Jump to content
Test ×


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


UptimeJim last won the day on May 13 2020

UptimeJim had the most liked content!

1 Follower

Personal Information

  • Name
    James Reyes-Picknell
  • Headline
    Helping companies by telling them the truth, not what they want to hear
  • Current Position
    Principal Consultant
  • Company
    Conscious Asset
  • Industry
    Management Consulting
  • Location
    Barrie, ON, Canada
  • LinkedIn Profile

Recent Profile Visitors

440 profile views

UptimeJim's Achievements


Newbie (1/14)



  1. Greetings Raul, I'd go so far as to say they won't just struggle, they will fail without that sponsorship. Some changes, usually minor ones, are within a single manager's control. In Maintenance you might control some training budget, and how your own crews interact. For instance, you can get problems identified using Condition Monitoring to be dealt with in a timely manner by planners and field supervisors so the benefits of Condition Monitoring are realized. That's something I've noticed does not always happen, and it is within your control. But something that will cross departmental boundaries, like getting full benefits of planning and scheduling, won't happen without cooperation from production / operations and supply chain (stores). You'll need that top sponsorship for that one. Cheers, Jim
  2. Raul - great topic and should be on a "must read" list for anyone who expects to get results! Those persons need to be in that senior executive sponsorship role. Andrej makes an excellent point about that. Without support at a senior enough level, we in the M&R world can only hope to make minor process changes to those processes we actually control. Most of the rest of it, where much of the value is potentially generated, requires cross functional collaboration. In turn, that requires the executive sponsorship or it is highly unlikely to happen, at least in most organizations.
  3. Well described Raul. The failure mode must have a time or usage based distribution. In Weibull analysis it has a beta value greater than 1. The larger the value, the more strongly related to aging the failure is. As in all proactive work we are aiming to reduce the risks of failure. We do that by reducing what happens when the failure occurs (consequence mitigation) or by reducing the probability it will happen. With age related failures, where preventive measures can be effective, they actually prevent most of the failures if they are performed at an early enough time. I've seen quite a few instances where preventive replacements were used, expecting to improve performance of the assets but failing. When asked about task frequency, a number have studied their work order histories and determined MTBF, then used it as the task frequency. Big mistake! MTBF is the average age at which failure can be expected, i.e.: 50% will have failed by then, the other 50% will still be working. The task frequency needs to be quite a bit less than MTBF. If MTBF is known then you probably have enough data to perform a Weibull analysis and can determine Beta. You then have a good idea what the probability curves look like. The area under the probability density function represents is the % of failures that have occurred up to that time. If you can tolerate say, 10% failing before reaching the PM interval, then choose that time as your interval. If you do this, you will experience roughly 10% failing by the time you get to the interval you chose and 90% still running. You'll replace the 90% and restore or discard the items. It is expensive to do that and most of the items will appear to be just fine. Many trades will argue that you are throwing away good parts (and you are). The whole purpose is to reduce the risk. To make sure you aren't doing that needlessly, you need to be certain that you are dealing with an aging failure, and that it is worth the costs of discarding all those items when they are replaced. That's a simple economic calculation and it must consider the costs of downtime and any other secondary damage that might be associated with the failures if they are allowed to occur.
  4. Raul - like you I'm comparing numbers between countries. Earlier in the year I was in Australia with a client so I'm watching Australia and Canada, as well as the UK and USA. Australia and Canada had similar numbers for a while but Canada's have grown much faster. Our measures here were less strict and slower. The UK and USA - both very slow and very lax. The US doesn't even have a single health care system to speak of so they are really in rough shape. I think Boris in the UK got a lesson on "herd immunity" and fortunately for him, survived. Given the timing of the crisis, a lot of retired Canadians who winter in Florida (our "snowbirds") have returned home from one of the hardest hit areas of the USA and had to go through yet another hard hit area (NY). A number returned with the disease. We do count what's going on in our nursing homes and they have been very hard hit. Sadly they are not set up like hospitals. Isolation is a challenge for them and the workers are just not used to handling something like this. Sadly, a lot of seniors are passing away prematurely. What is good, are the various reports of nature bouncing back as human activity slows - whales off Marseilles, the Himalaya's visible from 200 km away, noticeably less pollution in China and elsewhere, fuel consumption is way down, there are few contrails in the sky (and green house gas from them is going down), wildlife is appearing in cities. Nature is telling humanity something here and we would be wise to listen. As maintainers and asset management people, we have a role to play in keeping our planet healthy. Efficient running equipment consumes less energy and helps our atmosphere. Ensuring that containment works keeps our planet's earth, water and air cleaner. Making sure our designs are functionally capable of doing the least harm is needed, perhaps more than pure myopic return-on-investment. Life is precious - we can see that as many are losing loved ones unexpectedly. Reliable assets are safer! When things ramp back up, let's make sure they do it with speed and efficiency and cleanly. We are an important part of earth's recovery and we will be (as we always have been) a part of sustaining it. Now let's do a better job!
