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Jim Vantyghem

New Position, New Journey

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It has been a while since I have posted any information and based on a new position I have acquired within the company I work for, I wanted to begin sharing ideas, experiences and solicit advice where possible and applicable.

At present, I am responsible to maintain and continuously improve the utilization of an existing CMMS system for 13 plants. This endeavor involves working with an existing software program and approximately 6 to 7 yrs. of meaningless information and what I would consider unfavorable data collection and software usage practices.

In order to move forward a massive paradigm shift in thinking is going to be required. Obviously this is going to take a lot of work and time but most certainly worth it.

I have spent a fair bit of time reviewing information on Reliability Centered Maintenance and for those of you who have done the same and continue to do so, I am sure you will be overwhelmed at times.

In short, many RCM authors say/write the same information but may use different words and this is the common thread I like to look for. After attending the CMRP course,  I found that Erik’s information spoke the most to my needs and thus I am using his site to record my current implementation efforts

Look forward to interacting with all of you and more to follow.

Have a great day.

Jim Vantyghem

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Welcome back @Jim Vantyghem and congratulations with the new role! Looking forward to reading more about your journey, the challenges and how you intend to solve them. 

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First, thank you for creating this community as a means to share information, ideas, experiences etc. I have read all of your material along with sharing it with others. In addition I have spent a bit of money on acquiring the books you have recommended as well.

I look forward, as always, to your thoughts and welcome any advice you have to offer, heaven knows I am going to need it as this new position comes with a massive amount of work. Hope you are okay with me sharing the journey and as a heads up, I try to have a method to my madness even though it may seem that some of my information seems off topic.

As a start, the information I share with all of you is of my own opinions and observations. I invite you to provide your comments, suggestions, opinions, experience, knowledge etc., as I am truly interested in your feedback.

Where to begin! First off, the challenges and opportunities I am experiencing today are basically no different than 31+ yrs ago.  I am sure that all of us have heard the statement made by Einstein regarding Insanity “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. As this statement holds a lot of truth I believe the following Einstein quote is much more powerful

We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them” We need to think at levels much higher than the problem.

Using the statement above and adding this additional statement may help us see resolves to our existing problems and open doors to new opportunities. “We cannot change what we don’t acknowledge”.

So, as part of my strategic reimplementation plan I am attempting to use realistic thinking to determine what challenges I may be up against. The following examples are some problems I am presently encountering and others that I have encountered globally regarding CMMS implementations, general maintenance and engineering activities/projects and RCM endeavors (NOTE: A good portion of these issues listed had come from a document written in the 90s and I have experienced all of them).  

As previously stated, I am curious to know if any of you have experienced any of the following road blocks / struggles yourself. Also if you have additional information to add, please share. It would be easy to elaborate on each of the following but that will take a bit more time.


  • Frequent Business focus change:

  • Fear of Change:

  • Lack of Education:

  • Lack of Resources:

  • Lack of Capital for repairs/projects:

  • Lack of defined plan:  

  • Not enough / poor quality vendor/supplier assistance:

  • Inexperienced Project managers and/or not enough expertise on the implementation team:

  • Unclear / undefined activities to be conducted by the maintenance dept. (PMs, work & material management etc.)

  • Unclear /undefined roles and responsibilities  for the setup, security and use of the CMMS system based on the defined activities conducted by the maintenance department:

  • Poor ability to manage the basics of maintenance activities:

  • Lack of executive management support

  • No buy-in and/or commitment from existing Maintenance, Engineering, Production Operations, IT, Accounting, Purchasing etc.

  • Inadequate Budget for the implementation phase:

  • Big bang implementations with unrealistic timeframes:

  • Inadequate Training:

  • Poor Communication throughout the implementation:

  • Undefined communication methods:

  • Lack of responsibility / accountability:

  • Unclear performance measures and targets:

  • No personal incentives:

  • Poorly understood consequences if the implementation stage fails:

  • CMMS system does not fit the business need:

  • Lack of seamless implementation with other business applications:

  • No formal process to resolve implementation issues:

  • Poor system design and architecture:

  • Excessive software customization requirements:

  • Poorly planned and executed data conversion from a previous system:

  • Lack of resources to operator the system:

  • Lack of the required hardware:

  • Excessive startup efforts:

  • The need for instant gratification or results:

  • Lack of enthusiasm:

  • Lack of Production Operator skills/training:

  • Culture & Morale issues:

  • Poor planning & Scheduling between maintenance and operations:

  • Lack of skilled trades employees:

  • Too many mandatory overtime hours required:

  • High employee turnover (Management, maintenance, engineering, production departments etc.):

  • Lack of respect:

  • No sense of urgency or everything is an urgency:

  • Processes adapting to people instead of people adapting to processes:

  • No RCM principles / activities in place:



The posts to follow will be geared towards the human side of my CMMS reimplementation project. Until the next post … have a great day!



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That's quite a list @Jim Vantyghem and I recognise most if not all of them... in fact, I think it's a classic list of a highly reactive maintenance organisation that has been stretched too thin. 

