Maintenance Technology May 2016 - (Page 48)

FINAL THOUGHT The Reliability of Everything (RoE) W Dr. Klaus M. Blache Univ. of Tennessee Reliability & Maintainability Center 48 | hy is reliability attracting so much attention? It's connected to everything. Many phone calls I field these days involve requests for reliability and maintainability information or training or assistance in hiring RME (Reliability and Maintainability Engineering) graduates (of which some companies seek more than 20). On a broader scale, my recent online search for "reliability jobs" turned up 127 million, including 870,000 for "reliability engineering," 392,000 for "reliability technicians," and 301,000 for "reliability engineering managers." To understand what's fueling this situation, let's examine the following four areas. (When I use the term reliability, I'm typically referring to reliability and maintainability [R&M].) Access to knowledge has improved. More reliability knowledge is available, and it's more understandable and easily applied. Visibility and awareness are also higher. The slim R&M professional-development pickings of yesteryear have grown to include more than 10 annual conferences and untold numbers of other training offerings. The workforce's interest in professional growth that's been building over decades is also capturing the attention of increasing numbers of employers. During my two-year chairmanship of SMRP (Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals), shortly after the society formed, we just hoped to get enough attendees to our conferences to cover expenses. That situation has changed dramatically, due, in large part, to the emphasis other conferences, publications, and information portals have put on R&M. Better and standardized processes, i.e., the SMRP Body of Knowledge and Uptime Elements, also exist. While R&M professionals still need to personalize their "roadmaps," these types of foundational resources are a good start. More people, at all levels, "get it." Reliability used to mainly be something engineers "did." Today, it's often considered part of everyone's job, and there's MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY a clear role for technicians/trades, engineers, and leaders in supporting an R&M vision. Students are also gaining early exposure and experience in the field. For example, in the past five years, the Univ. of Tennessee College of Engineering has graduated about 300 students with RME undergraduate minor and/or graduate degrees. Interestingly, today there are about as many technicians and trades pursuing R&M professional development opportunities as engineers. Managers are seeking specific guidance regarding training and implementation versus just wanting general help. Reliability is also becoming more integrated in plant and corporate business plans with leadership goals. Reliability can improve most (maybe all) key business metrics. Reliability and maintainability have a positive impact on safety, people, quality, productivity, and costs (what every company targets). Use of the R&M relationship in these areas as a competitive advantage is generating numerous success stories. Organizations can leverage R&M to attain top-quartile performance if they know how to implement it and on what performance indicators to focus. (Note: SMRP and the Univ. of Tennessee are teaming up to provide six metric areas, by industry type, that enable top-quartile performance in the five target areas. Contact me regarding participation.) Reliability gets results in all types of organizations. Remember that reliability includes people, product, processes (engineering and machinery and equipment), all assets, and facilities, across all sectors. Some operations I've recently been involved with (from airlines to mining, pharma, and everything in between) have wanted to drive overall continuous improvement; many have wanted to increase uptime and reduce costs. Reliability, when properly strategized and aligned, can support a variety of other initiatives, i.e., Lean and TPM (Total Productive Maintenance). Specifically, organizations can leverage reliability to build best practices, including precision maintenance, repeatable production processes within specifications, and Weibull analyses to monitor reliability growth. Think of reliability in Internet of Things (IoT) terms. Just as the IoT reflects connectivity among countless physical objects and networks, the Reliability of Everything (RoE) connects and improves all parts of your business. MT 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 MAY 2016

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

On The Floor
A 40% Production Boost From Reliability
Beck Helps Women Excel In Engineering
Unleash Your Plant's Hidden Potential
Right-Size Your Maintenance Organization
Respect The Cornerstones of Manual Grease Lubrication
Motor Connection Advice
Maximize Millennial Workers
Compressed Air Filtration
Pneumatic Tubing & Hose Specs
Ad Index
Final Thought

Maintenance Technology May 2016