  5. Here in Canada we have shutdown non-essential businesses, closed borders and restricted internal travel. Big gathering spots (malls, sport events) are closed. People are being asked to "stay home" and most businesses have sent people home. Social distancing is being practiced when going out (e.g.: shopping for groceries, walking for exercise, etc.). When I get out for walking the dogs or my own exercise I am seeing a lot more people gardening, walking, riding bicycles and all keeping distance. I notice more people now than when things are "normal". Our biggest growth in our cases is from nursing homes where there are large concentrations of seniors who are cared for by usually minimal staff. Deaths are mostly there right now, probably a result of having been visited by relatives a couple of weeks ago before the "stay home" practices were really being followed. The numbers of new cases is gradually flattening out now and I expect to see it drop fairly soon. People are more serious about precautions now than they were being. My office is in my home, so for day to day work, it's not much of a change, but very few clients are in their offices - for them it's a big change. Travel to their locations (which is quite normal for me) is down to zero, with a number of client business related trips deferred to later in the year. Conferences and classes are being cancelled and we are moving more to online offerings. New courses are being developed. Our old ones that were already online are being offered free right now until the end of April. If you are looking for something to do you might want to take advantage of that: https://consciousasset.com/front-page/training/online-training/ Please everyone - if you can stay isolated at home - do so. If not, then stay apart from others as best you can. Let's all help stop the spread and "flatten our curves".
  6. Greetings Raul, Senior management (i.e.: those with true P&L responsibility and strategic decision making authority) need to be made aware of the business impact of NOT acting and the costs associated with taking action. If there is truly a valid business case (and there often is), and the costs do not exceed their ability to pay (the company must have money or be able to find money to pay for it), then they will want to take action. Their next questions will be about "how to" do it. This where it pays to have some outside help. Internal resources are often inexperienced at managing changes of this nature. In many cases, they've been in one environment for a long time and haven't had to lead a change. They are managers (keep the boat steady), not change agents (rock the boat). Outsiders or new managers in the roles are often brought in with a mandate to rock the boat. In all likelihood, if the ones making the case are internal, they are in a difficult position to explain "how to". Consider that if they really knew "how to", then their bosses might ask, "why didn't you say so sooner?" or worse, "why didn't you do something about it sooner?" If the one raising the concerns is new, he has an opportunity. If it's someone who's been around awhile, then he may be fearful of making a career limiting move. This latter type is often in the way of change and is one of the reasons why the organization has a problem in the first instance. If I'm brought in by senior management (e.g.: executive branch, operations, finance types), then I often find this to be the case - the manager is part of the problem. If he can admit it to himself and get on-board, then there's some chance, but if not, he's probably not going to be around for long. Admitting one doesn't know and has now learned, is far superior to resisting change. Silos are a problem and often a hidden one. Again, outside perspectives are often needed. Silos are hidden by the very reports and KPIs meant to reveal how we are doing. Problems within a silo are usually well known within the silo, but hidden from outside view. Hiding them are reports and indicators meant to reveal problems so they can be acted upon. But by revealing problems, one risks appearing to be doing a bad job. Even if there is knowledge in-house that communications are an issue, there is usually little real knowledge of the impacts. Performance reward schemes often exacerbate the situation here. It takes a dispassionate outside perspective to look into this and highlight the flaws. It's very challenging for one who receives a bonus based on a performance measure that is flawed, to want to change it, especially if it's been good to them. I've experienced HR departments staunchly defending their reward / bonus schemes, even if they know it's not really encouraging behaviors that are desirable. They often don't have the insight into behavior at the more granular level to consider any other options, and they rarely have help from those in the other departments and areas where behaviors need to change. Silos produce reports - often looking good inside, but hiding what's really doing on inside. One thing that many senior managers know exists, but struggle to see clearly, is the obfuscation of truth in what is being reported to them. Reports and KPIs often show a somewhat sanitized view and since they are allegedly based on data, they become believable (or at least provide for plausible deniability). Data is often flawed though and anything based on what's in databases that is not truly fit for purpose, will be likewise flawed. Again, it's often not in the best interest of many managers to point this out. Imagine telling your boss, "here's your report, oh and by the way, I'm pretty sure it's fictionally based on what we have in our flawed data base". Reports might be one manager's responsibility, data storage another's, data input yet another's. Everyone owns it, therefore no one really owns it. I'm all for making evidence based decisions, but the data better be rock solid - and sadly, it usually isn't. I could go on about this one. Bottom line - unless you are brand new, have a mandate to rock the boat, have the cross-functional experience to see through all the elaborate smoke-screens, then get some help. I hope I've answered your question.
