Recently I met a young and enthusiastic engineer who declared that “ We are already done with the reliability and maintenance management strategy, it is well developed and documented by a group in our company” “That sounds good “ I replied, “That means that you are done with about 5% of the work”.
Somewhat disturbed he asked me what I meant with that. “Have you spent any time to educate, inform and implement the strategy in your plants?” I asked. The answer was negative and he asked me what I meant with that.
I very often meet people who believe the job is done because you have developed and documented a plan but to me that is just the beginning and if the plan is not implemented and executed the effort is wasted. I see a lot of plans and strategies but very little execution.
To be useful a strategy cannot only remain on a “Happy Island” with a group of people who developed it. The whole purpose of the strategy is to drive the organization to continuously improve its performance.
To develop the strategy takes about 5 % of the time. To educate, inform and train people who are going to start execute the strategy takes 10 -15% of the effort and to actually implement and execute the strategy takes about 85% of the effort.
A strategy has to be very clear and not only describe goals. It has to provide a road map that shows a manufacturing organization how to reach these goals. A reliability and maintenance strategy can have many different formats but the content will be very much the same between different organizations.
The effect of the implementation of the strategy must also be measurable to be powerful enough to drive improvements.
This can be done if the strategy is combined with an audit tool to repeatedly measure progress or the lack thereof. When these audits are done on an annual basis it will typically take about three years before an organization believes that the intent of the strategy is real and not just another short-term initiative. The implementation of the strategy is not a program, it is a process with a starting point towards continuous improvement.
Many organizations are spending much time to develop and document a reliability and maintenance strategy and not much time to implement and execute this strategy. Many will even change the strategy when a new key manager arrives. This is not uncommon. It is quite obvious that a strategy must be executed otherwise it served no other purpose than to keep people busy developing it. Best organizations execute a well defined, documented and continuously communicated strategy. It is long term and coupled with execution of tactic implementation plans.