February 16, 2019, 6:53 am

Reliability Improvement Articles

The Importance of a No-Blame Culture for Safety and Reliability Improvement

Written by Sandy Dunn.   

This article has been prompted by the recent dismissal of a rail employee for failing to follow a standard operating procedure, resulting in a significant derailment.  The key questions here are:

  1. How likely is this to reduce the likelihood of similar, future events?
  2. What impact is this likely to have on the identification of future opportunities for reliability and safety improvement?

These should be the intent of any incident investigation, and this article will argue that dismissing the employee, in the absence of any other improvement actions, will, at best, most likely have no sustainable effect on achieving these objectives and, at worst, will inhibit future safety and reliability improvement initiatives.

I should point out that I am not privy to the specific details of the incident that prompted this article, and there may be exceptional circumstances relating to this specific incident which merit the punishment meted out, but as a general rule, we need to be very careful in using punishment as our first and primary response to any safety or reliability incident.

 

Availability vs Reliability – Which is more important?

Written by Sandy Dunn.   

There is often confusion amongst those new to Maintenance and Reliability regarding the difference between Availability and Reliability. This article discusses the difference between the two, and also considers the relative importance of each when setting goals and targets for operational improvement.

 

Creating the Organisational Environment for RCA Success

Written by Sandy Dunn.   

 This is the fourth and final article in this series where we have examined the following topics: 

 Experience tells us that, in practice, there are several barriers that inhibit the success of implementation of Root Cause Analysis practices.  Among these are:

  • This is great, but I don’t have time for this….
  • Inability or unwillingness to tackle the bigger issues
  • Fear of being “blamed” for making an error

All of these barriers must be overcome if implementation of RCA is to be successful.  Let’s deal with each of these barriers one at a time. 

 

You don’t need software to perform Root Cause Analysis – here’s why

Written by Sandy Dunn.   

 This is the third article in a series of four where we will examine the following topics: 

A growing number of Root Cause Analysis processes are being supported by RCA software.  We need to be careful not to oversell the benefits of software in effective problem solving – and in many cases, RCA software actually has some disadvantages and drawbacks.

The first thing we need to realise is that effective problem-solving through Root Cause Analysis techniques represents, for most organisations, a significant change in their way of thinking, and also represents a significant cultural shift.  These fundamental changes cannot be effectively brought about simply by purchasing a software package, and yet many technocratic organisations are tempted to believe that a technological solution (such as a piece of software) will solve their problems.

 

Two reasons why team-based approaches to Root Cause Analysis (RCA) are more effective

Written by Sandy Dunn.   

 This is the second article in a series of four where we will examine the following topics: 

 There is a school of thought, particularly among more highly qualified engineering personnel, that problem solving and Root Cause Analysis is best performed by “experts” in their fields.  This school of thought discounts the potential contribution of lesser qualified personnel in being able to identify and implement effective permanent solutions to maintenance and reliability problems.

I believe this viewpoint to be fundamentally flawed, for two main reasons.

 

Why Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is not just 'Common Sense'

Written by Sandy Dunn.   

The appropriate application of Root Cause Analysis (RCA) techniques can yield significant organisational and individual benefits.  This article is the first in a series of four, discussing some of the practical issues surrounding the implementation of Root Cause Analysis processes within organisations, and in doing so, attempts to give some guidance to those wishing to obtain success from their Root Cause Analysis program.The four articles in this series will examine the following topics: 

Two common misperceptions about Root Cause Analysis (RCA) are either that:

  1. Applying RCA successfully requires the application of some radically new or different skills, or alternatively
  2. RCA is simply “common sense” problem solving

Neither of these is the case.

Most people who undertake a Root Cause Analysis training course are somewhat disappointed to discover that, while RCA includes a few new tools, tips and techniques, these are all reasonably easily learnt, and not represent a radical departure from what most people are capable of applying.  This often leads rapidly to the second misconception – that effective problem solving is simply “common sense”, and that, therefore, there is no need for people to be trained in Root Cause Analysis principles.

 

Putting a value on maintenance and reliability improvement

Written by Gary West.   

Given that Assetivity’s business model is all about delivering value to our clients through improvements in asset management, maintenance management and reliability engineering, it is not surprising that we are often asked how best to put a value on maintenance and reliability improvements project.

The answer of course is ‘that depends on the nature of the project’.

In this article, we will consider the three levers of value in any maintenance and reliability improvement project, explore five approaches that we commonly apply to estimate the likely value from the improvement projects, and discuss methods for measuring and monitoring whether the project is actually delivering on its promise.

 

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