‘What idiot decided to put that valve up there?’
“And how exactly are we supposed to get that pump out of there?’
‘How come you’ve got to fix it again – you fixed it last week?’
‘Well if you would just operate properly then it wouldn’t be broken all of the time’
How many times have you heard statements like these? I know I have heard them many times no matter what industry or what organization. Are they fair comments or are the prejudiced or biased – are they simply people making excuses or are they symptoms of a very common problem? This common problem occurs when the design engineers get the equipment installed without consulting operations and maintenance and then simply hand over the keys. Or when you have a culture where operations owns it when it’s running but maintenance owns it when it’s failed – no matter the reason for the failure.
When we think about reliability, who does own it? Quite often there is a reliability department and when there’s not then it usually falls into maintenance’s lap – but should it? A number of surveys have shown that only around 25% of failures can be resolved by better or more maintenance so how can maintenance be held responsible for reliability. The other 75% of issues occur for a variety of reasons poor design, poor installation, poor equipment, poor parts, improper use, abuse both accidental and deliberate due to production demands.
So how can we increase reliability and availability? I think it is obvious that we can’t do it alone based on the surveys – there is the essential need for one thing – partnership!
How about if maintenance and operations were involved early in design- when they could have input that would make it easier to maintain or operate? What about those times when we find the inaccessible valves and pumps – what do we do? In most instances we simply replace them or modify them and just carry on but what about feeding all of this info back to the design and engineering group so that they ensure it is noted and it is taken into consideration in future projects
How about if we broke down the silos between maintenance and operations and held them both responsible for availability – some organizations go as far as having operations managers being responsible for the maintenance budget. How about if we carried out root cause analysis and identified who could prevent a recurrence of the problem? If we do these things together- as a group then maybe, just maybe, we can get past the blame game and move on to actually solving problems.
So before you dive into improvement initiatives maybe take a step back and figure who needs to be on the team, who needs to be partners, who are stakeholders and get them on board – I’m sure you’ll find it more productive and more sustainable than if you go it alone – Partnership – the key to success
Comments and questions are welcomed her or you can e-mail me at CWilliams@PeopleandProcesses.com