The most successful series on television these days is the CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) franchise. Modeled on the classic Sherlock Holmes "whodunit" format, this modern series uses a seductive mix of cutting-edge forensic technology and common sense to quench our quixotic need to provide simple answers and solutions for complex problems. (OK…I admit it…I'm a CSI junkie!)
Over the past few years working with my Maintenance clients, I've conducted many informal "water cooler" polls, trying to learn which CSI program is favored most and what attracts so many maintainers to regularly watch these shows. Apart from morbid curiosity as to how each week's victims meet their demise, the majority of respondents point to the series' attention to crime scene details as its most compelling aspect. That's not too surprising, when you consider how a maintainer conducts troubleshooting.
Whenever a system or component fails, it leaves behind an evidence trail that will lead not only to the failure cause, but to a strategy to help you understand and/or predict and prevent future failure events. Even though we CSI junkies know we must "protect the crime scene at all costs," in our haste to "keep the equipment running at all costs," we often destroy the "crime" scene and either contaminate or throw out the evidence. Sound familiar?
I submit that we all are "failure scene investigators" (FSIs) within the Maintenance profession— that we all are responsible for equipment reliability through better understanding of equipment failure. If we are to reduce our levels of maintainability while increasing both availability and reliability, we must follow the CSI lead and investigate all equipment failures via a systematic approach, much like the seven-step approach below:*
Taking a CSI-inspired approach will enhance your reliability program while adding new value to your predictive toolset. Good Luck!
*Adapted from materials for "Achieving Reliability Through Effective Failure Scene Investigation." ©