If there was a magic pill you could take for “Reliability Excellence”, Philip would be the leading doctor you would want to see! A popular Mainstream Conference speaker and workshop leader, Philip Sage is a Principal Reliability Engineer at ARMS Reliability. In today’s post, he shares his experiences and explains how it is possible to lead teams working with unreliable assets and transform them into world class operations.
So just what is the Reliability Excellence prescription?
People and Leaders with Vision
All around the globe I ask everyone what is “Reliability Excellence”? I travel and work with teams from many different countries, and while each team is different, their definitions all seem to have two elements in common:
“Reliability Leadership and a Vision of what is Reliability Excellence”.
It is given that each organisation faces different challenges in the market place, so I can accept that different definitions for “Reliability Excellence” exist. But what sets the “best” apart from the rest? What is really “Excellent”?
I believe it starts with the people who have a vision and the belief they can succeed. So how do you tell the difference between the best and the rest? I look for the “visionary” who has set the path for Reliability Excellence. The visionary is an absolute requirement because they are magnetic. They draw people into the Reliability Excellence quest. These folks are a rare breed and when they are found it might surprise you to learn they are not all the boss! Some lead from within their organisational role, but influence a very broad spectrum.
A common trait I have noticed amongst the good reliability leaders is they are also good learners, and at the same time as good learners they are also very good listeners.
The great reliability leaders are those that keep their eyes and ears open and accept feedback from their staff, their in house customers, and their industry.
What do I consider the difference?
A reliability boss is the person who takes a given set of resources and parcels them out as efficiently as possible. The results of their efforts are organised but limited; they have organized a small group who work towards a reliability strategy. Most often I find their effort lacks critical mass.
Given the same set of resources, the visionary reliability leader leverages them. In doing so, they amass a small army that works on Reliability Excellence.
These folks tend to draw others who are not part of the reliability organisation into the quest for reliability excellence. In an advanced organisation I find it is very difficult to tell the difference between who is working on reliability and who is working on quality or production issues.
The Magic Pill
So what is the magic elixir you can prescribe to your organization to achieve “reliability excellence”?
Actually, I don’t think it is possible to put your finger firmly on all of the elements that would be required to achieve a state of “reliability excellence” without knowing something about the organisation and its competition in the market place.
For each organisation the journey seems to be different but there are a few key components that are top of the list:
Ingredients for Reliability Excellence
- Great People – Without people we cannot ever have excellence in any attempt. You need people to be empowered and passionate about the reliability journey. The best way to achieve empowerment is to educate and equip people so they help drive the process. Continuous Learning and Improvement – Getting results that are valued by the business creates the motivation for more success.
- Technology – Maybe not the newest tools in the box are needed, but enough of the tools to make a good crack at the top spot, and the knowledge how to use them for maximum effect.
- Integrated focus of Reliability Excellence tied to production throughput and/or business objectives. Reliability excellence is not the domain of one department but crosses boundaries.
Key processes that would support Reliability Excellence would include measuring the reliability performance and prioritising continuous improvement activities.
Key ways to measure “reliability excellence” would include:
- Process Reliability using Production Data to quantify the lost opportunity
- Sub Process Reliability Measurement using the Reliability Performance Index (Rpk)
A strong dose of Defect Elimination driven scientifically to identify equipment improvements;
- Using Weibull analysis on the“ time to failure” for equipment, I can identify failure modes, to forecast the likelihood of future failures on my equipment.
Making darn sure my maintenance strategy was optimal would include;
- Using RCM Simulation I can ensure the type and frequency of tasks are at an optimal interval.
I would make sure I was fully aware of where resources were best applied. Using the Theory of Constraints (TOC) I would want to focus more resources on my bottleneck operations.
- Using Availability Simulation I can ensure the plant is capable of meeting production requirements and to identify any emerging bottlenecks
Finally, I would ensure that the strategy for reliability excellence is reflected in the financial asset investment plans over the next 5 years, so that capital and operating budgets support the optimum balance of risk and value to the business.