Maintenance Technology January 2016 - (Page 4)

MY TAKE Revisiting Management Support Jane Alexander Managing Editor T houghtful feedback is great. Thoughtful ranting feedback is the greatest. Ranting feedback is what I received in response to my Dec. 2015 column, "What's Up With Management Support?" To recap, in that column, I shared insight from two readers (both currently working as industry consultants) regarding the lack of management backbone and stick-to-itiveness when it comes to reliability in today's plants and facilities. The problem, as one of their real-world horror stories illustrated, isn't new. It goes back for decades, and is repeated over and over at sites as managers come and go and, apparently, management fashions change. One reader who responded to my invitation to tell us more about the situation today put it bluntly: "Judging from your editorial," he wrote, "'I'm not the only one who sees matters as they really are. The state of reliability is deplorable. More and more hot air is being generated out there. Hot air sells better than cruel analysis." 'The state of reliability is deplorable. More and more hot air is being generated out there. Hot air sells better than cruel analysis.' Another correspondent (a long-time consultant as well) went into much more detail. Basing his opinion on 20 years in the field, he categorized a sustainable reliability process as "an anomaly rather than the norm." Like one of the readers quoted in my December column, he described how easy it is to derail reliability plans and processes. The next (revolving door) manager has to put his "stamp" or slant on the process, whether his/her new plan has proven to be effective or not. "I have seen this with one of my former international oil and gas clients," he wrote, "where a 4| MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY corporate maintenance strategic planning process was 'tweaked' by engineering to the point where it bore little to no resemblance to the initial (and very successful) former strategy." His solution? "Unless and until there is a realization that 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' philosophy exists in the corporate boardroom, we will continue to see any strategic plans and processes revamped in the name of the new 'owner' who is encouraged in this behavior by actively being franchised to make wholesale changes." As he reported seeing-again and again and again-"The command and control philosophy in the traditional vein continues to revert when a strategic initiative fails to immediately show dramatic results. As anyone in the reliability business understands, behavior needs to change to support stability and sustainability and quarter-toquarter financial results will not reflect the benefits of a reliability process that needs to be measured in years rather than in months." Alas, in this consultant's view, "Such behaviors are generally supported by a team process that breaks down when the old command-and-control philosophy re-emerges. And, employees become more jaded by each successive new 'latest and greatest' plan for improvement." He's found that, although rank-and-file employees may at first be willing to participate [in new improvement initiatives], their mistrust of middle and upper management gets in the way: "They're no longer able to visualize any WIIFM (What's In It For Me) from a new initiative, as they are certain that there will be a new one in place in the coming months/years." All the while, he lamented, "They continue to fight the good fight on the floor, attempting to keep everything running and making widgets." Things continue to deteriorate, he noted, during economic downturns when further strategic, reliability, and associated support training are among the first items on the chopping block, even though "they are exactly what is needed to combat economic distress." Thanks to these readers for ranting. I encourage you to do the same. MT jalexander@maintenancetechnology.com JANUARY 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maintenance Technology January 2016

My Take
Uptime
On The Floor
Keeping Old Machines Running Like New
Operational Excellence Is A Competitive Necessity
Sell Reliability to Management
Several Hands Responsible For This Oil Debacle
Infrared Detects Leaks
Mobile CMMS Benefits
Gear Pitting Issues
Manage Energy Processes
Products
Ad Index
Showcase
Final Thought

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