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Mastery of anything begins with the acquisition of a specialized language. From gourmet cooking to fly-fishing to brain surgery, each has a language. The same holds true for those who wish to master reliability leadership and asset management. Language in this case is not simply words, it also includes phrases, sentences, concepts and paragraphs. Metaphors can be powerful in helping people grasp complex topics because they use concepts and models that are already familiar.

"Mastery of anything begins with the acquisition of a specialized language"

Reliability DNA

A new visual model, called Reliability DNA, was recently introduced to enhance the adoption and understanding of the Uptime Elements – A Reliability Framework and Asset Management System.

As you know, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is an essential molecule for life. It acts like a recipe, holding the instructions that tell our bodies how to develop and function.

Likewise, Reliability DNA is essential for organizational life. It acts like a recipe, holding instructions that tell stakeholders how to develop and function.

DNA is a molecule that carries genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms and many viruses.

Similarly, Reliability DNA is a framework that carries the instructions used in the growth, development and functioning of each stakeholder in your organization.

An important property of DNA is that it can replicate or make copies of itself. Each strand of DNA in the double helix can serve as a pattern for duplicating the sequence of bases. This is critical when cells divide because each new cell needs to have an exact copy of the DNA present in the old cell.

An important property of Reliability DNA is that empowerment and engagement based on a common language and framework can serve as a pattern for duplicating the sequence of cultural adoption. This is critical when the organization expands and adds new people because each new person needs to have an exact copy of the Reliability DNA framework that is present in the existing culture.

Cells get their instructions on what to do from DNA. DNA sort of acts like a computer program. The cell is the computer or hardware and the DNA is the program or code.

In organizations, people get their instructions on what to do from the Reliability DNA. The Reliability DNA framework sort of acts like a computer program. The organizational culture is the computer and the Reliability DNA is the program or the code.

Holding the nucleotides together in DNA is a backbone made of phosphate and deoxyribose. These nucleotides are sometimes referred to as bases.

Holding the Uptime Elements together is a backbone made of integrity, authenticity, responsibility and aim, referred to as reliability leadership.

Healthy Reliability DNA includes 36 elements from five different knowledge domains:

  1. Reliability Engineering for Maintenance;
  2. Asset Condition Management;
  3. Work Execution Management;
  4. Leadership for Reliability;
  5. Asset Management.

The individual elements of Reliability DNA are:

  • criticality analysis;
  • reliability strategy development;
  • reliability engineering;
  • root cause analysis;
  • capital project management;
  • reliability-centered design;
  • asset condition information;
  • vibration analysis;
  • fluid analysis;
  • ultrasound testing;
  • infrared thermal imaging;
  • motor testing;
  • alignment and balancing;
  • nondestructive testing;
  • machinery lubrication;
  • preventive maintenance;
  • planning and scheduling;
  • operator driven reliability;
  • mro-spares management;
  • defect elimination;
  • computerized maintenance management system;
  • executive sponsorship;
  • operational excellence;
  • human capital management;
  • competency-based learning;
  • integrity;
  • reliability journey;
  • strategy and plans;
  • corporate responsibility;
  • strategic asset management plan;
  • risk management;
  • asset knowledge;
  • asset lifecycle management;
  • decision-making;
  • performance indicators;
  • continuous improvement.

Reactive DNA is generally unhealthy for organizations and results in:

  • Reactive maintenance;
  • Unexpected breakdowns;
  • Out-of-date criticality ranking;
  • Poor communication;
  • Unclear objectives;
  • Missing procedures;
  • Habit based maintenance;
  • Poor operator training;
  • Work that is disconnected from the aim;
  • Missing line of sight;
  • Missing cross-functional collaboration;
  • High turnover;
  • Lack of engagement at the front line;
  • Poor lubrication practices;
  • Unknown failure modes;
  • Predictive maintenance pretenders;
  • No defect elimination;
  • Reliability as a maintenance issue;
  • Speedy repairs are valued;
  • Failure codes not recorded;
  • Low-cost acquisition strategy;
  • No bills of materials (BOMs);
  • No job plans;
  • Executive sponsorship is missing;
  • Lack of training;
  • Separated from the diverse reliability community;
  • Integrity is missing;
  • Lack of trust.

Uptime Elements – A Reliability Framework and Asset Management System, available in English and Spanish, is used to create engaged and empowered reliability leaders at over 1,800 organizations around the world.

It is based on the deepest body of longitudinal research in the industry, conducted from 2002 to 2018, and is designed to align with a framework of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards, such as ISO55001, ISO31010, ISO14224, ISO18436 and several others. Over 600 assessments from Uptime Award nominees, who are at the top level of performance, have also contributed to the studies.

There is an active peer-to-peer community of practice that not only uses Uptime Elements – A Reliability Framework and Asset Management System, but shares results from their 3 Month Orbits (i.e., single element focused projects) with each other, resulting in accelerated learning and adoption, especially when compared to isolated reliability champion approaches most organizations attempt.

Global use of the Uptime Elements framework as the primary strategy guide is embedded in numerous companies and organizations.

  • Goodyear
  • Honda
  • Boeing
  • CBRE
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Medtronic
  • B. Braun
  • Siemens
  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)
  • DC Water
  • Jacobs
  • CH2M
  • Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD)
  • Gwinnett County Water
  • Arizona Public Service
  • Central Arizona Project
  • Metropolitan Council
  • Abbott
  • Leprino Foods
  • SDT Ultrasound Solutions
  • Ultrasound Institute
  • JLL
  • Bentley Systems
  • ARMS Reliability
  • Life Cycle Engineering
  • BNSF
  • Corbion
  • Kaiser Aluminum
  • Many more…

Recently, an Uptime Elements Black Belt program was introduced to encourage deeper, action-oriented engagement and accomplishments related to advancing reliability and asset management.

What Is in Your Organization’s DNA?

There may not be much you can do about your own DNA, but you are in full control of your organizational DNA. You can use the Uptime Elements – A Reliability Framework and Asset Management System to create a future that was not going to happen anyway.

You can use it on your own through self-study by reading the Uptime Elements Body of Knowledge or utilizing the Uptime Academy online learning management system. You also can participate through formal training by attending one of the Certified Reliability Leader Advanced Workshops. You can even join the Reliability Leadership Institute ® to engage in a peer-to-peer cohort.

The point is – get started. The reliability journey is an

individual journey and it begins with you.

Terrence O'Hanlon

Terrence O’Hanlon, CMRP, and CEO of® and Publisher for Uptime® Magazine, is an asset management leader, specializing in reliability and operational excellence. He is a popular keynote presenter and is the coauthor of the book, 10 Rights of Asset Management: Achieve Reliability, Asset Performance and Operational Excellence.

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