Monday, February 29, 2016

Reliability Confessions of the Not Quite Best Practice

You have secrets. Secrets that have robbed the reliability from your facility and its assets. Sometimes it just makes you feel better if you confess your secrets publicly. Maybe you should let a few of your secrets go today, and bask in the relief that follows. Today, you have that chance using the anonymous post feature in the comments section below.  But first let me share a few secrets I know already:
1. "I use what ever grease is in the nearest grease gun I find. (grease is grease)"
2. "I sometimes overload the machine and cause it to fail because when it does I can take a break while maintenance fixes it."
3. "I never torque the bolts with a torque wrench. (Tight is tight, right?)"
4. "I once wrapped a fuse in aluminum foil because it would not stop blowing."
5. "I never put all the bolts back if the equipment doesn't need them. (I'm eliminating wasted time)"
6. "I don't wipe off the grease fitting before I lubricate."
7."I sometimes don't share all the critical steps for a job plan so that I can save the day when it does not work."
8. "I have put a 20 amp fuse in a 10 amp slot."
9. "One time I dropped a bolt into a gearbox during a PM and it is still there today."
10. "I added flammable hydraulic fluid to a system requiring nonflammable to save a trip back to the store room."
At least some of these little secrets happen regularly in plants everywhere. I challenge you to reread the list and this time think about what underlying systemic causes might have led for the perceived need for the individual to take these steps and then make them their secrets. Remember what Edward Deming said: "Blame the system not the people." Fixing the system eliminates many more problems within your site than blaming an individual. 
Don't forget to add a few secrets of your own at the bottom.


  1. The bearing is hot . . . add grease.
    The bearing is getting hotter . . . add more grease.
    The bearing is getting even hotter . . . add high temp. grease.

  2. What W. Edwards Deming said is that you cannot fix the person except with brain surgery. Since no one knows how to do this, this is impossible. So you need to redesign the system to motivate the person to make fewer mistakes. This is done because you can redesign the system, but not the person.

    So Romans 7:15 states, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Paul's solution is spirit, which is motivation not to make mistakes (sin). Motivation must come from the system. Motivation cannot come from brain surgery. So we are stuck blaming the system and fixing it, because this is what is possible.