7 critical success factors that keep strong PdM programs on track

Sustain PdM success: Learn from the personal experiences of industry professionals.

By Sheila Kennedy, CMRP, contributing editor

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When a predictive maintenance (PdM) program doesn’t go right, it’s usually not for lack of trying. In last month's issue, Part 1 of this story uncovered common flaws and recovery approaches for programs that fail, stall, underperform, or are defunded. The causes of failure usually boiled down to weakness in one or more critical success factors.

The sheer number of identified critical success factors, all interdependent and equally important, may come as a surprise to those who had considered PdM a “simple” reliability improvement initiative. In reality, the failure of any one element has the potential to put the entire program at risk.

To help you reboot and get it right the next time, following are seven critical success factors as explained by industry professionals who have either “been there, done that” or seen it happen. Their personal experiences and recommendations for restarts are well worth noting.

1.    Make reliability a shared vision

Make the commitment from the onset and let everyone know that PdM is part of the way your plant does business, suggests Greg Padesky, SkillPoint account manager at Advanced Technology Services (ATS). “Without this kind of commitment, many naysayers will help ensure even a well-considered PdM plan fails.” He believes a cultural shift is required from the production floor to the corner office for a PdM program to receive the focus and follow-through required to yield long-term reliability and throughput gains.

How a program restarts really touches on the cultural and behavioral aspects of the organization. Ron Bitely, global E/I reliability manager at Arizona Chemical, a Kraton company, recommends developing a strong vision and alignment to your “North Star” – a common goal shared by all members of the team or organization. “The current state did not happen overnight, and you need to continually follow up to get it back on track. It’s all about being an ambassador for reliability.”

2.    It’s about people, not just the tools

Yes, there needs to be an investment in tools or systems to collect and trend the data, but technology is only part of the solution. Someone trained in the fundamentals of PdM is needs to facilitate the program.

Larry Hoing, senior manager of asset care at Wells Enterprises, says predictive technology alone will not advance your abilities. “I have seen programs stall or fail because they do not have the talent or knowledge to use the technology. The how, when, and where to utilize the technologies is all a part of being successful.”

Sometimes programs fail simply because the reliability technician wears too many hats. “Pulling a person from the day-to-day battle of emergent work and giving them responsibility over only predictive work will in the long run pay off and help solidify the value of the technology,” suggests Hoing.

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