Friday, August 4, 2017

Why do people do training? 7 reasons we have been told.

Why do people do training? What a great question to explore your teams motives as well as your own. Here are 7 reasons we have heard recently. Let's look at each one and what it says about the organization and what you might do to improve your training ROI.
"My boss told me too..." Let's start with this common comment. On a positive note, at least the manager is providing training opportunities. Sometimes these participants are there as part of a manager's communication plan on a new topic. We see training used to introduce new concepts and improvement philosophies regularly with the hopes that the trainer creates awareness and desire to move in a new direction. If you are using training as part of your communication plan for a new initiative, don't let it be the first exposure. Make sure the attendee knows why they are going and why it is important that they develop this new skill. "What is important to my boss is important to me." Don't put all of the responsibility on the instructor to create desire. If the manager shows the importance, then the trainer can feed that and create more knowledge per given training time.  Other times the manager is just checking a box and "sending people to training." If this is happening, you are wasting training money, training time, and credibility. Just stop it.
"It's in the budget so we have to do it" This is a variation of the checking the box issue above and leads to training waste. Create a training needs assessment and identify the gaps that are holding you back. From this, create a training plan to address those gaps. Don't put the kids in charge of the cookie jar... create a plan. That plan is the start of getting an ROI from your training budget.

"It is a company paid vacation" When I hear this one, I know someone is checking the box or spending a budget and the training falls into a category that might possibly be a morale booster but certainly not a learning event. Put a stop to it and create and execute from the training plan.
"Training is good for the team" This is only true if someone comes back and does something better. If they don't, it is bad for the team because they have to pick up the slack while the people are out on "training."
"Training is good for morale" There are many studies that show training is indeed good for morale. Some even show that it is better than a raise. But, all this hinges on application of the training. In the training environment the student will get excited about the new information they learn. But, if they return and nobody will listen to them as they share what they learned and nothing changes to allow them to use the training, then morale will surely plummet. You will want to create a plan for how they are going to use the training as a whole and the specific learning objectives when they return. Enable their success and check in on them so that you can remove roadblocks. 
"We have a learning culture" This one warms my heart. Many companies have created a kind of continuous learning culture where training is on-going and is a regular part of the person's work habit. The key thing here is still application. It is great that we are continuously learning, but if we don't do anything with it, then it has a short retention period and offers no return on investment. This creates a life long learner instead of a continuous "improver". You are creating that guy who is still in school and has seven degrees at 39 and has never worked a day in his life.
"I enjoy learning new things" What a great person to have on your team. Now let's figure out how we can use their passion for knowledge to share with others as they continue learning. Can you let them be the aggregator and then empower them to distribute that knowledge to your organization? Could they be an internal coach, mentor, or instructor who boils down the lessons, and makes them site relevant for application?
In the end, to make your training dollar most effective, check these six boxes:
  • 1: Stop the nonsense
  • 2: Gap analysis
  • 3: Training plan
  • 4: Application plan for each training event
  • 5: Remove roadblocks to application 
  • 6: Empower your enthusiastic learners to share
What would you add?

Friday, March 31, 2017

PdM is Not Precision Maintenance (Coaches Corner)

Another great Coaches Corner post from Allen Canaday:
During a recent discussion with a student he asked me why the failure rate at their facility wasn’t improving.  Over the last two years they had invested in the purchase of various PdM (Predictive Maintenance) technologies and trained personnel on their use and application.  The facility had conducted a criticality analysis and SFMECA (Simplified Failure Mode Effects and Criticality Analysis) to determine their critical failure modes.  For the most part, they had purchased and trained on the PdM technologies that would best detect the early onset of the failure modes identified in their SFMECA.  Why were assets continuing to run to failure even though failure modes are being identified? Why aren’t the PdM technologies preventing failures in our facility, he asked?
The answer in two-fold. This wasn’t the first time I fielded this question.  When I asked the student about the precision maintenance techniques utilized in their facility, he asked, “What do you mean by precision techniques”?  This was exactly the answer I was expecting! PdM technologies are diagnostic tools designed to find the early onset of failure modes, these tools don’t make the repair for you, they just help you determine what needs to be repaired.  These tools can’t tell you exactly how long you have prior to functional or catastrophic failure, the data acquired from these tools only tell you your asset has a failure mode and if no action is taken, it will eventually fail.
Precision techniques and instruments, along with the proper training on their use, increases the probability that when the repair is made, failure modes aren’t introduced into the asset resulting from the corrective work.  Precision techniques include job plans that consists of proper task-step sequences and performance standards that convey proper tolerances and measures to the technician performing the corrective work.
Next, I asked the student to explain their backlog prioritization for planned work.  Again, he asked “What do you mean by backlog prioritization”? I explained that no matter what PdM technologies you utilize, the findings must be converted to a work order to be planned and scheduled.  Even the PdM generated work orders become part of the total backlog and must be scheduled based on their severity or risk to the organization.   Poor work order prioritization practices can render your PdM efforts meaningless unless your work execution practices are robust enough to effectively prioritize work orders in your backlog.
PdM is not precision maintenance!  The two complement each other.  However, without the implementation of precision maintenance in your work execution process, expect to continue making repetitive repairs on many of your assets, even on the assets you’re utilizing PdM technologies to detect the early on-set of failure modes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Is The MTTR Metric Killing Your Reliability?

Metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are a force for good when they are used at the right time and with the right complementary or supporting elements. But, when they are used at the wrong point in a facilities maturity they can have unintentional consequences, or even worse they can drive the wrong behaviors.
An example that I continue to see causing more issues than it is solving, is the use of the KPI known as Mean Time To Repair (MTTR). When this metric is used alone, in immature organizations, or without an understanding of the unintentional consequences it can drive your organization in the opposite direction of world class performance. If your organization is immature from a reliability cultural standpoint and you choose MTTR as your focus then you set yourself up to become very reactive by being very quick to respond to failures. The facts are:
  • Reactive response is at least 5 times more expensive than planned and scheduled work . 
  • Operations will beat on you to get faster and faster at responding so that you lower MTTR. 
  • Rushed repairs are less reliable.
  • Reactive response requires more expensive spare parts stock.
  • Repetitive failures and repairs increase the chances of the introduction of infant mortality failures. 
  • You will find yourself with high skilled maintenance technicians just standing on the manufacturing floor doing nothing while waiting on a failure to occur. 
  • Pressure to make the repair as quickly as possible can lead to taking elevated safety risks either intentional or unintentional. 
Many of the sites that choose MTTR as a primary metric early in their reliability journey create a brigade of firefighters on the ready with crash carts and mounds of spare parts. What we really want is to prevent the failures from happening to start with or at least reduce the frequency. For that we might use other metrics like Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) early on and then deploy MTTR, after we increase the reliability of our systems. This later use of MTTR will allow us to address the issues we can't prevent and to understand any training gaps and other issues that might be affecting repair times.
Picture it this way: If MTTR is all you have then your organization will create tools like crash carts and quick response teams instead of using tools like Root Cause Analysis (RCA) to understand and eliminate the reoccurring problem. From the real world, I have seen bearing quick change carts developed to speed up re-occurring failures repairs where it they had just tensioned the belts properly the failures would have been eliminated.  Five really fast 2 hour bearing replacements is still much worse that bearings that don't need repairs at all. This site needed to understand better not respond quicker.
Are your metrics driving the wrong behaviors? Are you using them at the right time?
Tell us what metrics have not worked for you and why in the comments below. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Not Running From the Saber Tooth Tiger: Reactive to Proactive Leadership in 3 Steps.

Life pushes us to be reactive and we learn it from an early age. When we are young, we stick a fork in a power outlet or touch a hot stove and then we react. That becomes the predominant learning style as we grow. It is how we learn the concept of cause and effect. But later in life we are told that proactive is better but, this goes contrary to what has shaped us up to this point. Why would I want to be proactive? Why should I change? That is not what my past has reinforced.
So lets answer those questions first, and then talk about how we can become a more proactive leader moving forward. While reactivity allowed or ancestors to run from the saber tooth tiger, proactivity would have allowed them to not run into the saber tooth tiger in the first place or at the very least show up with spears for protection. Proactivity lessens the chances of needing reactivity which has been scientifically proven to lower the blood pressure in people like me (Cake loving non-athletes). High blood pressure is mostly bad so, we want that metric to trend down to a point. Why stir up the chemicals and hormones of stress if you can identify the risk early and address them before they attack you like a saber tooth tiger.
So how do we do it? No matter what project or task you want to manage or lead proactively you can get started with three steps.
First, decide what success would look like for the task or project. What are the goals? How do you know you have won? Knowing these elements first helps with the follow on activities.
Second, ask yourself what could go wrong that could jeopardize your goals or success with the task or project. List out each of these risk. Some will involve people. Some will involve resources. Be a real Negative Nancy and list as many as possible (get out you inner project negativity). Once you have the risk listed then prioritize them. I use a simple 1(low risk) -10 (high risk) scale with three categories multiplied together to rank the risk list. The categories are: severity, likelihood of occurrence, and ability to proactively detect. Once this is complete you can move onto step three.
Third, you create a plan to address the high risk items early before they occur. Many of the steps to address the risk will be communication action items that will need to be drafted in advance to explain that an issue is expected and that this is what we are doing about it proactively.
We could spend the rest of the day discussing the intricacies of proactive project and task leadership and management but these are the three overarching steps you should be taking to keep from being eaten by the saber tooth tiger you are trying to manage.