Measure to Manage

Robert C. Baldwin, CMRP, Editor
One of the professional highlights of the year for Maintenance Technology staffers is the annual Maintenance Excellence Roundtable, a get-together of representatives from 12 companies for swapping information on best practices. This year’s event was hosted by Honeywell’s Geismar, LA, site, the world’s largest hydrofluoric acid facility.

The meeting convened in Baton Rouge, LA the evening of September 13, as Hurricane Ivan was moving into the Gulf of Mexico.

The first morning session began with a hurricane update. By the coffee break time there was considerable concern by the members about whether they were going to be able to get home before the storm hit. We decided to dispense with the plant tour and cram as many presentations as possible into a one-day marathon so we could arrange to start for home early the next day.

Even though we would have to reconvene after dinner, we kept a panel discussion on equipment reliability metrics on the agenda. (Why did we keep this discussion and not wrap up earlier? Perhaps comments by Terry Wireman in his Viewpoint editorial on pg 50 will provide some insight.)

Dofasco’s Ed Ray moderated this informative session. He and roundtable members Jay Blosser of DuPont, Richard Shirer of Baxter Healthcare, Don Latiolais of Syngenta, and Jennifer Vicknair and Rich Hall of Honeywell provided talking point slides for discussion.

Ray’s talking points, based on Dofasco’s decade-long enterprise-wide journey of maintenance and reliability improvement, set the scene by noting that business units in his company are responsible for results and they use metrics to manage and communicate. The following slide did a neat job of summing up the issues.

Why Measure?

  • To effectively and efficiently manage the equipment reliability process
  • To permit on-going demonstration of the business value of equipment reliability
  • To ensure broadly communicated and thoroughly understood awareness of current performance
  • To drive performance improvement through the creation of appropriate tension for change
  • To enable a proactive management environment

Presentation coaches often suggest that you begin with a summary of your conclusion. Ray did that with a quote from management guru Peter Drucker:

“It is not possible to manage what you cannot control and you cannot control what you cannot measure.”

That invites a follow-up question: What are you measuring, and are they the right things? MT


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