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The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

We live in a digital age now. Babies are playing with tablets and smartphones instead of dolls and building blocks. Technology is making us change big time. It is changing our lives, but there are some things it will not change. They are the fundamentals. We are re-branding them and giving them different names, but the basic principles did not change.

Let's take preventive maintenance (PM) as an example. We invented or learned the hard way back in the 1960s that we need to check or inspect the machinery and fix it accordingly so it does not fail. Technology is helping us do that more efficiently, but the basic principles remain the same. But the question is: Are all of us doing PM? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Many companies still live in a REACTIVE, run to failure mode.

Let's take another example, planning and scheduling. We started planning the tasks and scheduling them to eliminate waiting time - waste - inefficiencies over 40 to 50 years ago. Do we do planning and scheduling in a proper way? Again, the answer is no. Many organizations are still struggling to implement planning and scheduling. They may have a planner in namesake only, since what he or she does is just scheduling.

I wrote and presented this paper almost 30 years ago. I accidentally found it and was surprised to read that we are still struggling to implement some of the things I talked about in the paper. We still don't understand basic fundamentals. We have a long way to go.


Notice the similarity between Figure 3 on optimized maintenance (from the paper, “Optimization of Maintenance” by Ramesh Gulati, 1988) and Institute of Asset Management (IAM) Anatomy 2014 Figure 3 on optimized asset management.

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Ramesh Gulati

Ramesh Gulati, CRL, CMRP, CRE, is an Asset Management & Reliability Leader with Jacobs. He is an author, change agent, teacher and also known as a “Reliability Sherpa.” He is a frequent speaker at many maintenance, reliability and asset management events and has been involved  in supporting societies and standards organizations.

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