Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Five Reasons Your Benchmarking Survey Might Suck

That's right your benchmarking efforts might not be worth the time it takes to populate the survey. I know it hurts to hear it but it is all too common. You may even be shocked but, I see surveys all the time where the data and comparisons are nearly useless except to draw the most basic of conclusions. Below are five reasons they miss the mark and next week I will share five areas your surveys should focus on to be most effective. 

  1. Companies and organizations exchange numbers with no context for the data and the result sucks. Are the sites even truly comparable? I do not believe that we are all different in fact there is a blog on that subject here but I do think that certain key differences are important enough to note and communicate in the survey. For instance, you would not compare the Overall Equipment Effectiveness or OEE from a continuous process chemical plant with a batch process specialty paint plant. They are both in the chemical arena but they would have significantly different OEE numbers. So comparing by industry alone is not always a good idea without more information.
  2. Companies and organizations exchange numbers with no standards for calculation and the results suck. If you try to compare two metrics that are calculated using different data or a different equation you can not draw meaningful conclusions. Sticking with the OEE example, if you have one site that includes preventive maintenance down time and another that does not then their is no comparison in the metric.  If you are an SMRP member you can gain access to their metric standards for calculation of many of the common metrics and improve your comparisons validity.
  3. Benchmarking studies that do not look at processes and practices just metrics might suck. While metrics are important we have to look at processes and practices. If all we do is compare numbers without looking at the systems and processes that generate those numbers then I believe it is very hard to identify the best practices that can get you to a new level of performance. Many times you can learn more by walking around and talking to staff than could ever be gained from a metrics survey. All I am saying here is you need to do both.
  4. Benchmarking sample comparison is not representative of the best practices that exist so sites have a false sense of security and that sucks. Many organization only want to look at surveys and practices from their industry or niche. Over the years I have seen a couple of industries in particular that love to do this. The problem is while they were comparing themselves against their "peers" other industries have passed them by elevating the best practices.  They are now left to be the best in a sorry lot.  Study other organizations and other vertical's metrics and practices to see how you compare with the best in the world not just the best in your vertical.
  5. Metrics in the study are not targeted to the problems or situations you face at your site therefor they provide little actionable information and you guessed it... it can sucks. Sometimes the benchmarking survey leads people to believe that those metrics in the survey are all they should focus on when in reality the metrics that they really should be focused on are entirely different. The metrics you focus on are the ones that drive the behavioral change that you need. If you change the behaviors then the other metrics will improve on their own. For instance, if you are having trouble getting failure history for FRACAS and that is the behavior you are trying to change then that is what you should measure and focus on but you will be hard pressed to find work order failure code completion percentages on a benchmarking study.
In the end these are not hard and fast rules but they are things to think about when choosing to participate in a benchmarking study of your site. I'm off to benchmark my blog against others on the internet but until next week I wish you reliability now.

Friday, August 16, 2013

It’s Not Like I’m Speaking Chinese Here! 5 steps to "deglaze" your audience

When you are communicating with your team or organization do you ever feel like you are speaking a language they don’t understand? Do they look more glazed over than a box of Krispy Kremes? Yea, me neither.
Is it all the acronyms we used… maybe?
Is it the latest business buzzwords that we tossed in… possibly?
But more than likely it’s that we forgot to answer the most important question of all first?
This question is the “deglazer” if you will. It allows them to relate and then process and use all the information that you follow with. What is that question you ask? Well it is...
How does your subject affect them? Or said differently, what is in it for them if they comply or follow along versus ignoring and remaining with the status quo?
So many times I listen to leaders as they discuss new initiatives and they share great plans for big changes. Unfortunately the audience cannot hear them because they are listening to their inner voice speculate on how this is going wreck their life. Very few leaders can talk louder than the inner voice of the audience but if that leader answers the question for the inner voice sometimes the voice can be kept quite long enough to allow the listener to grasp more of the key points of your message.This is one of the reasons we must communicate key changes multiple times and with multiple medias. This is also why we focus on two way communication to check for understanding after the topic is communicated.
So to recap 5 steps to "deglaze" your audience and speak over the inner voice:
1. Address what is in it for them
2. Address how it affects them
3. Communicate the message multiple times
4. Use multiple medias
5. Use two way communication to check for understanding
Are you communicating over the inner voice of your audience?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Four -isms That Might Be Killing Your Reliability

Lets talk today about the four -isms that may be running around in your plant and limiting your ability to improve up-time, quality and reliability.  The first step is to recognize that they exist and then we can determine a plan to mitigate or eliminate it. Below I have given you the four as well as a sound bite and possible mitigation strategies. It is best if you can prevent them from rearing their ugly heads through good risk and communication planning but today we will look at a reactive response.

Negativism: The disposition to project the worst case scenario.
Sounds like: "This CMMS is horrible it takes 16 screen to do what I could do in one in the old system."
Mitigation: Focus on the positive and don't let meeting become bashing sessions. Celebrate the little successes or steps from your project plans.

Criticism: The disposition to be preoccupied with incomplete or imperfect.
Sounds like: "This new process is not good enough to roll out. Let's continue to work on it."
Mitigation: Create a pilot area where it is OK to fail and trial the processes there with a mind for continuous improvement. These safe zones clear the way and the fear of failure and allow for progress not paralysis.

Skepticism: The disposition to always question but never commit.
Sounds like: "I'm not sure we have enough data to show that this will work. Let's collect more.or That will never work here. We are too different. "
Mitigation: Show case studies from similar sites that have succeeded. We call them "real world examples" in our training. Visit sites or invite sites to visit you once they have had success. Let you negative folks mix with their positive ones.

Cynicism: The disposition to view every human enterprise as selfishly motivated.
Sounds like: "Maintenance just wants us to do autonomous maintenance so we can do their work for them"
Mitigation: Communicate fully the intent of the initiative and how it affects each individual. Cynicism loves to attack the ill informed.

What are you doing in your site to address the -isms?

Friday, August 2, 2013 Five Ways to Improve Plant Reliability with the In... Five Ways to Improve Plant Reliability with the Internet: Many of us are becoming more and more dependent on the internet to manage many parts of our lives, however some of our reliability peers are not there yet. Click on the link above to see the full post but in the mean time here are ten ways to use the internet to increase your reliability right now.
Here they are in no certain order:

1     For RCA preparation prior to getting the team together, I would pull equipment documentation and    any history available via Google.
2     Search bulletin boards and user group pages for common equipment failures using Google. Verify these are part of your equipment maintenance plan.
3     Locate spare parts for obsolete equipment via eBay and Google
      Locate new lower cost vendors and service centers for existing parts via Google
      Identifying physical defects with picture of similar failure from Google images
      Find equipment vendors websites via Google… it is not always so obvious.
      Read about additional vendor, equipment, part or product characteristics information on Wikipedia
      Follow your common vendors on Twitter to be in the loop with most recent product releases and updates
      Read the blogs of people interested in the same topics or that deal with the same issues you face.
        Read the various trade publication websites for articles that target the problems you are facing.