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Uptime Alchemy: Developing Compounds to Implement Sustainable Change

In many ways, reliability improvement efforts feel like chemistry to those within the maintenance and operations organizations without formalized training in all the elements that make up the asset management domain. People tend to shy away from unfamiliarity and can tune out if changes seem complicated.

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 The Uptime Elements (see chart above) and the Association for Maintenance Professionals Certified Reliability Leader (CRL) body of knowledge provide an understanding of each element contained within the asset management domain and serve as a guide to develop leaders within an organization. Encouraging the entire organization to attain the reliability leader certification can provide widespread awareness and empower the organization through knowledge and a common language. The more CRLs that are developed within an organization and the more widespread this awareness is, the more likely changes will be understood, embraced and sustained.

So how does becoming an Uptime alchemist help you achieve your maintenance reliability goals for 2014? As leaders, we can use the Uptime Elements periodic table to evaluate all the necessary elements to create improvement compounds aligned with our business goals. Visually recognizing the related elements and connecting them ensures that the elements necessary for success in our improvement compound are included. In addition, it takes the 29 elements and focuses your organization on the compound comprised of fewer elements, reducing the stress associated with too broad an approach. These compounds give you a visualized grouping of elements to enable a sustainable reaction, as opposed to a short-lived explosion.

To illustrate, let’s look at some improvement efforts that typically end up as failed experiments. What happens when you implement precision maintenance without providing competency-based learning? BOOM!! What if you are looking to increase maintenance efficiency by installing a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) without a planning and scheduling process? BOOM!! How about predictive maintenance program development without removing preventive maintenance (PM) tasks that address duplicate failure modes… BOOM!! Each of the above compounds ends with a not so desirable outcome and is seen as a failed experiment. These failed experiments result in a negative perception of leadership and a lack of enthusiasm for future efforts. This can cripple your reliability improvement efforts.

Utilizing the visual capabilities of the Uptime Elements periodic table and information contained within the body of knowledge, you can identify the elements necessary to create a successful compound. Let’s look at some examples which, of course, can be modified to meet your organization’s goals and current state of maturity.

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See figure 1
Company Goal = Meet customer demand
2014 Maintenance Goal = Increased uptime on critical assets
Compound = CaRePmoDeRca

As each organization is different and on different levels of the reliability continuum, these elements can be modified to suit your needs. If you have already executed a criticality assessment, that element drops out, but perhaps you add operator driven reliability or reliability engineering and create a different compound for your 2014 goals. Let’s look at another example.

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See figure 2
Company Goal = Reduced cost to produce
2014 Maintenance Goal = Right first time maintenance
Compound = CblPsMroInt

Again, if you have a sound maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) process, you can eliminate that element or replace it with another element in alignment with your goals. Avoid elements in your compound that are not directly related to your goals to avoid confusion. For instance, it would probably not be in your best interest to replace Mro with Cp in the above example. While capital project management is important, it is not directly related to the 2014 goal and would distract focus. Additionally, you want to be sure you don’t jump to higher functioning elements if the base elements are not in place. The objective is to match elements to your organization’s 2014 goals and current maturity status to create a sustainable compound in a compartmentalized view of expectations.

This approach provides a visual representation on a common platform of understanding that empowers leadership throughout the organization through familiarity and knowledge.

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