Maintenance Work

How to build a reliability program from the ground up

Rome wasn't built in a day, and a successful reliability program can't happen overnight.

During the live Q&A portion of the Plant Services webinar “How Can You Improve Reliability Overnight?” Mobius Institute founder and CEO Jason Tranter tackled several attendee questions related to implementing a successful reliability program.

PS: What are the concrete or physical things that people can do to improve reliability quickly?

JT: I would suggest first focusing on lubrication. Make sure the correct lubricant is being dispensed, and confirm that it is clean and not contaminated with water or anything else. Then look at things like shaft alignment, keeping machines clean, and making sure you've got procedures in place for all work that's done. Planning and scheduling, vibration analysis, and ultrasound will give you a heads-up on problems that are coming and help improve reliability. But as you're doing those things, engage with people as much as you can to get their suggestions and to let them know what you're doing so that you can begin the culture change process.

PS: How long does it take to make real improvements in reliability?

JT: The first step is to get everyone at your plant to start to see things a little differently, but realistically, you will see improvements in the first year. In three years, you'll see real changes. And while everyone would like things to happen very quickly, culture change, various improvements, and getting senior management on board can take a couple of years. If you're really organized, if you have a proper plan, if you're strategic about what you're doing, and you take care of fundamental issues, then you'll see some real improvements in one year. Over two years, you should see some significant improvements, but this is a long-term process.

PS: You mentioned that management buy-in is crucial. What do you do if management just does not believe in the benefit of what you're trying to do with reliability?

JT: You have to put the business case forward. You have to assess where you are today, what the opportunities are, your plan's capacity, and what the real value is. No. 1, put it in dollar terms. Don't try to explain it as a common-sense thing to do. Number two, take on some pilot projects. Rather than saying, "We're going to take on the world," try a little pilot project, and you can go back and say, "We did this; we didn't invest a huge amount of money; and we've seen this return already." And that takes a lot of risk out of some people. It breaks down some of those barriers, but you really need to understand the business case and see how that relates to the business goals.

Jason Tranter has been involved with condition monitoring since 1984. He is the founder and CEO of Mobius Institute, which is accredited to ISO 17024 and ISO 18436-1. Mobius has training centers in more than 50 countries and has trained more than 24,000 people in a classroom setting and many thousands more via e-learning. Tranter authored the majority of Mobius’ training material and is a member of ISO TC108/SC5.

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