Focal Point Management, getting back to basics.
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From The Desk Of…….

Basics and Fundamentals:

    As I assist companies with asset maintenance and reliability challenges. I often find myself wondering how they find themselves in the positions they are in. Over the years, equipment, machinery and structures have grown increasingly complex, requiring a host of personnel, vocations and related systems needed to maintain them.[1] Prior to 2006, the United States spent approximately US$300 billion annually on plant maintenance and operations alone. I am sure that we can agree that the role of maintenance is to insure that an asset is fit for a purpose, ensuring maximum availability at minimum costs.

    With the technologies available along with the vast number of practices in use, why are we struggling with asset reliability? We employ CMMS. We utilize planning and scheduling. We budget for training; we have a reliability department, employ FMEA studies. Bring in asset experts (contractors) when needed. But yet, in the end, assets are failing; we lack the required spare parts but find that stores are overstocked. We are excessively spending on manpower relating to overtime. Management becomes more and more demanding. We find ourselves doing more with less. Production becomes defensive and the maintenance department gets hit with the brunt of it all. Why is this? What can we do? We are all frustrated. A question I ask is, as a reader of this blog, does any or the entire above sound familiar?

    Believe it or not, there is a solution and the solution is not difficult in itself. It is simply getting back to basics, the fundamentals. Fundamentals are critical. They require disciplined focus. Without fundamentals, the results of our efforts are limited overtime. In some cases, our efforts are for naught all together. Over time, people come and go. Assets are enhanced or replaced. Facilities expand. As this occurs, we employ CMMS, establish planning and scheduling, budgets expand and shrink. We employ a number of practices. But…..we allow ourselves to forget the basics and ignore the fundamentals as we move forward. This in itself is compared to building a house with a weak or worse yet, no foundation.

    I cannot stress enough that as I work with companies, it is the basics and fundamentals that are seriously lacking. Even when pointed out, these do not want to be heard. Instead of taking a pause to examine what is being brought to the table, we stay the course keeping in mind with what ever the task is, this will move us forward. Some call it the “flavor of the day.” We wear our rose colored glasses, focus on the initiative and in the end, become further distant from what is really needed. Even if we employ technologies and establish lubrication routes for example, are we addressing the required fundamentals the asset requires or just part of?


      Premature bearing failure due to the basics and fundamentals being ignored

        I encourage you to take a moment, think about basics and fundamentals as it relates to the challenge or challenges you are facing. It does not matter if it is that your CMMS is not where it needs to be, stock level in stores is frustrating or assets are not to the point of reliability that they need to be. Each has their own unique set of requirements relating to basics and fundamentals.

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