When I look for leading practices I prefer to look at reports from Analysts like Gartner Group, Aberdeen Group and Forrester in particular. I always prefer these companies because they give a neutral view of the market, rather than a view from some publisher or consultant who are pushing their own points of view for some reason.
But this also means that they don't always say what I want them to. (We will have to try to fix that)
The November report from Aberdeen Group on Reliability and Asset Performance Management shows that the top reason why organizations implement a reliability program is to maximize the return on assets.
Second was to achieve a competitive advantage, and third was to reduce total lifecycle costs. (They haven't quite caught up with the thinking on Whole-of-Life cost syet, but they will!)
This really warms my heart, as it cindicates a view I have held for a long time.
Reliability projects don't start with critical assets - they start with bad actors!
Criticality has long been a tool used by consultants to separate clients and their money. As logic starts to take the place of the mystical belief in criticality, we come to realize that minimum lifecycle costs, maximum return on assets, and competitive advantage means that the company needs to fully utilize their asset base.
A good tip for us all as the recession deepens and uncertainty abounds. As demand falls, don't look first to costs - look first at maximizing the uptime available from your plant. That is easily worth 10x most cost reductions in terms of value...
I am going to summarize this report and tie it back to some real world stuff shortly. If you are a serious manager in teh field of reliability then a subscription to Aberdeen Group is a wise thing to have.