Maintenance Perfection with Joe
It’s hard to hear someone talk about maintenance without mentioning reliability, or the other way around. While these terms are similar, they are not the same. In this episode, Joe Lonjin of Cohesive Solutions helps us get a better picture of how these two practices are different, and how to create harmony between them.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- The difference between maintenance and reliability
- Which one requires more resources
- How to make maintenance and reliability work together
- What makes the biggest difference in successful collaboration of the two practices
Definition of maintenance, reliability
More often, these two terms get lumped up as ‘maintenance and reliability’. They might even get used interchangeably, as they allude to the performance stability of assets.
However, as Joe points out, there are subtle differences. While maintenance refers to the action of restoring the functionality of assets, reliability, on the other hand, is the state at which assets their expected output at a given point. Maintenance can be seen as a verb, while reliability is the noun.
How different are they from each other?
Maintenance is different from reliability in the sense that it refers to the activity of ensuring assets are performing as required. It is an everyday corrective practice we see, for instance, the maintenance schedules around pumps, motors HVAC units, etc.
An interesting thing to note is that even with good maintenance practice, one might not be guaranteed reliability. These two concepts have to be harmonized in order to realize reliability.
Which is more common in companies?
Reliability has gained momentum in the recent past because it representsan ideal continuous state of asset performance. Even though reliability crops up in many conversations, maintenance is still the activity that happens more, simply because it has to happen.
Are they competing for resources?
Maintenance is an activity and reliability is a state. Because these approaches apply to dynamic systems and require teams, they both need resources. Currently, in many organizations, you will find these two departments split up. Technicians, supervisors, and groups on both reliability and maintenance might be interacting, but not harmonizing their activities.
Separately, these two groups might be redundant in some ways which might strain resources. However, a collaboration between them might also increase the speed and productivity of their operations.
What can be done to improve output on both reliability and maintenance?
Communicating and ensuring people understand the company’s direction is important in giving relevance to these teams. People must have a clear line of sight to what the mission and vision of the organization is.
They can then relate to how their daily work contributes to this overall goal. This cultural approach, therefore, means that both maintenance and reliability personnel can easily adapt and customize best practices to their organization.
Do we need to perfect each one to get results?
The fact that both maintenance and reliability are continuous, resource-intensive activities means they can’t be perfected. A more practical approach would be for teams to work together and set benchmarks relevant to the organization. There then has to be a clear work plan and reporting method that ensures the progress gets documented.
How to get them to work together?
Two critical aspects are communication and training.
Communicating the big picture of the company mission and vision, as well as connecting it to maintenance and reliability activities gives meaning to their work. With implementing activities under both departments, it is good practice to have a clear outline of the expectations. These can be lowering the cost of production by a certain amount, increasing uptime by a given number of hours, etc.
Communication also means transparency in what is working and what isn’t. Documenting both success and challenges paints a good accountability picture and helps other team members find ways of improvement.
Training, on the other hand, calls for teams to learn and adopt industry best practices in line with the organizational realities. Whether it’s by conducting in-house training or using online material, training resources have become more accessible thanks to the internet.
What makes the biggest difference in implementation?
Getting to a point of continuous improvement signifies harmony between reliability and maintenance teams. Both these teams would have to be involved in the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, coupled with adequate communication. With this approach, it is easier to track and document improvements or failures as they occur.
What one thing can get changed to increase success?
Culture stands out as the make-or-break determinant. People remain at the center of implementation because they are the ones realizing the organization’s mission every day.
Finding and getting the support of both formal and non-formal leaders for reliability and maintenance initiatives makes them easier to implement. The support from management is also necessary to ensure the necessary resources get allocated, and teams supported.
The major takeaway is that we still need to remain open to learning. Continuous improvement calls for keeping up with the industry best practice and finding ways to adapt those strategies to your organization.
Joe Lonjin Links:
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