MaintenanceMaintenance Operations Case Study

The Project:

The nation’s 3rd largest vertically integrated poultry producer has always been aware that properly maintaining assets is a major competitive advantage. The reliability of equipment will reflect itself in the bottom line with increased uptime as well as quality and consistency. Thus, it was only natural for the company to start a major maintenance enhancement for all their processing facilities. Utilizing advanced maintenance practices in collaboration with Mark 1045, Inc., the number three poultry processing company was able to reduce the amount of downtime and dramatically improve maintenance operations.

Before implementation at each of the 11 divisions, it was necessary to develop defined processes, controls and techniques for World Class Maintenance Best Practices. This allowed accountability at all levels and standardization of methods, procedures and metrics for all plants. For example, a pocket card for each maintenance technician reported actual equipment downtime, allowing downtime Paretos to be developed. From this, a root cause analysis method, based on lean manufacturing practices, was used to focus on recurring problems. By correcting these problems one at a time, the effect on downtime and throughput was immediate and placed the maintenance department in a proactive mode instead of the familiar reactive mode. The new techniques were readily accepted at all levels as the rank and file clearly recognized their value. The maintenance operation was transformed from a defensive and reactive organization to an aggressive, lean and more valuable team utilizing proven techniques and procedures.

Other techniques such as a week-end planning and scheduling method improved the week-end project and maintenance work. These improvements resulted in more time off and reduced overtime for maintenance technicians. In all, there were twelve key practices that needed to be integrated into the present way of doing business. With a major emphasis of maintenance’s time it took eight to twelve weeks at each location to fully introduce the new processes.

Problem Statement:

Implementation of maintenance practices consistently and expeditiously across multiple plants required support and accountability of the organizations leaders. Because of its reputation as an industry leader, this process presented many challenges. There were plants operating with pockets of excellence and plants that needed major changes and improvements.

Some of the challenges were as follows:

  • Maintenance and organizational culture
  • Budget and cost control
  • Work authorization and work control
  • Maintenance planning and scheduling
  • Strict USDA compliance and high quality standards
  • Preventative and predictive maintenance
  • Organization and administration
  • Multiple systems integration and modernization
  • Trade skill development


The Project Team developed a methodology to do the project implementation one plant at a time. Before moving to the next plant, all processes had to be in place and working well. An audit was developed to go back and review how things were going after several months working without the guidance of the process improvement team. This provided a way to stay on course and utilize refinements that were developed later in the process. It provided a path forward for developing a long-range strategic maintenance plan that was fully integrated into a process that upgraded the use of technology and streamlined the maintenance operation to improve the use of valuable resources. The upgrade of a CMMS can now be done with a new sense of urgency and understanding of how new technology can benefit maintenance operations.


This poultry company was able to improve mechanic utilization, parts inventory and reallocate resources as a result of this endeavor. They were able to standardize more meaningful processes and to continue with efforts in preventative maintenance, planning and scheduling and trade utilization. By improving the basic processes of asset management they increased the visibility of maintenance in its organization and enhanced the competitive advantage to make the care of the equipment a key component for the poultry business. The collateral cost savings have been significant and permanent.