Monday, February 24, 2014

How Maintenance is Like a NASCAR Spotter at Daytona

So I was up late last night watching the Daytona 500 NASCAR race and I began to notice a few things as I watched the many issues that occurred during the 500 mile event. Here are three comparisons of how the Spotter and the Driver relate to the maintenance and operations partnership. 
Spotters look out into the future. They see oil, water, debris, weather changes, and crashes on the track well in advance. This extra time allows the spotter and the driver to plan out a path of lowest risk or maximum gain. Maintenance does this with CMMS or EAM data, life cycle costing calculations, and various simulations like reliability modeling. When maintenance uses good data to build good models and communicates effectively you can make strategic changes to reach the goal whether that is winning a race or winning a championship.
Spotters give you visibility into your blind spots
This blind spot could be beside your car where your Hans safety devices will not allow you to see or on the opposite side of the track where another car is making a strategic move. Spotters see issues and they provide you with instruction to help you get around them or benefit from them. Maintenance does the same thing using the predictive tools. They identify problems early on the P-F curve and this allows for the team to plan out the repair or replacement instead of being surprised in the heat of battle. In the picture you would always prefer to be the 5 car and not the 17. When maintenance uses the correct tools with the correct training, communicates effectively AND operations listens and provides on track feed back then together they can many times drive around the crash and not always end up in it.
Spotters only work when you have a relationship with them built on total trust.
The spotter is going to come on the radio and scream "brake and go left now." There is no time to discuss why or why not this is a good idea. You can't ask him to prove to you that that is the best course of action. You have to trust him and move immediately. That takes a strong relationship. The same holds true between Operations and Maintenance. Maintenance will come to Operations and say that a failure is imminent and action is required. If the trust is not there then it will be hard to react in a timely and effective manner.  You have to build that trust by continuously working together delivering good advise and learning from the mistakes. Making calls together and providing feedback to both sides regularly.
If Maintenance works as the Operations Spotter and they become a cohesive team then you will see the benefits in higher throughput, more on-time deliveries, and most of all higher profitability.Now lets go win the race.

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