How To Break the Vicious Circle of Reactive Maintenance?
I created and posted this meme a few weeks ago and it went viral through the LinkedIn reliability community. It was a tongue-in-cheek look at the vicious circle that keeps most plants in a fire-fighting mode. One of the people who shared the post asked ‘what comes first the chicken or the egg?’ In our case, reliability work comes first.
People or companies don’t become proactive by being reactive. In our case, we won’t avoid failures by fixing them more quickly. We need to spend time, money and effort on avoiding the failures in the first place.
Practically, that means block time for doing reliability work.
If you don’t have a budget, you’ll need to push back against fire-fighting and schedule time for reliability work within your current schedule. This is a tough scenario and you will need to spend time advocating for a budget or distancing yourself from maintenance work. If your management isn’t buying into either of those options, it might be time to start polishing up your resume.
If you have a budget, you should allow for overtime or hire additional people to work on reliability projects outside of their normal reactive maintenance time. This gives your company the expected results of the fire-fighting plus a benefit of working towards a proactive state. I hope that you work in a place like this!
Unfortunately, most of the companies we work for are caught in the vicious circle and there’s no quick solution to breaking out of it. It takes hard work and a plan. But if it was easy, it wouldn’t be reliability 🙂
Reliability Never Sleeps,