Maintenance Technology January 2016 - (Page 4)
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
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
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
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
Thanks to these readers for ranting. I encourage
you to do the same. MT
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maintenance Technology January 2016
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
Maintenance Technology January 2016