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A Glimpse at the Future

Editor’s note: From 1996 to 2000, the author had the privilege of doing a greenfield construction and start-up of a chemical plant in Asia. Part of the land was still being reclaimed from the ocean when he arrived. This article describes how he and the work team developed work processes to do things in the way they had always wanted to do them.


Redefining Reliability Through Lean Practices

The concept of reliability changes from business to business. No one definition is correct because reliability needs change from one business to the next. However, personnel in charge of a reliability program should have a clear answer to what reliability means to them. This article helps define what reliability means to an organization, shows where flaws can develop in the program, explains how reliability responds to evolving business needs and demonstrates how lean principles can relate to these processes.


Do No Harm: The Hippocratic Oath Applied to Reliability

The Greek physician Hippocrates (c.460 BC – c.370 BC) is credited with an oath that was meant to provide certain ethical standards a physician was to uphold. While maintenance is not of the magnitude as being a doctor, organizations would do well to apply portions of the Hippocratic oath to their maintenance practices. Two such examples are: “…to teach them this Art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or stipulation; and that by precept, lecture, and every other mode of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the Art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to disciples...” and “I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment … and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous.”1 This article focuses on the latter, “and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous,” or in 21st century vernacular: Do no harm.


The Cultural Shift That Can Save Lives

An interesting statistic reveals that 65 percent of the American population feels certain they are better at math than half the general population. While both ironic and funny, it is also quite telling of how people naturally tend to overestimate the likelihood of positive outcomes compared to less desirable results. It is simply human nature to hope for the best outcome. For the most part, there is no real harm in believing one’s math skills are better than they really are. But, when you overestimate the reliability of equipment that you count on every day to perform your various jobs, the results are not just surprising – they can be dangerous.


Do We Really Want to Be Proactive? (Part1)

As we struggle to move from reactive to proactive maintenance, maybe at some point we just need to stop and ask ourselves the basic question:

"Do we really want to be proactive in maintenance? Really? Honestly?"


REACTIVE MAINTENANCE is dealing with loss issues due to equipment malfunction that show up unexpectedly and repairs have to be done immediately, on a crisis basis, in a very inefficient, unplanned, unscheduled way.

PROACTIVE MAINTENANCE is monitoring equipment for signs of deterioration and performing the necessary repairs and adjustments, when needed, in an efficient, planned, scheduled way, before a loss issue actually happens.

Who wouldn’t want to operate in the Proactive Mode?


Using Digital Technology to Revolutionize Turnarounds

When industrial companies have to take facilities off-line for essential maintenance or upgrades, careful management of the process is key. These turnarounds, or TARs, can be complex and require meticulous planning and solid execution because delays only mean more lost production and higher costs.