Every Maintenance Work Order needs Quality Control in It if You want Equipment Reliability

If you want world class reliability you must set world class work quality standards and make sure that they are delivered.

Humans make mistakes regularly. In maintenance work a mistake or error left in a job leads to early equipment failure. To maximize your chances of getting great work done that delivers high reliability, you must include work quality control at the task level.


Hi Mike,

I would like to know when Quality Control Standards and ACE 3T procedures are most applicable.

Does a complete work pack have to contain both, even for routine Preventive Maintenance tasks?



Hello Justine,

It is my belief (after decades of solving machinery maintenance problems) that if you want high plant and equipment reliability every activity in a maintenance job should have work quality standards set for it.

Not only are work quality standards vital in maintenance work, they also need to be included in all plant and equipment operator work that affects production plant and equipment condition.

The best way to include work quality assurance into maintenance procedures is with the Accuracy Controlled Enterprise (ACE) 3T—Target, Tolerance, Test. Often finding appropriate 3T quality standards is a lot of work. You have to research what good-better-best ACE 3T quality is for each activity.

Because good-better-best task quality is not usually known for a maintenance job, we leave it up to the Technician to decide. Unfortunately few Maintenance Technicians know the quality standards they ought to work to that deliver high equipment reliability. They need help from the maintenance planner and maintenance engineer to find and give them those standards.

If there are no work standards set in a job you have no quality control. Without work standards it is not possible to have work quality assurance.

Without standards to prove quality is delivered, you count totally on the knowledge and capability of the person doing the work to get the job done right-first-time.

Without quality standards you do not know what is wrong or what is right. You cannot self-correct your errors because you do not know that you have made a mistake.

I came up with ACE 3T to help people do great work. I knew that due to the effort required to set 3T work standards for every job, and the lack of available information on work quality standards, few people would do the research to find the correct ACE 3T standards and set them into their work procedures. So I included use of Inspection and Test Plans (ITP) in our online maintenance planning and scheduling training course to give you the choice to use a maintenance work quality assurance control method other than ACE 3T.

Every maintenance job should have an ITP listing the critical tasks in the job and stating the minimum quality standard for each critical task. Critical tasks are those activities that fail the job if done wrong or done badly—like mounting and locating bearings on shafts, correct fastener tightening and injecting the right lubrication quantity.

In response to your question ‘when to use work quality control?’; the answer is every job needs quality control. If a job uses ACE 3T standards in each task to get a high level of quality assurance you do not need an ITP. But every maintenance job should as a minimum have an ITP listing the quality to be met in each critical activity needed to complete the job properly.

With quality controls in place people can deliver quality work. They will be proud of the quality that they produce because they will know for themselves that they have done great work.


My best regards to you,

Mike Sondalini
Managing Director
Lifetime Reliability Solutions HQ

P.S. Throughout the world you can now do our online 10 module Maintenance Planning and Scheduling training course with certificate once completed. Read more at Online Maintenance Planning and Scheduling Training Course.