Maintenance Technology June 2017 - 8
ON THE FLOOR
An outlet for the views of
& reliability professionals
Reliability: Taking Blame
Or Sharing Responsibility
ho or what is to blame for lessthan-stellar levels of reliability in an
operation? Word on the street is that it's
not uncommon for multiple fingers to
be pointed when equipment or processes fail, even if
those being pointed at bear little, if any, responsibility
for or have any control over the situation. To explore
the issue, we turned to Maintenance Technology
Reader Panelists. Here's what we asked them:
: What was the status of the reliability effort
in their operations (or their client/customer
operations) and how widely did this effort
reach across department lines, i.e., was
responsibility for reliability shared?
The following responses have, as usual, been edited
for clarity and brevity. (Additional responses can be
found on maintenancetechnology.
Discrete Mfg, Midwest. . .
Our reliability is in a good
spot. Results are tracked by
a PM Coordinator and put
into graphs and plantinformation centers. This
information is passed on to
each trades group during a
team huddle at the start of
all shifts and at a daily staff
Some of our past maintenance foremen really
didn't "lead" the department.
Our current foreman is very
hands-on, and we're taking a more direct
approach in how we operate. We used to be led
around by Engineering and Production. Now, we're
often doing the leading. This has improved our
reliability on numerous projects.
Industry Supplier, Southeast. . .
With regard to my customers, I see very high
success rates where Maintenance and Operations
take dual responsibility for the reliability of assets.
They understand that Maintenance staffs are usually
shorthanded and have scheduled time to assess
and correct equipment. Operators who work with
the equipment every day, however, can help assess
and evaluate it and make recommendations that
could prevent a catastrophic failure and/or reduce
downtime. Teamwork is crucial in achieving worldclass reliability.
Condition Monitoring Specialist,
Power Sector, South. . .
Within our operations, specific engineers have been
assigned responsibility for ["ownership of"] various
plant systems. The strength of the relationship
between those working in the area of reliability
maintenance and system "owners" in the Engineering
Department is critical. That said, reliability maintenance is only as effective as the perceived importance
of reliability-test data from a system owner.
Unfortunately, reliability maintenance isn't
deemed as important as planned maintenance. The
assumption within the Planning Department is that
planned maintenance will address most maintenance
However, because of the extensive amount of
experience in our Reliability Group, upper and
middle management and the system owners give us
a lot of respect. The driving force, though, as with
most industrial organizations, is the finite amount
of money in the individual system-owners' budgets.
These factors combine to make the importance of
reliability maintenance in our operations a constantly
Industry Consultant, International. . .
Most companies I've worked with as either a manager
or a consultant have, to some degree, involved
Production and Operations in the maintenance/
reliability process. Based on my experience, the old
mentality of "WE break it, YOU fix it" has receded.
As costs climb, general management and boards
watch for places to boost efficiency. Teamwork
involving Production, Maintenance/Reliability,