you seen companies get wrong, and what, actually, happens when you don’t use this? And how can I tell if this is happening to us today?

13:31 RS: All have good data. If you’re making decision, the right decisions, that means you got a good data. Your data’s telling you what you need to do. You got lead-in, and lag, and KPI’s, and if you have good data, and it’s input, and it’s correlated properly, then, we should be able to make the right decision. That’s why I said 14224 is so important. The correlation of that maintainability and reliability data to help us make the right decisions at the right time, and that’s what’s important about it.

14:01 RC: Who should be making these decisions? Do you think that this is the job of a planner, a scheduler? Is this a job of a reliability engineer? Is this a job of a technician, whenever they have a few minutes at the end of their day? [chuckle]

14:16 RS: No. It starts at the higher level. For one, it’s gotta be management has to understand, “Is this is the standard that I need to follow in order to give me the criteria I need to be able to maintain my data, my information, and my assets reliably.” ’cause a lot of times, we don’t maintain our assets in a reliable state, because we don’t have good data. We’re making decisions on the fly. Without good data, we’re lost. We’re in a sea, we don’t know which direction to go. And that’s, basically, what a lot of organizations are, it’s why they keep seeing the same failures over and over again, ’cause they don’t have the correlation between the data on one asset, and the data on another asset.

14:54 RC: Yeah. And it’s gotta… What I heard from you, Ricky is that it’s gotta come top-down. It’s gotta start at the top, at the leadership level. If you don’t get that buy-in, it’s not enough to just do it whenever you get an extra five minutes at the end of your day to say, “Alright. Go in, re-categorize all of our assets, build that hierarchy, build that tree, and start looking at trends.” It’s gotta start at the top.

15:19 RS: And you gotta put the data in accurately. That’s when it comes to a planner, scheduler, the person that should ensure that we have accurate data on the work order when it’s closed out that goes in this… Into the CMMS, or EAM. It’s gotta be the planner. The person that’s calm, not in a reactive mood. They’re there to look at it and say, “Yeah. The data’s correct now.” Then, I close it out. Now, the supervisor… Maintenance supervisor looks at it first, because they say, “Yeah. This is all the data I want,” but then, the planner is the last one calm, ’cause the maintenance supervisors usually got their hair on fire. [chuckle] They’re racing around chasing buyers, chasing problems. And so, they’re saying, “Okay. Yeah. The data looks good to me.” And the planner’s sitting back calm saying, “Oh, yeah. Yeah. We need to be doing that first, that next, that next. Yeah. Okay. I got it. That code was wrong, so I put it in the right code. Now, I’ll close it out.”

16:07 RC: Yeah. Alright. So, definitely some really good tips on how to effectively manage your data and use some of the ISO standards that were created today. So, if you guys haven’t checked it out, ISO 14224. You can check it out. I’m sure you could just google it and find the entire resource.

16:26 RS: Yeah. You could download it off the internet. I forgot how much it is. It’s not much, but it’s a good resource to go to. Need more information, they could send me an email, [email protected], and I’ll be glad to share. I’ve done some structure with it, and I’ll be glad to share those documents with them.

16:43 RC: Awesome. Ricky, you’re so generous with your time, and to all of our listeners, Ricky is one of the smartest people, most educated folks in this industry, and space. So, definitely, take him up on that offer. [chuckle]

16:58 RC: You’re making my head big, man. Come on. [chuckle] All right.

17:01 RS: Awesome. Well, thank you again, Ricky, for joining us. Thank you to all of our listeners for tuning in to today’s Masterminds and Maintenance. My name is Ryan Chan, I’m the CEO, and founder, of UpKeep. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, or also directly at [email protected] Until next time.

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