Every January, companies create a new list of business goals for the new year. And while many business owners would like to see more customers or profits, a common goal for those in the manufacturing is to reduce downtime.


Unfortunately, most business goals only address the desired outcome:


I/we want more customers.

I/we want to increase sales.

I/we want to reduce production line downtime.


So today, we want to share the benefits of using the SMART process to help write achievable business goals. Unlike the examples above, setting a smart business goal requires more than scribbling down a few vague and generic goals on a to-do list.


Setting SMART Business Goals for 2023


But first, let’s get everyone up to speed on what makes a business goal SMART.


If you haven’t already figured it out, SMART is an acronym:


Specific (simple, significant, sensible)

Measurable (motivating, meaningful)

Achievable (attainable, actionable)

Relevant (results-based, reasonable)

Time-bound (timely, time sensitive)


Most business goals only include the first key point of being specific; more customers, more sales, and less downtime. Since we service motors, cranes, and hoists we’ll apply the SMART process to the goal of reducing production downtime or stoppages.



Specific– I/we want to reduce production line downtime.


On the surface, this appears to meet the specific criteria for a SMART goal, but can we sharpen the focus a bit more? Downtime typically occurs because a machine or component has failed and needs to be replaced.


But why did it fail?


Most mechanical failures occur due to a lack of regular maintenance such as cleaning, adjustments, and lubrication. Essentially, this SMART goal shouldn’t be about minimizing downtime, it should be about establishing a maintenance and inspection routine for the production line machinery and components.


“I/we will create a comprehensive maintenance schedule for all production line machinery and components, to minimize potential downtime episodes.”


This version is much more focused than the original, so let’s move to the next step.


Measurable – since we can create a master list of the motors, machinery, and components, and their required maintenance services, tracking or measuring your progress will be straightforward. As you service each component, simply notate the date and services performed onto your maintenance checklist.


Achievable – is creating a maintenance schedule an achievable goal? Since we aren’t familiar with your shop or business, you’ll have to answer this question for yourself. A quick test is compare the number of motors and components requiring regular service to the typical work schedule of 260 days per year.


For example, if your predictive maintenance list contains:


100 items – that works out to one maintenance chore being completed every three workdays.


500 items – you’ll need to complete nearly two maintenance chores each workday.


1,000 items – you’ll need to tackle nearly four maintenance items each workday.


5,000 items – works out to nineteen maintenance chores each workday.


Once you’re happy with the achievability of putting a maintenance schedule in place, it’s time for the next step.


Relevant – is this goal relevant to the company’s overall success? Since you rely on your production/processing equipment to make products and fill orders, this goal is not only relevant, but critical, for your business to succeed. The goal of this step is to remove items from the business goal list that should be on a general to-do list. Eliminating items that aren’t results-based or relevant gives you more time to work on the ones that are.


Time-sensitive – is the last, and most important step of the SMART goal process. Business goals without a timeline or schedule component are more than three times more likely to go unrealized.  This is especially true for our example of a predictive maintenance schedule.


Let’s say that a particular set of bearings need to be lubricated four times a year. Obviously, oiling them only in September, October, November, and then again in December, isn’t following the manufacturer’s service guidelines. The ideal timeframe would be once every three months, or quarterly. Different components have different requirements such as daily, weekly, or annual servicing, so organize your schedule accordingly.


Initially, the example goal was “I/we want to reduce production line downtime.” But after applying the SMART goal process, here’s what the revised goal would like.


I/we will create a comprehensive maintenance schedule for all production line machinery and components. 500 maintenance items will be identified and broken down by type of service and timeframe requirements (weekly and quarterly) by the end of Q1 for securing needed parts, supplies, and scheduling manpower for new preventative maintenance rollout at the start of Q2.


The SMART goal typically increases buy-in from colleagues, partners, and employees because it answers the who, how, and when questions needed for any goal’s successful implementation and realization.


Should you have any questions about creating a SMART preventative maintenance schedule for your shop or plant, our experts are ready to answer all your questions.