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Why do many Reliability and Maintenance Improvement Programs Fail?

by Greg Gustafson

Many companies we work with ask us a common question, “What’s the biggest reason Reliability and Maintenance (R&M) programs fail?”


There are many factors associated with the success of an R&M improvement program including performances in the following performance areas - Strategy, Organization Structure and Capability, Leadership, Process Workflows, Employee Training, Enabling Tools, Roles and Responsibilities, Execution, and Performance Management.

It is said “Leadership is about taking responsibility, not making excuses”. Far and above, the two most common reasons that companies fail to sustain R&M practices and achieve improved business results are the following;

  1. Lack of a strong and fully engaged Leadership Team that understands and takes responsibility for the business objectives, basic process workflows, and the organizational roles in support of the process. In addition, the Leadership Teams understands and supports the best practices that drive plant benefits.
  2. Leadership and supervision’s lack of understanding and ability to manage people – with both sincere recognition and also performance management, when appropriate.    

If you have the best consultant provide the best training and processes and tools you will achieve limited business results in the short term. However, they will eventually fade away and you will most likely fall back to the old inefficient practices that you have had for dozens of years that the organization is familiar with and has accepted.

If you develop a practical strategy, follow common process work flows, communicate roles and responsibilities, train employees, provide enabling tools, coach and execute implementation AND also have a strong Leadership and Supervision team that can effectively practice performance management, then you will achieve strong business results for your company.