  7. A challenge that must be solved. I have a passion for teaching and solving problems. The former is often required as a part of the latter. Anytime I share some information I feel good. It's gratifying to be recognized for what I do, but more importantly, it's fulfilling to help others.
  8. Raul, it is indeed key for senior management to "get it" and, if they want results, to support the effort actively. It will be important to bridge the silos and collaborate - something that many companies are not all that good at (although they'd probably argue that they are). I've done a lot of work with senior management teams and leaders who want change and a lot more with managers (e.g.: Mtc Mgr) who also want change. The former can achieve it, the latter might, but not without a lot of struggle. Lately I've been helping maintenance managers get the right messaging to the right ears. Once we get the financial and operational leaders on board - it's pretty much a done deal. I've recently written a book aimed at those senior non-maintenance / non-technical managers to explain the value that we can add and how. It's near ready to publish and I'm hopeful that when it is on the street, it starts helping to get the message across so we can all make our operations more productive and more safe.
  9. Raul said, "Finding companies/plants that work in a run to failure culture is definitely not a hard task and I am pretty sure that we all have gone through this situation before at least once." I'd go much further than to say it's not a hard task. It's downright easy to find them. As trainer and adviser who is often asked to help with cost reduction or to improve availability, it is that "break then fix" culture that I am frequently confronted with. To me it's endemic and it's usually a systemic problem as described by Ramesh. We do reward the wrong behavior and then enhance it by allowing those who don't really know how to get out of it, or even care about getting out of it, to run the circus. Of course, when confronted with a solution which isn't going to be easy to implement, they end up changing nothing and living with the status quo. Every case is a bit different, but there are some similarities. If the situation described has persisted, and there is a maintenance manager who has been there for a while, then we have an ineffective manager who tolerates it all and fails to lead change. He may not really be strategically minded enough to see what's really going on or perhaps he cannot communicate the consequences of it effectively to his superiors at senior management and executive levels. Maybe he does all that but they don't listen. There's no shortage of incompetent managers in all disciplines either. The smartest that I usually encounter tend to be either enlightened operations or financial folks. Once they understand what is going on, they become allies in solving the problem. Things do need to explained to them in terms they grasp. Our typically technical jargon laden talk with no apparent connection to output and costs and profits is not going to cut it. How many of us truly understand what we need to do to increase return on assets? Hint to engineers: project ROI doesn't cut it. Hint to production: meeting your shift quota at the expense of the next shift doesn't cut it. Hint to maintenance: fixing it when it breaks doesn't cut it. The problem is more complex than a single fix. Rewards can work if they are crafted well, but that crafting is no small or simple task. You must reward for the behavior you want. To begin with, you need to know what behavior (in all disciplines) will lead to the objectives you set (usually profitability). Overtime - not a reward, usually an entitlement. Cut it as your peril, unless you replace it with something else - increased wages for normal time, and let them have more time with family, etc. What keeps most of us from speeding? Traffic tickets, points off our license and increased insurance premiums. The 15 or 30 minutes of downtime while the cop writes out the ticket isn't much of a penalty, so there's more to it than that. Downtime on a production line is like waiting for the copy. So let's give our production managers speeding tickets. If every hour of overtime worked by maintenance were treated as an hour of lost production (e.g.: 1 hour overtime = 1 hour's worth of output that is subtracted from the actual total), and the production managers held accountable for it, they'd be less keen to achieve short-sighted shift targets. Imagine the impact of a 3 hour delay in production while 3 maintainers scramble for parts. That's 9 hours of production loss (on paper) for a 3 hour outage. Their quota's won't be met and they'll need to find ways to avoid the overtime. Oh, and by the way, running the plant to destruction in one shift then fixing it on the next supervisor's shift won't work - measure this on a monthly basis and reward all production supervisors and managers equally. Hold maintenance and production and stores managers all equally responsible for availability. None of them gets a bonus unless they all achieve it together. Likewise, hold the three of them responsible for inventory