Focus on Reliability

Plan, Strategy or Tactic – Which Comes First?


For some of you, it may seem obvious that you need to have a plan and then develop strategies to achieve the plan and then use tactics driven by the strategies but that doesn’t mean that we will all follow that…  Many times, we see companies changing, adjusting or even abandoning tactics as a means to trying to improve their maintenance performance. This usually happens when they are under pressure to ‘do something’ as they are in trouble. Of course, they may make some small quick improvements, and quite often they are necessary, but the problem is they are usually treating symptoms of bigger evils and not the causes of the problems.

We sometimes see strategies being talked about and attempts made to change or improve those with little success. What typically happens in these cases is that people return to their ‘comfort zone’ and very little actually changes. The difficulty in these circumstances is that it is assumed that the changes to the strategies were not the right ones – rather than they didn’t really take place. This then leads to another string of changes which in turn fail to improve anything. Frustration starts to creep in and people’s appetite for trying to change quickly disappears.

The challenge that we need to overcome is getting an understanding of what the issues are and what the solutions might be, and we can’t do that unless we stop and do at least a quick analysis.  Though this sounds simple enough, we should remember that we are under pressure to make things better. The other problem we may face is that not everyone has seen what highly effective maintenance looks like, not everyone knows the what, how and why that need to be in place to build the successful department. The best we can hope for out of this quick analysis is that we see some obvious improvements we can – and usually must – make so that we can buy some time and that we begin to understand what we don’t know and so can do something about it.

Once we have this understanding of what the needs are then the next step is to search for where we can find solutions. If there is only one issue that needs to be addressed, then we might be lucky enough to find a course that is specifically aimed at the problem, but even then we need to understand how we can apply it to our situation. However, just a specific problem is seldom the case, and we usually need to develop a plan that will systematically lead to sustainable improvement.

If you face the same sort of challenges and you are not sure what the questions are or what the direction should be, consider enrolling in either our Proven Solutions in Maintenance and Reliability 3 day course or Maintenance and Reliability for Managers 4-part series course. A Public Instructor led course is starting soon or better yet, bring it to your site where you can get more people involved.

Get the details here or contact Tammi @ (843) 814-3795

The best way forward is to find training that will allow you to learn about topics that will build to a clear path forward and then give you the time to try an implement the learning at your plant. You will see the challenges and hopefully see the start of success.  This type of training is usually split into a number of sessions where you get the opportunity to review what you have carried out, what your challenges have been an learn from others attending about their experiences. What you will find is that these experiences are quite often very different and that’s to be expected as there is never really any ‘one size fits all’ solutions and the secret is in making the solutions work for your problems. As you move forward, you need to be sure to communicate within your organization about what you are doing and what you are hoping to achieve. This will help you build the engaged culture that you will need to make these improvements stick. The training will give you a skeleton to build the way forward and being systematic will build logically to the point where the links between each of the topics is clearly understood. 

Using this type of training will allow you to build the path that YOU need and then start to develop the strategies that will enable you to achieve success. 

Don't know where to start with your training? Start with our Maintenance and Reliability for Managers - 4 Part Series. This popular course, taught by industry professionals with decades of experience, is split into 4 parts. This way, you can track your successes between sessions, get personalized help from instructors, and learn from other attendees about how to fix challenges. 

For more information, visit our course page. 

If you have questions or comments or would like more details on your path, contact us at


Topics: Maintenance Management Training Maintenance Planning Scheduling Organization Reliability Centered Maintenance Leadership and Supervision maintenance skills maintenance skills training Maintenance training maintenance