MTTR Maintenance

MTTR (mean time to repair) is a critical part of a set of key performance indicators in incident management. Other similarly important metrics include MTTA and MTTD. 

These metrics play a crucial role in helping an organization understand, diagnose and fix the issues that prevent its assets from operating at their peak efficiency. So, what is MTTR, how is it calculated, and why is it so important? 

What is MTTR

MTTR is an acronym for mean time to repair. It is a metric used to measure the average time when an issue is detected and when a system is restored to full functionality. In other words, it is a measure of the maintainability of an organization’s devices and equipment.

Depending on the context, MTTR can also stand for mean time to resolve, mean time to recovery, or mean time to resolution. Irrespective of the context, MTTR denotes the time between the occurrence of an issue to its full recovery. To learn more about MTTR, you may want to read this in-depth post about MTTR

Why is MTTR important?

From the definition, MTTR measures how long business-critical systems are out of service. Based on the data, a company can assess the impact such incidences have on the overall performance of an organization and primarily the bottom line.

The higher a system’s MTTR, the higher the risk of system downtime, which means more business disruptions that ultimately lead to customer dissatisfaction and losses in revenue. On the other hand, a low MTTR is an indicator of a health system. 

Calculating MTTR

Calculating MTTR is pretty straightforward. It is the sum of all the time spent on total unplanned maintenance on an asset, divided by the number of failures experienced by an asset over a given period. 

Typically, MTTR is represented in hours. There are two assumptions in calculating MTTR; tasks are performed sequentially and by appropriately trained personnel.

To illustrate, if a company spends 20 hours on the maintenance of an asset that has had four unplanned breakdowns in one year, the MTTR for the asset would be 5 hours. MTTR metrics vary from one organization to the other. 

Therefore, it is impossible to use one companies’ metrics as a yardstick for the other. 

What can be considered an excellent MTTR depends on several factors, such as the type of asset, age, and criticality in your organization. While MTTR can differ from one organization to another, a mean time to repair of below five is considered good.

How to improve MTTR

Being a key performance indicator, maintenance teams should aim at improving it. The benefits of a low MTTR are obvious; fewer downtimes, satisfied customers, and lower maintenance costs. 

If you are keen on improving your organization’s MTTR, you must understand the four stages of MTTR.

  • Identification – The time from when an issue occurs to the time a technician is aware of it. To shorten this time, you may need to install some form of alert system triggered by an occurrence of a particular issue.
  • Knowledge – This is when a technician is aware of the problem and starts fixing the process. In other words, it’s the diagnosis stage and is often time-consuming. Continuous training of your technicians on emerging problems can help shorten this time.
  • Fix – The time a technician uses to fix the problem. Like identification, thorough training of the technicians and equipping them with the necessary tools can help shorten the time spent fixing the problem.
  • Verify – The time taken to verify if the applied fixes are working

There is so much more to MTTR that you may need to know. However, the basics highlighted above give an overview of this MTTR and why it matters in your organization.


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