I was just working on recording one of the course modules from my Planning & Scheduling course where I talk about the non-monetary benefits that an efficient planning & scheduling process brings. And I think one of the most important ones is that in a more efficient working environment frustration is reduced, because people waste less of their time, and feel more productive, there are less emergencies. That eventually leads to more ownership and people being able to take pride in their work once again.  


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For the past couple of years I have been researching several documents, websites, posts, articles, podcasts, and books etc., on the topic of reliability maintenance / engineering looking for those who can provide a proven model of excellence.

So far, I am grateful to have gained a lot of new insight in the world of maintenance reliability especially from those who have shared their experiences who may not be recognized as experts or professional, but in their own way have achieved such success.

What I have been looking for is a simplified solid strategical maintenance implementation plan for the purpose or means of maintaining and continuously improving the throughput, reliability, quality and capacity of a company’s assets for the betterment of the company and the customers it serves.

To start, in the world of Neuro Linguistic Programming there is a process labelled as “Modeling”.  Here is a definition pulled from the internet.

NLP Modeling is the process of recreating excellence. We can model any human behavior by mastering the beliefs, the physiology and the specific thought processes (that is the strategies) that underlie the skill or behavior. It is about achieving an outcome by studying how someone else goes about it.

Using this theory, if an individual, group, company etc., wishes to expedite its ability to be successful, finding and modeling an already proven success plan should provide the same successful results with additional benefits as a reduction in time, energy and capital required to meet the goal.

In addition, the advantage is that all the hard work of trial and error has already been experienced and solutions provided.

Tony Robbins bested described this method using a chocolate cake analogy. I am sure you are asking yourself what does chocolate cake have to do with maintenance and it would be a good question to ask.

  • Let’s say you like chocolate cake and the best chocolate cake you have ever tasted is approximately 200 miles / 325 kilometers away from where you live in a small pastry shop owned by a master pastry chef.


  • Of course, this distance is too far to travel regularly to buy the cake, but you personally know the chef.

  • So, you decide you would like to learn how to make this chocolate cake and you ask yourself what is the best way to do this?

  • The best answer to this is to follow the chef in the kitchen and take notes to form the correct/precise recipe!

  • The chef agrees to teach you how to make this cake.

  • You meet the chef and the first ingredient that chef requires is 2 cups of flour. Now this is not just any flour, but a special type of flour that is only found is a few select stores. So you need to make a note of the special flour needed and add another note indicating where the flour can be purchased because it is a specialty item.

  • The training continues on and you continue to take notes determining how much a dash of this and a pinch of that really equates to in measurable units.

  • All of a sudden, the chef tells you that he is about to show you the secret ingredient!!!!!

  • He shows you a can of tuna fish and your reaction is WHAT????? ARE YOU CRAZY???? 

  • Who would put tuna fish into a chocolate cake, but remember this is the best chocolate cake you have ever tasted!!!!!

  • Now this is not just any tuna, it is 170 gram metal container of solid tuna packaged in oil (not water).

  • As the tuna is added, the chef continues on, the cake is baked and, of course, it tastes exactly the way you remember.

So, how does this story relate itself to maintenance, reliability, asset management etc., and what can we learn from this?

  • Like the chocolate cake, having a proven recipe or plan is paramount for success but not just a plan. We must carefully choose the plan that best meets the company’s (and/or department) needs / requirements. In addition, a plan that will provide clarity of the steps required to obtain the level of success desired and accomplished in least amount of time possible.


  • Remember every recipe has a chef (just like every orchestra has a conductor) that created and perfected the recipe in the first place. This said, what attributes does this chef, in this case project manager/leader, have that makes him/her successful … what level of education, type of education, management style, leadership qualities etc.?


  • In addition, as we cannot ignore that fact that we live with various levels of management who seemingly gravitate towards instant gratification, having a plan that can provides positive results / returns in a relatively short period of time helps maintain the morale and support needed to keep the plan moving forward.


  • NOTE: A plan does not necessarily have to be perfect but needs to provide a majority of the proven steps necessary for the success we are looking for. Having flexibility within the shell of the plan will also provide an opportunity for creativity and growth of all parties involved.


  • Recipes have specific ingredients and sequential steps that must be followed. Attempting to change, add or omit ingredients, quantities and/or any sequential steps WILL change the results.


  • To prove the above point, how many of us have experienced the effects of “Cherry Picking”. In this case cherry picking refers to reviewing tasks that need to be done and selecting only those tasks that are seemingly easy to complete and/or provide a false sense of accomplishment for individuals looking to advance their careers.

    • Production supervisors who do not follow the sequential order of a production schedule as a means to insure that their production throughput for their shift is met or exceeded risk the chance of late delivers to specific customers.


    • Maintenance staff members who only select the easily PM inspection and/or repairs to be done leaving the more difficult tasks for other staff members or shifts to do. (NOTE: This is why work must not only be strategically planned & scheduled but also well managed).  The effects of this usually leads to the very problem trying to be avoided … “Reactive Maintenance”.

