Understand Your System Constraints

Oct. 18, 2013
Listed Here Are Some of the Most Common Constraints
We celebrated our 15th anniversary last year by republishing some of our more timeless content. It was really well received, so we decided to do it again from time to time. Here’s one of two sidebar stories from the tutorial article, "Design for Maintainability," first published in August 2002. 
About the Author

In 2002, William L. (Bill) Mostia Jr., PE, was principal of WLM Engineering, League City, Texas. Mostia has more than 30 years experience applying instrumentation and control systems.

It would be nice if there were adequate resources available and maintenance systems were perfect so work could get done in an efficient and timely manner. But that's generally not the case.

Many plants operate under constraints that limit the ability to maintain systems efficiently.

Maintenance system constraint analysis can point to areas of potential improvement. Some of the common constraints are:

SEE ALSO: Assessing the Operations, Maintenance Relationship

  • Conflicting interests: politics, vested interests.
  • Resource limitations: staffing, capability, quality, tools.
  • Logistic limitations: access to spare parts and resources.
  • Administrative or procedural inefficiencies: complex or lack of procedures, poor or no training.
  • Operational constraints: marketing, production pressure.
  • Organizational inefficiencies: structural deficiencies, poor resource allocation, work order-itis (concentration on work orders rather than the work), lack of ownership, poor morale.
  • Lack of external support: organizational, vendor local and on-site support.