Monday, December 3, 2012

Data Collectors or Dust Collectors: Three Ways to Knock the Dust Off

We all love shiny new reliability toys, right?
Well I am spending the week in the middle of a conference center full of beautiful shiny new condition monitoring/ predictive maintenance tools in Bahrain at the Maintcon conference. I know that the IMC-2012 International Maintenance Conference is kicking off as you read this in Florida as well. So, literally thousands of people will be in a sea of shiny new equipment this week. They will check out the newest in touch screen technology, they will ogle at the cool wireless features and they may even lust after the robustness of these new super industrialized models.
But let me share a dirty secret, many of them are not looking at data collectors they are actually looking at future dust collectors.
While sitting around with many of the leaders of the companies that provide these incredible technologies they have all lamented with sad eyes about the cool tools that have never made it into regular use in some facilities. One vendor said it makes him want to cry when he sees "his equipment setting on the top shelf with a layer of dust on it." They are proud of their work and they want to see it used to improve facilities reliability. Below are some of the actual excuses mumbled by maintenance folks in facilities globally for why there is dust on their technology:
  • "No time to get trained on the unit" Training issue
  • "No one does anything when I identify a fault" Communication, Process, and Training Issue
  • "No budget left for training class" Training Issue
  • "To busy fighting fires" Process issue
  • "The other maintenance guys don't trust the technology" Training issue
  • "Operations will not give me the down time" Process issue
  • "The old way was easier" Training issue
  • "I can't get the time to mount the sensors" Process and Priority issue
  • "I didn't order it. I wanted the other one." hmmmm.... Attitude issue? OK, how about change management issue
So what can we do? Here are three thoughts that might help you avoid your own set of dust collectors.
First, don't buy technology if you don't have the basic business processes in place. Good technology with bad processes just makes bad things happen faster. Think about how you are going to use the technology. How will you plan and then schedule the resolutions of the findings? If you can not plan and schedule the repairs then you are merely refining your run to failure strategy and continuing to make repairs at 5 times the cost.
Second, package the training into the purchase price of the unit and issue one purchase order. Don't try to "buy it in bits" Get it all at once or wait until you can. You will want to capitalize on the fact that it is new to get folks to engage in the training and apply the technology in the field. Of course you should train your users to operate it but don't forget to create awareness training for those that will be affected like your craftsmen who will make the repairs based on the technology and your planners who will use the findings to plan the work.
Third, plan the time to set it up right. Develop your equipment list, routes, and alarms right from the start. Going back after the fact is gruesome and frustrating and working in a bad database just makes an analyst mad.
What things have you done at your site to prevent your data collectors from becoming dust collectors?
Please feel free to share below.

Have a great week

1 comment:

  1. For those of us providing these shiny new tools, we should also be looking at ways to ensure the dust stays away. So I'd challenge those of us on this side of the fence to set up plans to keep the tools in action and off of the shelf!