Food & Drink

The AMIS road to reliability. Brewery embarks on a journey into asset care


In 2003, the Diageo owned Guinness Brewery embarked on a journey into asset care. Tom Dorney, site maintenance manager, tracks the steps to success.

The AMIS Journey Begins

The Guinness Brewery at St James’ Gate in Dublin was established in 1759 when Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on an existing four-acre brewery. The site now occupies approximately 50 acres in Dublin city and produces around one billion pints of Guinness Stout for the UK, Irish and export markets. Significant investment towards the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st transformed the brewery into today’s manufacturing unit, with the site now conducting two main activities – brewing and packaging. The brewing area produces 5.5 million hectolitres (hl) of Guinness per year, while the packaging area deals with over 4.5 million kegs a year for the Irish and export markets.

In order to improve operations at the site, there was a clear need to embrace modern best practice to meet changing business demands, and in 2003 Diageo changed the business into supply and demand units, with each supply unit focused on achieving supplier of choice status. The principle of Licence To Operate (LTO) was introduced, calling for every one of the 70 plus global Diageo manufacturing sites to demonstrate high levels of performance to achieve the status. Plant reliability was a key requirement and Tom Dorney, site maintenance manager, was asked to develop a new maintenance strategy for the site.


Diageo Facts

  • Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business, with brands including Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Baileys, J&B and Captain Morgan
  • Diageo was formed in 1997, following the merger of Guinness and GrandMet, and its headquarters were in London
  • Diageo is a global company, trading in over 180 markets around the world with 20,000 employees approximately
  • Manufacturing facilities are located across the globe, including sites in Great Britain, Ireland, the United States, Canada, Italy, Africa, Latin America, Australia, India and the Caribbean.



The initial asset care strategy developed in 2003 stated:

The initial asset care strategy developed in 2003 stated: “The AMIS Journey and asset care strategy supports the CI objectives to become the production site of choice within Diageo Supply, by maximising plant utilisation and delivering highly reliable equipment in a proactive and cost-effective manner. Performance will be measured using specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and progress in implementing this strategy will be monitored through regular AMIS Assessments and project reports.

It is the responsibility of plant managers to ensure that this strategy is applied in their areas. The technical support manager is to ensure that the strategy and support systems are managed in detail in accordance with a three-year plan based on the strategy and implementation programme.”

Planning The AMIS Journey

A new asset care strategy was also developed, with support from MCP, to drive a step change improvement in plant performance and reliability. The strategy covered all expected workstreams, including leadership requirements, organisation structure, and roles, people development, facilities and equipment, asset register and maintenance plans, Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM), performance management, Continuous Improvement (CI) tools such as 5S, statutory and regulatory requirements and budgets and cost management. Previous improvement attempts had tended to be stand-alone initiatives rather than establish a holistic approach identifying the desired future ways of working as well as the accountabilities for each element.

The AMIS Journey and asset care strategy provided the roadmap for change, incorporating the following support material:

  • Strategy document specifying the approach and ways of working
  • Plan-on-a-page identifying the main steps for each of the workstreams over a three-year period (supported by a 12-month detailed action plan)
  • Accountability by each role
  • A foreword setting the intent, written by the operations manager
  • Steering Group to establish project plan, agree actions with resource, regular reviews
  • Strategy awareness training material


Learning the lessons

The lessons learnt from previous initiatives showed that when a few key people were involved during implementation, then focus would drop off. In view of this, the engagement of all natural shift teams was key to the success of such a culture change programme. Awareness training and implementation support were provided at local team level through the CI facilitators, trainers, planners, etc., to ensure the teams remained engaged with the project.

]The Steering Group managed the change programme and regular reviews identified any issues to be addressed. Knowledge, training, and coaching became the norm, with processes clarified and engagement platforms provided. A one-day CI/training session every five weeks for each natural shift team was also conducted, to provide a focus for discussion of performance, identification of CI actions and the delivery of specific training/coaching.

After each AMIS Assessment, the Steering Group reviewed completed actions to ensure robustness and sustainability, and new 12-month action plans were then developed based on the priorities identified. The final detailed plans were communicated and managed over the following 12-months until the next assessment took place.

The Performance for Growth (P4G) process was a new performance management approach that utilised the asset care metrics to establish targets with teams and individuals for achievements during the next 12-months. Regular P4G discussions would take place with one-to-ones every quarter. In addition, regular AMIS Assessments were conducted to monitor progress. Finally, the support provided and ongoing commitment from sponsors over this period ensured continuity and success would only happen if the approach became a way of life – demonstrating common ways of working with ongoing CI.

1. AMIS assessment in 2004

In 2004, Diageo used The AMIS Assessment to benchmark against external best practice and also start the engagement process with all employees. The initial scores in the two plants were:

  • Brewing = 32%
  • Packaging = 48%

These compared with the drinks sector average score of 45% and the World-Class Performance threshold score of 75%. The results showed a very traditional approach with poor plant reliability, which had the potential to compromise customer service with increasing production volumes. Local teams were involved in the audit process and helped to develop a 12-month improvement plan.

