Managers, are you overlooking extra job resources at your facility?

Aug. 4, 2021
Tom Moriarty says effective managers use business cases and strategic thinking to make the most of what they’ve got.

Some managers have the resources to implement projects and programs. Many more don’t have the resources. Others may have some resources, but they are unsure of where to invest those resources. However, all have the opportunity to act to improve.

When you don’t have resources, there are paths to do what you can. The first thing is to determine whether you can find the resources based on being more efficient at how you’re using your current resources. If you’re a maintenance manager or supervisor, are you efficiently planning and scheduling your work? If you’re in a reactive maintenance mode you can get between 18% and 31% improvement in labor effectiveness. Maybe you can create a condition monitoring team with those “found” resources? With reading and networking you can figure out how to do it.

Can you take contracted work in-house? Are you performing some activity or paying for some service that really isn’t necessary? Or is it less valuable than the value of an improvement you want to make?

A second thing you should check, if you don’t have resources, is whether funds are available if you can make a good business case. Can you explain how an asset reliability training program will improve value: production availability, production capacity, and quality? Do you know what the value of a 1% improvement in availability is worth? How will asset reliability training lead to improved availability?

Let’s now shift to the second problem. If you have some resources, but don’t know where to apply them, what can you do? Leaders are expected to set the direction and objectives for their teams. The place you should start is to spend time thinking about the mission, vision, values, and objectives of your team. This is a foundational exercise to make sure you can focus on the right things.

With direction and objectives set, think about the things that enable you to achieve the widest set of objectives. Often, this starts with training and education. Again, I’ll point to a comprehensive asset reliability training program. A good quality program will include an overall strategy. Asset reliability is about adding value, not just about maintaining equipment.

Human Capital

This article is part of our monthly Human Capital column. Read more from Tom Moriarty.

With an asset reliability strategy in place, you can then assess the parts of the strategy that need to be filled in. Usually there are foundational portions of the strategy that are recommended to be filled in before the latter parts of the strategy. However, there can be reasons to work on other aspects first. Perhaps putting a defect elimination program in place will build teamwork and solve important problems. The key is to have a strategy by which you make important decisions on getting things done.

It is never enough to just think about how to find resources by being efficient or making a good business case. It’s never enough to have resources and a good asset reliability strategy. You have to actually take action. Execute initiatives.

What if a leader doesn’t have much experience or confidence in taking action? Leaders can start by having the courage to just do it. Create an initiative or small project and do it. Each time the leader tries a new initiative they will learn something. String together a bunch of small improvements to hone your process, increase your confidence, and gain respect from your senior leaders.

In some cases mid-level and low-level leaders are discouraged from showing initiative. They are criticized when they fail, or are told their ideas are a waste of time. When senior leaders discourage initiative they are asking for mediocrity. Worse, they are encouraging leaders to look for other opportunities.

If you’re a discouraging senior leader, get real. Know that everyone makes mistakes, yourself included. Encourage leaders to develop strategies, assess performance, and act to make improvements. And remember, if you’re in an organization that squashes initiative, the job market is wide open.

Go forth and do great things.

This story originally appeared in the August 2021 issue of Plant Services. Subscribe to Plant Services here.

About the Author: Tom Moriarty
About the Author

Tom Moriarty | P.E., CMRP, President of Alidade MER, Inc.

Tom Moriarty, P.E., CMRP is president of Alidade MER, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in asset management, reliability engineering, and leadership improvement. He is a member of SMRP (Florida Chapter Board Member and CED Director), a past Chair of ASME’s Canaveral Florida Section, and author of the book “The Productive Leadership System; Maximizing Organizational Reliability”. He has a BSME, an MBA (organizational development), is a licensed professional engineer (PE) in Florida, and a Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP). Contact him at [email protected], (321) 773-3356, or via LinkedIn at

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