If you’re developing a reliability program, there are generally two ways work is triggered: reactively, when a failure occurs, or proactively, through a criticality ranking mechanism. Both avenues look to identify failures and mitigation strategies. One way draws on knowledge and experience and predicts consequences, the other begins at the consequence and works backwards.
Proactive reliability seeks to look at all your assets and asks you how to have the least total cost for your organization. You take your best educated guess at which equipment needs analysis first, and get started.
Reactive work is due to a failure and root cause analysis is used to isolate the reason for the failure and prevent future reoccurrences. It’s a deep dive into a focused scenario. It will produce several solutions for failure prevention (of course, always aiming to avoid the “belt and suspenders”) often recommending a pro-active analysis, which are then incorporated into your proactive project plan.
It can be frustrating to feel like you’re losing ground because of a failure. The “proactive” work has to stop while a “reactive” investigation occurs. A reactive event does not change your ultimate goal. It merely shows you that your first guess at proactive prioritization wasn’t perfect. The equipment is telling you it has more urgent priorities.
Reliability work is often thought of as binary and this leads to the frustration. But what if we consider it as a spectrum? A suite of tools that will get you to your goal. Different paths to the same destination. All reliability work is moving you forward towards the goal.
Dare I say “enjoy the journey?”