  • In summary, like a recipe, a good plan will allow for some flexibility but still must follow a specific order of tasks and associated requirements. Not following the plan may provide less than desirable results. We must take the difficult with the easy and if the level of anticipated success has fallen short of the desired outcome, go back to the plan and see if anything had been missed, skipped and/or if the correct plan was put into action to begin with.


  • Thank you for sharing your information, experiences, thoughts and advice. For the company I am presently employed with I will be following up shortly with a 2020 snap shot of the status of the company's current maintenance & reliability endeavors.

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For those of you who have a LinkedIn account; Erik posted a great article that is straight forward and to the point. Not to leave out the fact that it is, in my opinion, a good representation of the reality of today’s maintenance world for a majority of our industries. Here is the link.


In alignment with Erik’s information, the issues I am facing right now are no different than when I started my industrial maintenance career in 1988.

Implementing a rewarding maintenance program aligned with RCM endeavors and supported with good, useful data is NOT DIFFICULT but for some reason it seems to be. From my view point, the reason is more of a human issue. “Getting work done is easy, getting people to do this work or to buy into the program can be the difficult part”.

As Einstein stated “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them”! … we have to think at a level higher than the problem!!!!!!

Let me be candid.

First off, I have solicited information regarding basic useful KPIs from various websites/people and for some reason this question resulted in quite a few great responses but still not a list of KPIs.

Here is what I have a hard time wrapping my head around. Are we all so different that we do not want to receive the same end results?

Are we not all interested in PM optimization, Defect Elimination, and an efficacious Planning and Scheduling System? If so, would it be fair to say that all of us would also benefit from the same type of simple KPIs to work with?

Stephen Covey has taught us to start any desired goal with the “END IN MIND”. Isn’t this the mindset that MAKES SENSE to determine what reports /KPIs we would need to support or manage our businesses better?

In addition, if we know what reports / KPIs we need does it MAKE SENSE that we would than determine what information/data input would be needed to support these reports?

If what I have stated seems logical than why am I finding so many plants and people who DO NOT know what they want, BUT will tell you what they DON’T WANT OR LIKE?

I have recently been analyzing CMMS data for 6 different plants within the corporation I work for. Here is what I am finding

  1. PM data indicating many PMs associated to, what is termed as, a floating PM system. This type of PM scheduling system may have its place but this is, in my opinion, turning a proactive system into a reactive system especially since a couple of the plants are using this PM rule for 90% of their inspections.


  2. Mindsets in place whereby people believing that a monthly PM inspection (one example) allows for a 30 day timeframe to complete the inspection prior to the next PM generated PM work order.


      1. SO, correct me if I am wrong, but would it make sense that almost all fixed scheduled PM inspection whether bi-weekly, monthly, and quarterly etc., BE COMPLETED within the first week of generation with a small buffer applied pending schedule rule? If we do not complete the inspection in the first week would this not defeat the PM scheduling Rule/period?

      2. ALMOST 90% Plus PM Inspection do not have any estimated inspection hours associated to the inspection procedure. How does this make any sense? I hear so many comments related to “WE NEED MORE MAINTENANCE STAFF” yet when I ask the question, what is the average time is spent on PM inspection daily/weekly, THE ANSWER … I DON’T KNOW!!!! … My response to this is usually an internal conversation with myself of “Seriously, are you kidding me?”

      3. Also, PM inspection procedure scheduled with generation dates / time frames based on NO STRUCTURE / ORDER. If we don’t have estimated hours associated to inspections to compare against total available maintenance labor hours, HOW ARE WE SUPPOSE TO BALANCE OUT WORK LOADS NOT TO MENTION CREATING A FOUNDATION FOR A PLANNING & SCHEDULING SYSTEM.

      4. Some the plants have 700 plus active pieces of equipment with approximately 200 active PMs. Now, not all pieces of identified equipment may require PM inspections but I would expect that each active piece of equipment would have more than 1 inspection schedule associated … such as a weekly, monthly, annual etc. Something is not making sense!

      5. In short, I would like to see more CBM type PM inspections in place but as you can tell, a culture of RCM and World Class Maintenance mindsets need to be instilled.


  3. Repair History codes structures limited and provide no structure or usable data. Just nothing in place to even remotely make effective improvements of any kind.

    1. One would think that it would be important to identify/classify a work order …. Ie PM, CM – Corrective Maintenance, BKD – Break Down or EM – Emergency Maintenance, S – Safety type work orders, PRJ – Projects etc.?

    2. Would is also make sense to create some BASIC REPAIR HISTORY via a simple data collection method? It DOES NOT have to be detailed but a simple codified program to start such as.

      1. Problem Category

      2. Problem

      3. Cause

      4. Action, Remedy or Resolve.

Now that I have vented my frustrations, I will follow up with another post as to were my project stands. Please feel free to provide your feedback!

Have a great day!


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