Always planning for the last disaster

We are always planning for the last big event. As the mining and commodities industries went into a once-in-a-century boom, miners and oil companies scrambled to increase their capacity to get the most out of it.

The result? They missed it, and today they are trying to work out what to do with the excess equipment and assets. The automakers are trying desperately to protect themselves from further loss of marketshare and a prolonged downturn AFTER they have already been replaced as Americas source of vehicles, and after Toyota has already beaten them to the next big thing with the Prius. 

We take our shares out to protect from further losses AFTER the stockmarket has already plummeted. We start to look for a new job after we finally realize that things aren't going so well here.

We are always preparing for what happened yesterday and not for what is happening today ... even in the most proactive of all disciplines: reliability engineering!

BP decided to do something serious (and they are very serious!) about safety after the Houston refinery explosion, companies tend to do something about asset reliability after they have already lost a packet due to poor performance, and consultancies (and practitioners) try to ramp up on resources and skills AFTER the need has already appeared.

Foolish, isn't it?

What if we could ensure strong and sustainable asset performance before we have a range of lost production opportunities? Or what if we could lower risk to tolerable levels before there was a significant safety event? What if we could secure our futures before we needed a job?  

There just might be something to this proactive idea after all ...