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Is your Reliability and Maintenance Strategy Lacking Individual Development?

by Owe Forsberg, Senior Consultant

For a competitive advantage, an organization must have a basic development strategy for Reliability and Maintenance. Following Reliability and Maintenance best practices strategies maximizes operations output and minimizes cost per unit.

One important aspect of the development strategy is to train your organization in the strategy. By doing so you will reduce reactivity in maintenance and improve safety. Data tells us thatsame day reactive maintenance jobs costs 3 times more than a similar job that is planned and scheduled and executed 7-10 days later (data from IDCON INC.). We also know that the top tier proactive plants have an OSHA recordable incident rate of 0.11 whereas, the lower tier and reactive maintenance plants have an incident rate of 4.36 (Study by University of Tennessee UT-RMC).

I have visited many plants and mills and observed that there is little or no overall plan to develop the organization in reliability and maintenance practices.

To improve reliability and maintenance an organizational development plan should include the following key areas of training and hand on practice:

  • 1. manage reliability and maintenance
  • 2. drive an improvement effort
  • 3. develop leadership by the front line and management
  • 4. do work management, planning and scheduling
  • 5. develop and mange your essential care and condition monitoring program
  • 6. do basic inspections of the equipment
  • 7. manage spare parts and material management
  • 8. root cause problem elimination
  • 9. manage shutdowns and outages

A great way to begin is developing the plan is to include a matrix where all major positions are identified and specific training requirements are determined for each position. Key positions and front line organization include:

  • Operators
  • Operations supervisor
  • Process engineer
  • Operations and maintenance coordinator
  • Operations manager
  • Maintenance manager
  • Maintenance supervisor
  • Reliability engineer
  • Craftspeople
  • Storeroom personnel and Buyer
  • Other functions depending on the organization

Once you’ve identified the specific training requirements you then need to ensure the training program includes on-the-job practice to make sure that the students learn how to use their knowledge.

Here are some examples of training plans for an operator and reliability engineer based on the curriculum above.

Operators Reliability & Maintenance Training

Overview Training

Detailed Training

Principals of Reliability and Maintenance

Basic Inspections of Equipment
  • Practice how to inspect and generate work requests based on inspection
  • Practice how to use basic instruments to do equipment inspections

Work Management Planning & Scheduling

  • Practice how to write work requests in CMMS

Root Cause Problem Elimination

  • Practice how to capture reliability data, use triggers & initiate RCPE investigation

Reliability Engineer Reliability & Maintenance Training

Overview Training

Detailed Training

Work Management Planning and Scheduling
  • Practice how to plan & schedule a maintenance job

Manage Reliability & Maintenance

  • Practice how to develop process workflow

Driving an improvement effort

  • Practice creating a PM development & improvement plan
Materials & Spare Parts Management
Develop & Manage Essential Care and Condition Monitoring Program
  • Practice building new PMs
  • Enter new PMs into CMMS

Develop leadership skills

  • Practice making a communication plan for improving the PM system
Shutdown Turnaround Optimization
Basic Equipment Inspections
  • Practice developing PM inspections using basic CM tools

Root Cause Problem Elimination

  • Practice using the process on the actual problem or bad actors

Many leaders have been promoted without preparation or support to be a leader, supervisor or manager. Proactive organizations have development programs that include more than 40 hours/year training each person.

I have been really lucky that I was given many opportunities to develop my management, leadership and technical skills before and during my role as a maintenance engineer, supervisor, maintenance manager, and operations manager. Training in supervision, management, and leadership skill was supported with coaching and mentoring to continuously improve with the aim at improving plant efficiency.

It is time that we invest in our people and remember that “people arenot the most vital asset” but “the rightpeople properly trainedare an organizations most vital asset”.