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"Which key performance indicators (KPIs) should we be using to help monitor our lubrication program?"
The use of KPIs offers many benefits, including the measurement of an initiative's progress against certain milestones, monitoring the status of a project in comparison to an established program or the stated time frame, and assessing the success of an implementation according to the set goals and expectations.
To determine which KPIs are appropriate for your program, you must first define the expected goals and the associated timeline. The clearer the established goals, the easier it will be to select and implement the KPIs.
For instance, your goals could be to decrease hydraulic oil consumption by 20 percent through effective lubricant filtration as well as to reduce leaks over the next 18 months. Other goals might be to reduce bearing failure rates by 10 percent annually over the next three years, to maintain lubricant cleanliness for your compressors at ISO 15/12, to install a new lube room in the plant, or for the lubrication team to complete a certain amount of training this year.
Once your goals have been defined, it will be necessary to specify the procedure for measurement, the frequency, the source of information and the responsible individuals. This is essential, as there are many different ways to collect, process and report this information. For example, will the information be collected from lubrication work orders or from the lube room's stock control? Obtaining this information solely from lubricant purchase documents likely would not be very accurate, since they might not reflect changes in the warehouse's stock level.
In addition, you must decide how often the information will be reported, such as monthly, quarterly, etc. Also, who will be responsible for verifying and reporting the information, and how will the information be disseminated — on a bulletin board, by email, etc.?
Keep in mind that KPIs can be applied at different levels of your lubrication program. You may wish to measure the performance of specific machines or field activities (operational), or monitor the results of the overall program's effectiveness or implementation (administrative).
If KPIs are utilized to measure the progress of an implementation project, they can be canceled once the project is completed. KPIs can also be used to monitor whether procedures, practices or goals are maintained and improved. These types of indicators usually are employed over the long term.