by Gavin Linderman
“Pump 5 is down due to a bearing failure and we have to shut down production!”
“Great job fixing that Bob! You rock. Everybody, look how great Bob is!”
“….Uh-oh…Pump 6 is down. Go get it Bob!”
From working at various manufacturing plants, I have seen a trend where maintenance and production groups celebrate their ‘fire-fighters’-or the ones that shine when they resolve highly visible/high impact asset failure. We have all seen it.
While it is great to have ‘Bob’s” in our organizations, there is nothing wrong with celebrating our ‘fire-fighters’, there are fundamental issues with putting the emphasis on celebrating recovering breakdowns as opposed to celebrating the prevention of failures in the first place by properly managing and executing effective asset performance strategies.
Surprisingly, I observed that some organizations view routine proactive maintenance as almost a demeaning thing. They view this work as being ‘below’ the ‘fire-fighters’ work - something for the less skilled. I have even seen groups going as far as using this type of work as a punishment. This certainly flies in the face of reliability best practices.
We need to change this type of mentality and embrace the importance of properly developing and executing proactive maintenance throughout the organization (from management over to the ones turning the wrenches).
The change management associated with shifting this paradigm is not simple, but is well within reach of any organization that is willing to foster and support it.
Here are a couple of methods I have used as a catalyst to start changing these views at different:
How about your organization? Do you celebrate the ‘Bob’s’? Is proactive maintenance viewed as a chore?
There are 16 different US federal agencies that perform intelligence analytics. In the weeks and months prior to 9/11, parts of the system were blinking red. But the disparate red blinking lights did not coalesce and form a comprehensive warning that may have averted the loss of life and catastrophic events of that day. Even though parts of the system were blinking red no one was able to connect the dots between all of the available pieces of intelligence.
This is a poignant example of what disconnected information and data can result in. If they had been able to connect the dots they may have been able to perceive the nature of the threat more clearly and prevent the attacks from occurring.
With all due respect and sensitivity I use this example because it is hard to ignore. It demonstrates, through an unforgettable catastrophe, what occurs in the asset-intensive industry in terms of asset performance. Are there parts of the system that are blinking red in one department that are not signaling trouble to other departments?
Jim Poturalski of Xcel Energy
A very well attended session by people from all industrial verticals, not just utilities. Jim discussed the business opportunity in the Generation Management solution.
The question he raised was, "How can I convince my company to invest in reliability?" In the environment of competing needs Jim used the "no soup for you" reference to illustrate the strength needed for a business case to pass the rigors of scrutiny at the levels of senior management. Value-mapping to asset management objectives needed to be bullet-proof.
Jim described the Asset Performance Management Evaluation Meridium undertook at Xcel. The pilot that was being conducted at three generating plant were studied. The study showed that generation availability improvements were pegged at a combined $22 Million average yearly Lost Profit Opportunities. Certain metrics and scorecards were put in place in order to map this value to elements of the performance management strategy. They started with developing foundational work processes and added Meridium modules on an incremental basis. This was intended to preserve and grow consistent execution of the program. Benefits are being realized year after year as the journey toward reliability best practices.
The Meridium tools and APM Services are continually being used to help support incremental reliability maturity. As maturity grows and consistent execution improves, additional benefits that come from re-directing capital to where it is needed more.
They were able to retire four existing applications. This enabled a resource effectiveness benefit that translated into significant dollars.