If you can’t sell all you can produce, then reducing costs is often the only way to improve margins, but that simplistic accounting perspective is not always the case. Cost control is often thought to be key to attaining profitability but it the case of maintenance it can get you into trouble. Cost control can have a big opportunity cost if you don’t take advantage of the opportunities you have. Consider that what you might really want is greater value – more for less, no just less. Read more “Trick question: Do you want value or low costs?”
This article first appeared in PEM magazine, April / May 2014. PEM is now incorporated into MRO Magazine. I’ve updated it with the benefit of another 5 years experience dealing with this very problem.
In my client work I find myself helping many companies who have tried, yet failed to improve their performance in maintenance and reliability. For those that are making their second (or more) attempt there are many reasons for the failures, some technical, may related to company culture and, almost always, things were done on the cheap and rushed. Read more “Silver bullets can backfire!”
In 2014, at an IMEC conference organized by the University of Toronto, Art Rice of Maintenance Technology Magazine said that in many cases “Lean is a form of Anorexia”. He was right then, and he is still right today.
When I heard him, I realized that in many cases where I’ve seen attempts at “lean manufacturing” the lean really means “understaffed”. In those cases some of the lean manufacturing tools have been implemented, often with the help of outside expert help but lean results haven’t occurred. The introduction of “lean” in those companies was yet another attempt to cut costs without any deep thought as to what caused the high costs before introducing “lean”. Read more “Lean or Industrial Anorexia”
Organizations and Culture
Some organizations are poor or marginal performers, some high, and some truly great. Jim Collins, in “Good to Great” (2001) describes the differences among the latter two. Much of the difference boils down to people and the culture that is fostered within the organization. They foster learning in all forms, including learning from mistakes. They are typically “humble” and accept helpful input from outside, admitting when and where they need to improve. Read more “Corporate counter-dependency”
In my book, Uptime, I talk about doing a review or assessment to determine your current state as compared with your vision of some desired future state. This suggests to many that a formal assessment is needed. However, you might also notice that I removed the Appendix containing sample assessment questions. Here’s why… Read more “Teach and ask, don’t observe and judge. Maintenance assessments – do they really help”
3 Minute Read. Educational institutions realize that we all learn differently and combinations of learning styles will reach most of us. Some of us learn by seeing (reading), some by doing (tactile), some by hearing (aural). Most of us have a bit of each of these and rarely only one is enough. In college and university there is reading as well as assignment and lab work. We need both, so, how do we learn once we leave the academic world?
We learn a lot from reading, but we don’t remember much of it for long. But reading alone is rarely enough to truly get that deep knowledge needed to be competent – we also need practice. Read more “Myth busting 26: I’ve read the book, now I’m an expert!”
Our online learning platform provides many courses which can be taken in an efficient and timely manner, this prevents downtime with staff who would normally have to take many hours a day out of their routine to allow for training of similar courses. Read more “Uptime Webinar – free!”
I get asked a lot of questions and asked for a help. Sometimes the “ask” comes from senior management, sometimes middle-level management and sometimes even from the shop floor. People and companies need help to achieve more than they are today.
Performance is already known and often less than desired. Change is needed and that means new ideas. After all, if they had the ideas themselves, they may have tried something different before calling me in. Sometimes they have, and it hasn’t worked. They are stuck. Read more “Myth Busting 5: It Won’t Work Here”
This particular myth is not overly common, but it still occurs, usually in the minds of people who are really good a fooling themselves. It becomes more common when it is modified to say, “…running as well as it ever has”.
There are two parts to this one: 1. We believe it is actually running well, or as well as ever, and, 2. We really think we’re great and there truly is no room to improve.