27 Apr 2022

The new age of FMECA

How Binnies is creating an industrial revolution in the world of reliability centred maintenance (RCM) and failure modes, effects and criticality analysis (FMECA), transforming a normally labour intensive, slow and inefficient process into a streamlined, cost-effective and automated solution for asset-intensive industries.

Binnies was challenged to break the norm and generate FMECAs for almost 1400 sites within the timescales it would normally take a seasoned practitioner to develop only a handful.

Having embarked on a transformation programme with one of the largest UK water companies, Binnies is providing asset management expertise in operations and maintenance to support the move from reactive to proactive and planned maintenance.

A major part of this transformation is a revised set of maintenance plans along with associated documentation for every significant site within the company estate. Using the traditional FMECA methods would have taken years to achieve what Binnies has achieved in a matter of months.

The why

As those who have worked with any reliability centred maintenance process, including processes such as failure modes, effects and criticality analysis (FMECA), will know, the process can be lengthy and very labour intensive, as it includes data analysis, site visits, workshops and detailed review processes to get to a set of outputs.

If a large, asset-intensive business such as a water and sewerage company wishes to transform the maintenance position quickly and effectively from reactive to proactive, then carrying out lengthy FMECAs one by one across all of its sites simply isn’t appropriate. By the time it finishes the last one, or even gets halfway through, the outputs generated from the first FMECA are likely to be outdated and in need of review.

Additionally, because operations and maintenance teams often work across different areas, transitioning only some of the sites will negatively impact that change. It has historically been proven to cause confusion and frustration as operatives are required to juggle two ways of working between sites. Inevitably, this causes a resistance to change and has resulted in many failed attempts through the years to make this type of transition stick.

So, with that in mind, in order to move the whole of your business or business stream en masse, some level of compromise needs to be made to get to that position quickly, with a view to then refining the position once landed. And that approach has enabled one of the largest water companies within the UK to transition huge chunks of its operational assets across from reactive to proactive maintenance in a timescale that would never have been thought achievable.

The background

Binnies has recently embarked upon a major transformational journey with one of the largest UK water companies, supporting it in its transition from a very much reactive maintenance position into a far more proactive and planned world.

The asset management team at Binnies was set the challenge of reviewing and revising the maintenance schedule, generating supporting documentation such as all new site standard operating procedures (SOP) and supporting the programme team in revising the maintenance documentation, bringing it all in line with current standards.

Experience tells us that a FMECA analysis is a recognised best practice method of reviewing the current condition of the site, asset health and performance, existing maintenance practices and the potential impacts should something go wrong. So when tasked with reviewing and revising the planned maintenance programme, including making recommendations for technological intervention, a FMECA analysis was the sensible choice…but with a catch!

The catch!

The first wave of roll-out for these FMECAs would require 1400 sites to be completed within a seven-month window, which would either require a significant number of people working around the clock or some smart thinking to generate an innovative method for generating so many documents while maintaining the value and accuracy of the work undertaken.

Traditionally, a FMECA analysis is carried out on a single site or a single process stage. It is a time-consuming process and can require a number of lengthy workshops and site surveys in order to develop the outputs.

The how

By using a team of highly experienced FMECA experts working collaboratively with the programme team, we developed a FMECA library and subsequent assurance processes that enabled us to industrialise the FMECA process and generate a large number of technical outputs in a relatively short space of time.

This resulted in the roll-out of 1400 completed FMECAs, 1400 brand new site SOPs and other documentation and a broad set of recommendations for technological and capital intervention.

Breaking that down a little further, a thorough review was completed at the outset of all of the existing information for each site to understand more about the task at hand. Thousands of pieces of information were made available to Binnies, which helped the team understand just what was ahead of it, and more importantly, to shape the methodology the team was able to establish.

Beginning with wastewater pumping stations, an analysis carried out within the programme team indicated that a selected group of ten sites would provide sufficient information that could be replicated and revised for use across the remaining sets of sites.

