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Are Your Reliability Efforts Haunted by the Lack of an Effective Plan?

So many facilities struggle with timely results and expected return on investments within their reliability improvement efforts. One of the demons that continuously shows it's face is the sequencing within the improvement plan.
Sites tend to want to pursue the exciting and fun things and forget many of the foundational elements that support the shiny stuff.  For example a site will purchase technology in the form of software or predictive tools before developing work flow process. Without understanding the work management process you don't have the data needed for the software to analyze nor the ability to execute the work identified with the predictive tools. This just leads to the exciting new tools being underutilized and then eventually put on a shelf to gather dust.
When you are looking at your initiative and planning your strategy, take a look at what is required to support the pieces that you desire. Be honest about your maturity in these support elements and build your base before your tower. Towers are great to look at and show others but foundations are where a smart man spends his time.
Some of the common issues I see include:

  1. Scheduling work without planning first. How can you have an accurate schedule when you have not had a planner break down the job into small enough parts to accurately estimate time required?
  2. Predictive tools applied without work process to execute the findings prior to point F on the P-F curve.
  3. Software such as EAM and CMMS without standard work process to make them work.
  4. Software for engineering analysis without data from FRACAS or failure coding to input for analysis. 
  5. Initiatives like lean and six sigma applied before with maintenance induced variation and waste is reduced. 
  6. Reliability engineering tools applied before maintenance engineering tools. When you have a pure reliability engineer working on the future in a fully reactive facility it becomes a lot like rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. You need the maintenance engineer to introduce procedures, precision maintenance and failure mode based maintenance to stop the the sinking and then we can focus on the next cruise. 
If you want to keep the gremlins out of your improvement strategy then focus on the processes first then apply the tools, software and shiny stuff.

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