Maintenance Work

Three ways to prevent your reliability program from failing

Learn the top three takeaways from a live Q&A session with Jason Tranter during the Plant Services webinar “A Reliability Road Map with a Difference.”

Jason Tranter has been involved with condition monitoring since 1984. He is the founder and CEO of the Mobius Institute and the Mobius Institute Board of Certification. Tranter is the author of the majority of Mobius’ classroom material and the “iLearn” series of products, and is a member of ISO TC108/SC5.

Tranter recently presented the webinar “A Reliability Road Map with a Difference,” during which he tackled several attendee questions related to developing your own reliability program.

PS: What’s the best way to get senior management to back your reliability program?

JT: If you want to get senior management on board, first you have to be able to speak their language. You need to understand the financial benefits of reliability. Go through the business process review to understand what is important to your business and, therefore, what’s important to senior management.

You need to be able to clearly verbalize your plan’s financial impact, not talk in terms of reliability, statistics, and technical information that senior management will not understand. If you know what is important to the business, then you can say, “This is how reliability improvement will impact the business and allow you to achieve your goals.” Then they should support you.

Also, you don’t want management to just say, “Oh, okay. Go ahead and do it.” You really need their full support so that they will stand behind you. You want them to say, “Yes, our company values safety, quality, and reliability.” You need everyone in the organization to understand that the reliability program is being driven from the top, and that senior management is committed to it for the long term.

PS: What is the best way to get these programs going, and get them in people’s consciousness?

JT: You need to go out and perform an audit on what you’re doing well and what you’re doing not so well, and then figure out what that’s costing you. We recommend doing this in stages so that you can gather as much information as possible. You also want to get your operators, electricians, technicians, and so on together and ask, "What is it that causes you a bad day?"

One of the things that you should be looking for is people who are more positive and enthusiastic about this process. You might even call them the natural leaders – they have wanted to make improvements in the plant, but it seems like no one is listening. Tell them that you are listening and ask them about their good suggestions. If you can find projects that will change people’s procedures and the way they do things, then it’s the start of a culture change process as well. You need to find the right people who will influence other people, and find out what’s important to them. Then you get them to be involved with the starter project, and they will help you drive it.

You also want to choose projects that have measurable benefits. That way you can say, "Okay, this is how much downtime we're experiencing, and this is what the downtime is costing us. I'm going to make this change, and now look at the difference. We haven’t had that machine break down for six months.” You want to go to senior management and other management within the plant and say, "Look, this is what we have done, and these were the benefits of what we've done."

PS: How do you ensure that your program is sustainable from a long-term perspective?

JT: You need to understand what's important to the business. And unless the business changes, what's important to the business won't change. Sometimes you can look at a facility and say, "In this part of the plant, because they stockpile, these things that are important. But in that part of the plant, where they offload to a ship, different things are important.”

But if you know what's important, what you're doing well, what you're not doing well, what that's costing you, and you get the right support, then you'll be sustainable. It becomes sustainable because it goes right to the heart of the business. And for me, that's one of the key points because this isn’t reliability for reliability sake. We are adding value by improving the OEE if we are a manufacturing plant, and we are doing that by reducing downtime, increasing throughput, and improving quality.