New team structures were then implemented, with significant focus on training, based on new roles and skills profiles. The teams were made up of Brewing or Packaging Shift Managers (BSMs or PSMs), operating technicians, craft technicians, and a small day support team. A huge amount of training and culture change was required and the provision of a shadow team to release people for training and engagement was essential.

The AMIS Journey 2004 plan then focused mainly on rolling out the reliability review programme (using RCM) to develop the right plans for both operating and craft technicians (embracing the principles of operator asset care or autonomous maintenance). These tasks were then loaded onto the SAP PM module, with appropriate training provided. The initial delivery was about establishing a planning regime and completing the agreed PPMs. PPM and operator check completion were monitored to ensure that the right asset care was carried out as planned. The feedback on work completed also improved plant history.

2. AMIS Assessment in 2005

The second AMIS Assessment was carried out in 2005 with significantly improved scores in both brewing and kegging:

  • Brewing = 56%
  • Packaging = 63%

Again, the overall plan was reviewed and a detailed 12-month programme established and regularly reviewed. During this period considerable project work went on to increase capacity by 50 percent within 18 months as volumes were transferred to Dublin with the closure of Park Royal Brewery in London. The need to increase plant capacity increased the sense of urgency to improve plant performance and was key to securing engagement from the teams.

The acid test of the benefits driven by The AMIS Journey and asset care programme was the successful delivery of peak production requirements during the pre-Christmas period (September to December).

The main focus was then on team engagement and improving performance.

Five themes were developed focusing on:

  • Shift managers being accountable for their aspects of the asset care strategy
  • Team members involved to drive further engagement
  • Incorporating targets for planning effectiveness and percentage continuous improvement
  • Maintenance into the existing performance management process
  • Driving a culture of continuous improvement

The initial step was to hold a workshop for shift managers to share a detailed understanding of the strategy and for them to agree specific improvements.

Following on from that, all team members were trained on CI techniques such as 5S, 5 Whys and, in particular, Root Cause Analysis (RCA).

One of the benefits of the new team structure and shift rota was that the last day of every five-week rota was freed up for the shift team to be involved in CI work, such as RCA, and training to cover any gaps in knowledge or skills. Too many companies have great budgets for training but can’t release their people (lean structure but not lean thinking). The new structure gives all teams and individuals at least 10 days of training/CI time a year and is a great example of leaders creating the environment and platform for teams to perform.

3. AMIS Assessment in 2006

The third AMIS Assessment review monitored progress made and identified new priorities for improvement. The overall scores were:

  • Brewing = 65%
  • Packaging = 73%

This was more challenging as all stakeholders had to demonstrate engagement and the glass ceiling of dependency on a small group of key players had to be reached. A further programme of cultural change was implemented to achieve the full engagement of all teams, individuals, support functions and contractors.

The focus became the definition and delivery of high performance through high performing teams, with each team and individual expected to improve planning effectiveness to World-Class Performance standards, aiming for 20 percent of maintenance activity to be in continuous improvement. This saw a huge demand on analysing SAP plant history, with volumes of CI work increasing four-fold. The behavioral metrics were now able to show true engagement. Catastrophic failures had disappeared, with chronic failures being eliminated, enabling the CI work to now drill down to minor defects and hassles.

4. AMIS Assessment in 2007

The latest AMIS Assessment review in October 2007 confirmed World-Class Performance status with both plants achieving scores above the 75 percent threshold for World-Class performance.

Destination World-Class

Three years later, as planned, the strategy had been successfully delivered, with the benefits of asset care exceeding all expectations.

Over 15 percent of all technicians’ time is now being spent on continuous improvement activities. Failures are rare and the CI activities have now moved on to solve process issues and eliminate operator hassles.

Meanwhile, team working has become the norm, with time regularly made available for CI and training on an ongoing basis. This, in turn, has lead to increased job satisfaction and multi-skilling.

Plant performance is now consistent and the maintenance budget is adhered to, while a better return for maintenance spend is being achieved as investments are made in CI rather than on recurring problems.

The business itself has also reaped the benefits of the programme – plant yield has risen by 20 percent, as has plant efficiency; levels of quality have seen marked improvement and there have been no complaints.

In October 2007, both the brewing and packaging plants achieved the AMIS World-Class status. The Guinness Brewery in Dublin became the first brewery in the world to attain this award, which places it in the top five percent of all AMIS participants. Starting from a 250-year old facility with very traditional practices, the site has now delivered true World-Class Performance.

But despite having achieved their targets, the drive was to bed in gains and continue with improvements. Further work was already planned, for example:

  • Formalising asset care management systems through PAS55* compliance (PAS55 at the time was the new publicly available specification for asset management from the BSI)
  • Asset care strategy amended to a policy supported with process flow maps • Identifying of stretch targets and key metrics
  • Enhancement to SAP to enable improved analysis, reporting and opportunity development
  • Preparation of training modules based on the new asset care policy
  • Training for existing and new staff
  • Regular reviews

The AMIS Journey and asset care programme was expanded across 70 plus Diageo global sites, covering brewing, distilling, packaging and warehousing, and St James’ Gate was at the helm, sharing best practice and demonstrating how their success was achieved.


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