turns and stock-outs, and for production output over a longer period (say a month), rather than shift by shift. They may not all know what to do to achieve all of those on their own, but together, they can. Want proactive behavior? Reward for PM's achieved on time (to the day first scheduled), not just within the month or week. Missed PMs = missed bonus for both production and maintenance managers as well as their supervisors. If they find the PMs aren't "working", then they can get some help from those who can identify why and fix it. There are plenty of us out there. Of course that's not easily done and it requires shifts in how people are compensated and in how senior management chooses to lead. HR and Finance will need to think about rewards and they'll need help from those who understand maintenance, supply chain and production to get the mix right. Profit sharing and gain sharing on a wide-spread basis are entitlements, not rewards. In most cases the workers have no influence or control over profitability - market prices and overall operating costs dictate that. At best they influence tiny amounts around the fringes. There is much that can be said and done about this one. It requires some real fortitude to tackle it though. Let me ask you all a question: Does the leadership in your company have what it takes to implement such a sweeping change to compensation, reward and measurement regime to actually get what they say they want?
  10. I like the use of "metric" as opposed to KPI. Regarding availability of "tailors" - few have them in-house, but everyone has access. Jim
  11. Andrej - I agree with the fewer is better premise and that the set of KPIs used will mature with the organization. I believe it is key to really think through what information those KPIs can provide and how it might be interpreted or misinterpreted. The example of misusing MTBF (above) is a case in point. I've seen "downtime" used in a way that drove massive investments in spares that were simply not needed. I've seen availability (in its various forms) used to mislead general management into thinking things were just fine, when in fact, they were not. We can choose from among many KPIs that we can measure, but it's the consequences of using them that we want to understand. They can and sometimes do drive behaviors - we want to make sure that they drive the right behaviors. Unlike an error signal in a control system that is used to adjust an actuator - the human "actuator" also has the ability to make choices. The results are not always so easily predictable. We need to consider not only what we are measuring (error signal) and what we want to encourage (control adjustment), but also what the organization (human actuator) is likely to interpret as intent (e.g.: can this get me in trouble?) and therefore produce a response that may or may not match the desired outcome. More information can produce better outcomes to a degree, but it can also lead to confusion. Each KPIs represents an observation on something that is / is not happening. What we want to address are the underlying causes if those trends are unfavorable. Single data points rarely convey the whole story. Too many data points don't inform, they distract. What is important in or to one organization, may not be important in another. What helps one, may harm another. KPIs are sort of clothing - a tailored suit will fit better, at least until the wearer changes shape. One size does not fit all and certainly won't fit all over time. Thoughtful, experienced tailors who can tune into the organization's culture are needed.
  12. Greetings, The situation of a production manager challenging data validity because his experience doesn't match the number he sees on the monitor is quite common. Firstly, the use of MTBF as a form of performance measure is probably not wise - it's useful (with other parameters) in reliability work but rather meaningless on its own, particularly as an indicator of production performance. Secondly, the concept of "mean" is not well understood. Mean, is but one parameter used in a continuous distribution function to describe failure experience. Using it alone is akin to describing a person as having a given height and nothing else. KPIs need to be carefully selected with thought given to what they can / can not tell you and how that information is meaningful. Jim
  13. I've done a lot of reliability work as have a number of my colleagues. MTBF is one of the parameters needed to do proper analysis (e.g.: Weibull) so it's a valuable piece of information. Of course knowing whether the failure is age / usage related, random or infant mortality is also very important in making decisions about failure management approaches. Unless we run our own "studies" to capture data that we can rely on, most of us will rely on data captured in the CMMS/EAM. All too often that data is not fit for purpose, at least not without a considerable amount of effort to scrub it clean. Aside from incomplete / missing records of failure events, we must determine whether or not the WO that comprises any given CMMS/EAM "record" was done to correct a failure or for some other reason. We are interested only in those events where a failure actually occurred, or clearly would have occurred in a very short time had intervention not been carried out. If we simply count up number of times an asset was worked on we will probably include PMs performed, proactive preventive change outs (which are usually done well before failure), repairs in response to false alarms, etc. In speaking with colleagues both in the field and in academia, the quality of data available for reliability purposes is usually very low. Taking that just a bit further, we get into that situation because we don't set our CMMS/EAM systems up to capture data that is useful to reliability. Many of those systems aren't even capable of doing it very well. Programmers are not engineers and most engineers are not reliability engineers (or even reliability conscious). What are your chances of finding a CMMS/EAM that is actually designed with reliability in mind?
