Here’s a case where they didn’t know how to keep the boss out of jail! In Jan 2019, a mine tailing dam (the structure used to contain waste from mining operations) collapsed. The video below shows the event. 259 people were confirmed dead and 11 declared missing. Cause – liquefaction – a commonly occurring phenomenon, and one that this particular mine had been warned about. Outcome – fatalities and associated human cost, suspended operations (for a brief period), company reputation, criminal charges (executives and engineering consultants). Risk management is an often neglected part of our job. Read more “How to keep the boss out of jail”
Do you really need an assessment? Will it help, or will it create problems?
Conventional consulting approaches begin with detailed assessments to determine your current state of affairs, judge what’s good and bad about it, give it a score, provide a long list of recommendations and then build an improvement strategy based on the outcome. A typical assessment can take up to a couple of weeks plus report generation time. Does it really add the value you might expect? Read more “Do you really need an assessment?”
Entropy and maintenance are more related than you might think. What happens in maintenance and many operations can be explained with this simple thermodynamic concept. Entropy is a concept that represents chaos and degradation. It occurs naturally in any physical system and will naturally grow (i.e.: the system will become more chaotic) if we don’t do something to arrest its growth. Doing something requires the expenditure of energy, so energy is what counters entropy. Read more “Entropy and Maintenance – Part 3”
Business processes are often talked about, yet not well understood. The big problem with them is that too few people know what the whole process actually should be. Whenever you are following a set of steps to achieve some goal you are following a process. Sometimes various people follow different steps to achieve the same goal. You rely on processes in order to deliver results. If they are ill-conceived or inefficient, then things move slowly and results are more expensive to obtain than they need to be. Well designed, efficient, and consistent processes that integrate with other related business processes keep things running smoothly, costs down, and help to keep people motivated.
There’s an old saying that, “two heads are better than one”. Teamwork has been proven time and again to produce superior results. It is the basis for many successful methods like RCM-R, PMR/O, RCFA, Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) and various quality improvement programs like Six Sigma. The various methods that help us while Choosing Excellence depend on a foundation of teamwork. Beyond facilitated teamwork, self-organized teams are even more effective. Read more “Uptime Insights – 9 – Teamwork for results”
All organizations are made up of individuals. Invariably they reflect each other – the organization reflects the choices of its people, and vice versa. For any organization to thrive and achieve, so too must its people. Without them you’re dead.
When you choose excellence you are choosing to make changes – excellence is a journey, not a destination and you don’t know all the twists and turns that will appear. Leading change will be critical to your success. Managing implies that all will remain steady. With excellence however, you need to lead. The change and leading it must become an integral part of all you do. Read more “Uptime Insights – 2 – People and teamwork”
Reliable operations are far less expensive to maintain and operate and they produce more consistently. Yet most industrial operations are far from achieving high reliability. Getting there will require effort and that effort goes well beyond the maintenance department alone. They will need to change from reactive, break it then fix it thinking and un-informed cost-cutting measures that undermine reliability. They will need leadership, not management. Read more “Uptime Insights – 1 – Improvement Strategy”
Entropy and economics, like entropy and maintenance, are related. In part 1 there is a simple 3 legged stool model: design, maintenance, and operations being it’s 3 legs. It can deliver high performance at low cost and risk – i.e.: high productivity. It is important to keep the legs balanced and indeed intact! Doing so requires a bit of investment. In thermodynamic terms, we need to put some energy into the system to keep the entropy from growing. That energy is an investment in maintenance and the payoff comes in the form of steady, predictable revenues with a high margin for profit. Those words should be music to accountants’ ears. Read more “Entropy and Economics – Part 2”
Entropy fundamentals for more Uptime can help us understand maintenance and reliability a little bit better. Reliability requires good execution of the right maintenance (energy), otherwise we will see reactive maintenance (entropy and chaos) increase. Engineers are familiar with the concept of “entropy” and the laws of thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics states that the total entropy of an isolated system always increases over time. It can remain constant in ideal cases where the system is at a steady-state or undergoing a reversible process. So what does that mean for us in the world of asset management and maintenance? Read more “Entropy Fundamentals for more Uptime – Part 1”
These days most of us are used to instant gratification – we want it now and we want it cheap! When it comes to information, entertainment, finding your way around, and communications we more or less have it all at our fingertips. It’s also available to us just about anywhere. We can even order and pay for coffee to pick up on our way from the commuter train to the office – no line ups for delays. We can book houses, rooms, hotels, airlines, vacations, and rental cars at the touch of our fingers with apps that show us the cheapest options. Read more “We want it now and we want it cheap”