Are you Spending More Time on Technology than on Processes and People?

A common reason why reliability and maintenance improvement initiatives often do not generate the expected achievable results is competing priorities and focusing on the wrong things.

chick-10x7.5-(1)

Illustration 1:  I don’t have time to fix the fence. I have too many chickens to catch.(Credit: ©IDCON INC)

A great example of this is technology.  Technology is good and necessary and maintenance people like technology. It is common that the improvement effort will focus on technology instead of processes and people. There are many stories about engineers and these stories almost always make fun of our personalities.  For example: “How do you know an engineer is extrovert?” “The engineer looks at your shoes, instead of their own shoes when they talk to you”. Many engineers are used to working with facts in designs and specifications. In a maintenance organization, you will have to manage people with different opinions and all that come with that. 

 A new vibration analyzer, a handheld data collector for inspections or an online condition monitoring system are all good and valid technologies, but if they are not used by qualified people, in a well-defined and executed process, the possible improvement from the use of these technologies will be absent. 

For the example above there would be processes to do vibration analyses and inspections, with the right methods and frequencies, and a work management process to prioritize, plan and schedule the corrective action from failures found using these technologies. 

As mentioned before it is relatively easy to develop, document and communicate the processes. To instill a culture to execute work in these processes takes much more effort and time. 

This will include the education and training of people to achieve awareness, understanding and skills. 

To sustain craft skills to perform precision maintenance repairs, it is important to first implement the basic processes of inspections and work management in order to reduce reactive work. When that is done, people should be trained in precision maintenance repairs.

If not done in this order, the people trained will fall back into reactive maintenance. In a reactive mode, too much work is urgent so there will not be time to do for example precision alignment.

The skills acquired during training will be lost and people will be disappointed. 

In summary: Most people know what to do, but cannot find the time to do it.  As  Illustration1 describes. Too many conflicting priorities are common reason for this. If you implement and execute the basic reliability and maintenance processes and execute them well, you will free up time to do what you do not have time to do today.  

CID-MMC2013

Christer Idhammar

Founder & CEO IDCON INC

Christer Idhammar, is Founder and CEO of IDCON INC a reliability and maintenance consulting firm headquartered in the United States with partners in Norway, Finland, Italy, Germany, Australia, and South America.

Asset Management | 28.3.2018

Latest articles

Bilfinger relies on Comos software from Siemens for group‑wide digitalization

Siemens and industrial service provider Bilfinger SE have decided to step up their cooperative association, as Bilfinger drives forward digitalization using the Comos Engineering & Maintenance Platform across its many sites and subsidiaries spread around the globe. This software platform from the Siemens Digital Enterprise portfolio not only allows close cooperation between the different Bilfinger sites and its customers through the use of a shared database, but also offers sufficient flexibility to accommodate individual project requirements.

Cmms | 18.6.2018

The criticality spectrum: a means to focus our attention where it is warranted

Developing an asset criticality ranking (ACR) is an important part of any reliability and performance improvement initiative. The criticality ranking enables an organization to prioritize and justify a wide range of activities and investments. 

Asset Management | 11.6.2018

Six Signs of a Successful Acoustic Lubrication Programme

Acoustic Lubrication is just one of the 8 application pillars adopted by world-class ultrasound programmes. And what an important one it is. 

Applications | 11.6.2018

How to Safely Align Wind Turbines

Safety engineers around the world can breathe easy. The PRUFTECHNIK ROTALIGN® and OPTALIGN® technology has made aligning machine shafts, especially gear shafts, much safer.

Partner Articles | 6.6.2018

Swedish Project Investigates Ways to Produce Fuel from Waste Tyres

The possibility of producing pyrolysis oil from worn out tyres is investigated in a research project run by RISE Research Institutes of Sweden together with Scandinavian Enviro Systems and Ragn-Sells with support from Vinnova.

R&D | 6.6.2018

EU Agency for Safety and Health at Work Launches Europe-Wide Awareness-Raising Campaign on Dangerous Substances

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has launched its 2018-19 EU-wide campaign, Healthy Workplaces Manage Dangerous Substances.

HSE | 25.4.2018

Maintenance: A Necessary and Important Function in the Future

Euromaintenance 2016 will take place in Athens at the end of May. It is the ideal moment to reflect on maintenance in a European context. Euromaintenance is known as the summit for all involved in maintenance across Europe, it’s the place to be. The conference, with the support of the EFNMS, is the only commercially independent conference covering the topics we deal with in the maintenance world.

EFNMS | 20.5.2016