At this stage, we then began reviewing the site configurations to understand what sort of correlations there were and how that could help us batch up sites into cohorts. We also began to set out those sites where there was simply too much individuality, so anything other than a one-to-one FMECA would be inappropriate. In doing this, we were able to generate three workstreams:

– sites that were entirely individual

– sites with partial correlation

– sites with full or near full correlations.

These three workstreams then worked concurrently to generate their own individual sets of outputs, all leading to the final review date prior to launch.

This was the approach taken with this programme. It was recognised that those sites that were part of the mass production, and whose FMECA outputs were generated through the batching process, were likely to be getting somewhere between 80 and 100% bespoke information, or information that could specifically be applied to that individual site.

It is important to emphasise that there was recognition that this was an enduring change in the culture of the business and each site would be refined and improved in the years to come, in time, generating entirely bespoke site documents.

Those sites that had partly been batched and partly individualised were probably more towards 90–95% bespoke and those individually done were expected to be 100% bespoke.

The end result for this was that we moved all of the wastewater pumping stations in a geographical region across from a reactive maintenance strategy into an entirely new proactive maintenance strategy on the wave 1 roll-out of the project. This meant all the operations and maintenance staff for that area were now working in the same way, and it hugely reduced any potential for confusion or reverting to old ways of working.

Part of the programme support and aftercare was to ensure that those taking on the role of reviewing the FMECA outputs were fully able to do so and understood the requirements in order to realise the enduring nature of the solution.

In following the steps outlined, Binnies was able to develop a unique approach to carrying out FMECA analysis on a mass scale that can be replicated across any asset-intensive business.

The rest

Within the roll-out programme, Binnies developed a fully immersive and interactive training programme for all of the operations and maintenance teams within the wave 1 roll-out region. We provided them with cutting edge tools to follow the new revised documentation using virtual reality and 3D photogrammetry.

The industrialised FMECA process is just one of our products and services within the operations and maintenance team at Binnies and it is just one step on the maintenance life cycle process that can be rolled out across many other industries, not just water and sewerage.

This closed-loop process incorporates the following:

– a digital asset survey (DAS), ensuring information about the assets on site and their condition is accurate, so the maintenance schedule developed is based on accurate asset logs

– 3D photogrammetry used to develop immersive and also, where desired, virtual reality training and development programmes

– strategy development and implementation to ensure alignment with the FMECA outputs and the correct governance structures in place to generate an enduring change

– FMECA and subsequent outputs, including, where desired, the introduction of a computerised maintenance management system (CMMS)

– project support and aftercare to assist the business in embedding the change.

Graphic showing operations and maintenance services

Adam Johnson is Binnies’ Head of Operations and Maintenance with over 13 years’ experience in the water industry leading major strategic operational assets and transformational programmes. Adam’s experience spans water and wastewater treatment, network supply and catchment and major incident response, mitigation and oversight.

About Binnies

At Binnies, we create new possibilities for humanity through our innovative approach to delivery. Backed by a culture that has stayed true since the company’s founding over 100 years ago, Binnies develops intelligent water and environmental solutions using a whole-life-cycle approach to deliver functional infrastructure and lasting environmental and social legacies. We strive to elevate the quality of life for our local communities today and for generations to come.

Binnies is an RSK group company and was formerly part of Black & Veatch.

Connect with us on LinkedIn and Instagram to join us on our journey to a better tomorrow.

About the RSK group (RSK)

RSK is a leading integrated environmental, engineering and technical services group made up of over 100 businesses. The group is headquartered in the United Kingdom and has an established presence in more than 40 countries around the world.

For over 30 years, RSK has been helping organisations realise their business goals efficiently, cost-effectively and with the minimum environmental and social impact. We deliver practical solutions to some of the greatest challenges of our time. As a client-focused business, our services are constantly evolving to directly respond to or pre-empt global conditions and legislative drivers.

Visit www.rskgroup.com and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook as we continue to forge a stronger future together.

Media contacts

Binnies UK

Angela Collins Tel: +44 (0)1737 856399 | Mobile: +44 (0)7391 639733 | Email: collinsa@binnies.com