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Telling it like it is: Why Doesn’t Management Give You What You Need?

• Giving you more resources means giving someone (or some department) less.
• Businesses allocate resources based on perceived value.

Flow of Resources

So what are you going to do about it? Well you only have two options (actually three if you count complaining).

Option 1: Do nothing
Option 2: Increase your perceived value

Option 1 requires no additional effort. Option 1 is the default for those who do not think strategically about their actions. Option 2 requires a fundamental change in how you decide to invest your time and money. It requires selecting the activities that will increase your value. So the question becomes

How do you select the activities that will increase your perceived value?

First, you need to understand how companies attach value. Companies value whatever enables them to make more money. They do not value you because you fix equipment, prevent failures, manage craftsmen, optimize shutdown schedules, analyze failure rates, and so on. Many of you may be thinking "What do you mean??? I am a Maintenance and Reliability professional; this is what they pay me to do. This year I (or my department) saved the company XX dollars."

Maintenance and Reliability professional is your position or function. A company expects all positions or functions to make them money. Exceeding expectations is how you increase your perceived value. Your function defines your options for helping your company make more money. Your decisions determine your perceived value to the company and whether or not you merit more resources. The best way to understand the difference is with an example.

A Fortune 500 Company had a manufacturing process that terminated in packaging lines. Like many packaging lines, these were prone to failure. In fact, these lines failed daily. It was widely believed that if only they could keep the packaging lines operating, they could make more product (and money). The company invested substantial resources in Maintenance and Reliability to improve the packaging lines. When the dust settled, do you know how much more money the business made? Zip, nada, nothing. In fact, operating profit dropped slightly; despite more reliable packaging lines. Why? Because Maintenance and Reliability had invested in a project that ultimately had no impact on production. Later analysis revealed that the packaging lines were only squeaky wheels. The true problem lay in the upstream equipment.

In this example, Maintenance and Reliability did the job right; but not the right job. No one expected them to identify the right job. They met expectations but they did not exceed expectations. Their perceived value did not change. If they had identified the right job, they could have raised their perceived value.

Doing the job right and the right job sends your business a powerful message:

Maintenance and Reliability knows how to help me make more money.

I can trust them with my precious resources.

If you want more resources, you need to prove that you understand how to help the business make more money (pick the right job). A business makes more money when it increases revenues or cuts costs (and expenses). Typically, Maintenance and Reliability only justify their activities based only on cost-savings. This is like entering a bicycle race on a unicycle. You need to show how your activities impact revenues. Maintenance and Reliability activities impact revenues when they improve the ability to consistently make on-spec product. This is obviously vital if your company is pushing for more production; but it is also important if your site currently has excess capacity. Why? Your business leaders' options for making money are limited by the site's ability to consistently make product. A facility that is always capable of making on-spec product always has more options than one that is not. More options equal a better chance of increasing profits.

Article submitted by, Carol Vesier, President of RonaMax, LLC. RonaMax offers the tools, analysis, and services needed to move reliability from the shop floor to the top floor. You can also visit to obtain other articles by Carol Vesier or information on RonaMax services, tools, clients, and successes.

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