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Only Leaders Can Provide Successful RCM

If you don't think companies are beginning to understand what reliability can deliver to a business you haven't been looking at the help wanted ads at the SMRP or ReliabilityWeb websites. Each month companies who have heard the message are beginning to look for qualified personnel to help lead their efforts. The companies who don't get it look for silver bullets electing to pick and choose what they perceive as simple tools or methods, sending a few select employees here and there to three day training events and hoping they will return with a simple solution to correct a culture created by fifteen or twenty years of firefighting. Good and best wishes friends, it just doesn't work that way, successful reliability efforts require leaders. People who can see the big picture, develop an action plan and lead your company in developing a culture changing reliability effort.

Reliability Centered Maintenance is no different, successful RCM efforts require leadership at every level affected by the process. Without leaders the process of RCM will fail and shortly thereafter your RCM effort will fail. At Reliability Solutions, Inc. we spent years developing the RCM Blitz process, with a goal of making it something we could deliver in a week long RCM training events and mentoring sessions that would to ensure the success of all our clients. To accomplish this we understood the importance of leadership when it comes to RCM and developed the following criteria for our customers to use when selecting RCM facilitators.

Selecting Your RCM Facilitator

The people you select as your RCM facilitators will have a key role in the success of your RCM program. The RCM facilitators will have responsibilities in helping to select the equipment you choose to analyze, the depth or level or your analysis, and who will participate in the analysis. The selection of your RCM facilitators is in truth more important than the selection of what equipment or process you analyze. In making this selection you should be looking for a person who meets the following criteria:

· The RCM facilitator should be familiar with your process but, need not be process or equipment expert. Experts too often bring with them bias on how the equipment should be operated or maintained.

· The RCM facilitator will be expected to lead/facilitate a structured process, a series of questions that will lead a group to the correct level of maintenance. The facilitator should have in their career demonstrated the ability to lead some type of structured process that has lead to process or equipment improvement. Good examples are SPC techniques, setting up corrective action guidelines, critical path planning or Root Cause Analysis.

· The RCM facilitator should have demonstrated the ability to lead/facilitate a structured meeting. They will be expected to keep the RCM meetings on task and side conversations to a minimum. RCM is an in depth, structured process that can often generate off the subject discussions. The job of the facilitator is to know how and when to bring the meeting back on track to keep the RCM process going at a steady pace. The facilitator will be expected to motivate the group in many different ways, bringing out input from shy people, while at the same time controlling more dominant personalities. Leading RCM requires a person who must be confident enough in the RCM process to challenge bias of an engineer of technician.

· The RCM facilitator should have demonstrated the ability to be a leader while adhering to company values. One of the most important jobs of facilitating RCM, is knowing how to lead a group to consensus while ignoring your own bias. While facilitating RCM they will be leading a group through a series of questions, in doing this there is often the temptation to answer the questions for the group. It is important your facilitator understand and accept their role in this process is to be the expert in the RCM, while allowing the RCM team members to be the equipment experts.

· The RCM facilitator needs to have demonstrated above average computer skills. A large part of the facilitators job will be entering the analysis into a software package and preparing an analysis document. It is an expectation that your facilitator should be capable of entering this information to a software package, saving the information, and preparing a RCM document.

Other Helpful Suggestions

Open an internal job posting for your RCM position. The person who fills this position should be someone who wants the position. The person who truly wants this assignment will often work harder to ensure it succeeds than someone who was "hand picked" for a developmental assignment.

Have an existing RCM facilitator involved on your interviewing committee.

Job Requirements

Demonstrated Leadership Ability - At least a full year in a position of leadership (Group Leader, Supervisor, Team Leader)

Proven Facilitation Skills - This person has proven they a comfortable in leading meeting and group exercises.

Proven PLC Skills - Must be fully proficient at typing and working in MS Access.
Print/Drawing Reading - Must be able to read interpret electrical, mechanical, and control drawings.

Background - Reliability Engineer is most preferred, highly skilled technical background with a expert level of understanding of the skilled trades. Must have possess strong process skills (Process or Industrial Engineers) Strong people skills are a must.

While some companies are happy earning loads of money by selling three day training events all over the world, I prefer to help companies who want to be leaders in reliability. In helping our clients be successful we have become successful.

Douglas Plucknette

Doug Plucknette is the founder of Reliability Solutions, Inc., and has worked with large industrial companies worldwide, helping them improve their reliability and operational performance. He is the author of the books, “Reliability Centered Maintenance Using RCM Blitz™” and “Clean, Green and Reliable,” and has published over 60 articles. He has been a featured speaker at numerous industry conferences.

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