Efficient Plant Nov./Dec 2019 - 8

column | implementations

It Begins,
Ends with
Leadership
Dr. Klaus M. Blache
Univ. of Tennessee Reliability
& Maintainability Center
(RMC)

Effective and sustained R&M cultures start with
informed and engaged enterprise leadership.

+

Benchmarking Survey Update
I am currently updating some basic R&M metrics and encourage
you to participate. If you submit data from your facility, you will
receive a summary of the results. All data will remain anonymous.
If you are interested, send an email to kblache@utk.edu.

8

| EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

R

ECENTLY I WAS invited to
offer input to a senior manufacturing executive (responsible for numerous facilities) on how
they should improve their reliability
and maintainability (R&M). In preparation, I pulled together relevant data
to show best-practice key-performance
indicators (KPIs) and do a gap analysis
of current practices.
Halfway through the presentation,
the executive stated that the data was
very similar to his business and he liked
the opportunities presented. I showed
him how the example company had a
"pretty good R&M process" 12 years prior, with steady plant-floor improvement.
Then came a time of redirection. New
leadership wanted to focus on maximizing throughput and profit, at the expense
of R&M best practices. That worked for a
short time.
Eventually, backlog got out of control
and the company reverted to highly
reactive maintenance practices. Uptime
and throughput deteriorated and costs
rose. About four years later, a new set of
leaders wondered why production costs
were so high.
That executive called in a subject-matter expert and again started on
a journey of R&M improvement. Over
five years, they accomplished many 2nd
Quartile and some 1st (top) Quartile
KPIs, guided by a detailed internal R&M
assessment process. Although it was a
good R&M implementation, focus was
mainly on performance versus organization health-people engagement, plant
culture, accountability, and production
and maintenance cooperation. To operate in the 1st Quartile, enterprises need a
constant focus on both aspects to attain
and sustain a best-practice process.

After a period of progress and due
to financial pressures, there were many
early retirements (especially in the R&M
staff) and yet another change in executive leadership. With the constant disruption of changing people, and without
an established R&M culture to continue
the process, they couldn't sustain the
discipline of daily best practices.
What I said next surprised him.
"The data looks similar because it's your
company data. This is my third time here
and twice in between, executives, that
I did not meet, chose to cut costs and/
or not support the R&M process. The
real question is what are you going to
do different to deliver a long-term viable
process?" I was not involved with any of
the implementations at this company,
but had enough interaction to observe
the changing dynamics.
Leadership must "walk the talk."
Employees must see them acting in a
way that supports the R&M vision and
goals. The processes and incentives must
be aligned with the desired behaviors.
Leaders need to provide opportunities
to attain the necessary skills, such as
precision maintenance and root-cause
analysis, and communicate, with clarity
and detail, what each level of the organization needs to do to support the vision/
goals. So much is based on developing
the needed culture. It begins and ends
with leadership. EP

Based in Knoxville, Klaus M. Blache
is director of the Reliability &
Maintainability Center at the Univ. of
Tennessee, and a research professor
in the College of Engineering.
Contact him at kblache@utk.edu.

NOV/DEC 2019


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Efficient Plant Nov./Dec 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Efficient Plant Nov./Dec 2019

Efficient Plant Nov./Dec 2019 - 1
Efficient Plant Nov./Dec 2019 - Cover1
Efficient Plant Nov./Dec 2019 - Cover2
Efficient Plant Nov./Dec 2019 - 1
Efficient Plant Nov./Dec 2019 - 2
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Efficient Plant Nov./Dec 2019 - Cover3
Efficient Plant Nov./Dec 2019 - Cover4
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