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The Reliability and Maintenance (R&M) Vision and what to do when your budget is tight

by Owe Forsberg

Best reliability and maintenance practices take several years to develop, normally 3-6 years. It starts with a strong leader who realizes an improved availability, quality and throughput can increase revenue and profits for the corporation.

As the leader drives and implements best practices to improve R&M they mustdevelop a long term mission and vision. The mission and vision for reliability and maintenance is integrated with the site plan and the corporate strategy.

So far so good, new work processes are implemented and the organization ralliesaround the improvement effort and the new mission and vision. Then a change occurs...and budget pressures mount. The continuous efforts to improve die becausethe leadership puts the initiative on hold due to budget constraints and re-prioritizing. The idea with a good R&M vision and mission is to make sure that improvements are made over many years. In most cases, the vision should continue the improvement effort regardless of budget constraints. Implementation of fundamental work processes in R&M should continue to improve even when budgets are tight.

The three fundamentals of a reliable plant are; 1) providing leadership, 2) implementing planning and scheduling and 3) develop preventive maintenance/condition monitoring procedures. Even with a tight budget in place the vision should provide the direction and the motivation for your organization to continue to improve. The vision should spark interest to make improvements without spending additional dollars. Smarter R&M procedures will be the difference to decrease maintenance cost/unit output and increased product output.

Is your R&M efforts based on the long term vision or is it the program of the month as viewed by the organization? The tip is to continue to drive your improvements like work order flow, perfect work execution, update your PM and condition monitoring procedures and remove obstacles for doing the right thing. You don’t have to be in charge of the budget to make a significant contribution, try to improve your daily task and procedures you follow.