Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Culture of Reliability: Some Just Do Not Get it and it is Costing Them Big

Over the last few years companies continue to make the news for poor maintenance performance. We have heard from oil and gas companies that have had safety and environmental issues due to poor maintenance practices and cruise liners who have been delayed at sea due to continual maintenance issues. Some of these companies have made the news multiple times in past years with similar issues causing continual problems. At some point one has to begin to evaluate the root causes of the problem. I have reviewed much of the publicly available data and at least in two of the cases I feel very comfortable in saying that those companies do not have an asset management or reliability culture. I am not even sure they understand the concept! This lack of organizational understanding is a latent root that allows for many of the problems that have surfaced to continue. It is costing these companies millions of dollars both for the problems that have been made public as well as the ones that have been swept under the rug.
So what do they need to do?
The first step is of course to admit you have a problem and then you can assess your current state versus the best practices and understand your problem. Once you understand the gaps you can quantify the level of performance your organization needs to be successful, the work that it will take to get there, and the return on effort you will get for making the change.
Next you will need to create a reliability vision and develop the guiding principles the organization is going to use to change the way you do business. Communication and empowerment now come into play as you share with others the goals, the rules, and the boundaries so that they can then begin to attack the focus areas and gaps. This is not easy and it will be demanding on the organization as a whole as you battle to keep the focus and the drive to be successful but in the end the reward is worth the challenge and for many of these companies this challenge may be the only way that they can survive.
Does your organization have a reliability culture? For those that don't, what is it costing you? For those that have created this new culture what are you celebrating?

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