Tell us about your best practices

May 7, 2009
Paul Studebaker, CMRP, editor in chief, says the rewards for doing so might be tangible.

It’s been a really wet spring here in Chicagoland. That and myriad other considerations pushed back my first commute to work by motorcycle all the way to May this year.

Almost all my riding these days consists of that commute, which is mostly at high speed in heavy traffic and construction on Indiana’s Borman Expressway and Illinois’ Tri-State Tollway, two of the busiest, fastest, dirtiest, most potholed highways in the United States.

I anticipate each year’s first commute with some trepidation. At my age, I know it doesn’t seem entirely sane to use my old bike for this purpose at that time and place. But, when the right circumstances arrive, out come the boots, helmet, gloves and riding suit. In go the rain gear, earplugs and briefcase with laptop. On go the toll transponder and the elevated alertness of the completely defensive driver.

On these roads, cars and trucks run close-packed at 75 mph and more, except in the many “45 mph” lane-reduced, shoulder-free construction zones, where it slows to 65 mph. Survival depends in part on lane choice (to minimize exposure), lane positioning (to maximize visibility), following distance (to preserve reaction time), and accepting the chore of psychoanalyzing and predicting the behavior of every driver in proximity whose actions might affect my two children’s future parenting.

In general terms, the job gets done. I pay less at the pump, and I’m here to write about it.

Whether you realize it or not, every day you are successfully performing both simple and complex tasks using knowledge, technologies and methods that you and your coworkers have found to be particularly effective. Some of them are among the world’s best practices. Are you willing to share one of them with your fellow plant professionals?

The Society of Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP) formalizes the definition of a best practice as: “A process, technique or innovative use of resources that has a proven record of success in providing significant improvement in cost, schedule, quality, performance, safety, environment or other measurable factors that impact the health of an organization.”

But defining best practices only gets you part of the way. To implement them, most companies and individuals need concrete examples that demonstrate how to introduce them, show the potential payoffs in both qualitative and quantitative terms, and provide inspiration for those who must overcome cultural inertia and make effective changes.

That’s why we inaugurated the Plant Services Best Practices Awards. All that’s needed to enter is a story about an application that fits the SMRP definition. Entries may be submitted by plant personnel, vendors, engineering firms, consultants or anyone who is familiar with the application and has permission to make it public knowledge.

This year, for the first time, we are enlisting sponsors to underwrite prizes for the different categories of Best Practices Award winners. For example, along with the invaluable esteem of their peers and wide distribution of their story on the Web and in Plant Services magazine, the individual or group behind the winning entry in the Energy Efficiency and Sustainability category will be awarded $1,500, and a donation of $5,000 will be made to the charity or scholarship fund of its choice, courtesy of Atlas Copco. We are actively seeking sponsors for other categories of the awards, including Asset Management, Equipment and Reliability.

Entries are in the form of short articles describing implementation of a maintenance or asset management practice, service, or product in an industrial facility. But don’t worry if you’re not a writer — our entry form asks the right questions, and we can turn your answers into an article.

We want to hear about return on investment, problem-solving, technology and implementation. Give us a little background on your facility, the problem, and how you arrived at the best practice solution or implementation. Help us understand the critical aspects of the implementation that contributed to its selection and success, warn us about any problems or pitfalls, and if possible, inspire us with quantitative results like improved reliability (MTBR), cost savings, ROI or payback. Graphics (photos, tables, charts, graphs, etc.) are encouraged.

E-mail Paul Studebaker, CMRP, editor in chief, at [email protected].

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