  14. My first CMMS was a home grown system called, "Dynamic Equipment Information Systems" (DEIS) at the PetroChemical complex where I worked as a maintenance engineer. It was a very basic work order system that provided job plan details, parts lists and history. Each job was recorded in text fields and all the history was printed with any work order. The thickness of the work order print out was an indicator of troublesome equipment, or a long BOM. Our refinery (next door) was using a paper based system. Both worked well for work management and since discipline of recording what was found wrong and corrected was actually pretty good, both systems had fairly useful information for reliability purposes. I put that down to the discipline our craftsmen had and the attention that we paid to what they wrote. My consulting days began some 7 years later, when CMMS were still largely replacing paper based systems. They were more complex and feature rich and even handled spares inventory. Some handled automated buying and other functions. However, our customers seemed to be struggling far more than I did with getting good information to make reliability decisions. I've probably seen hundreds of different systems, some easy to use, some that were user hostile, some with very basic functionality working very well and some that were feature and functionally rich but under-utilized. I've only seen one or two that I thought were bad for the job they had to do in the customer's working environment. Most work well but most are also poorly implemented, poorly (or not) supported, operated by poorly trained or untrained maintainers, and incapable of generating needed reports without extra programming, extra software bolted on or a lot of effort manipulating data on spreadsheets. Most customers today are more "data distracted" than "informed". Their CMMS' add cost but little real value. I do not blame the software (in most cases). The problems usually arise from poor implementation, poorly thought out business processes (automating the old and not taking advantage of new functionality), poor fit of functionality to requirements, poorly stated requirements (e.g.: focused on technical specs rather than functionality), lack of training, no training, training by the person sitting next to you (learning others' bad habits), rushed implementations (out of budget, time), etc. In some cases the systems are far too complex for maintenance and reliability purposes. The systems available are not well designed to give basic failure and proactive maintenance related history information (e.g.: did it fail? what was failed? what was the failure mode? can you identify the cause of the failure? if it hadn't yet failed, would it have failed soon? was the job a result of some PdM finding? etc.). Designers of these systems are not reliability engineers so the data being gathered doesn't answer the questions that need to be asked. All too often the data being gathered does not provide information that is fit for purpose. In "our world" of maintainers too few really understand failure modes and failure management strategies. Although we are supposed to deliver "reliability" we focus on "maintenance". Arguably we have the emphasis in the wrong area - the means, not the ends. We don't use RCM as much as we probably should. We've failed to inform the programmers who design these systems of what we really need (many of us really couldn't define it well anyway) and for the most part the programmers don't know what they don't know. The end result is a myriad of systems with a lot of unused functionality, little of which (used or unused) actually helps us to improve reliability and reduce unwanted breakdowns that in most cases (by far) could have been foreseen.
  15. Raul - I believe that having contracts for parts supply is a good idea, regardless of when executed. For fast moving parts that should be easy to set up as the supplier will have a more or less guaranteed income. For slower moving items it could be challenging - how does the supplier get compensated for effectively storing items on behalf of the company that may or may not use them? For items that may never be used, the problem becomes even more complex. Those latter items are "insurance spares" in every sense of the words. As for tacking the maintenance planning - it also must be done and sooner rather than later if the company is to benefit fully. However, recognize that planning alone isn't enough. Planners and stores-persons are in most cases not equipped to handle risk based determination of spares requirements. They will need some help, perhaps a tool that performs such calculations, to achieve that. I disagree with Wirza's third point about using the technical manual as a starting point for initial sparing. Manufacturer's manuals are often flawed in their maintenance recommendations. Getting into that is a whole different topic. The manufacturer knows what the asset can do, but not what it will be asked to do. The best place to start is with a work forecast based on RCM results, not manufacturer's forecasts. Where asset availability is being constrained by parts unavailability, regardless the cause, and the unavailability is causing substantial loss of revenues, then I would suggest that attempts to reduce stores are only going to make the matter worse. The cost of holding spares, until such time as plant reliability can be improved and spares requirements forecast more accurately, is very likely less (even much less considering that most of it is already a sunk cost), than the cost of lost revenues.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and use of We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..