When we do equipment reliability work, there is a mentality we can run up against – a culture that values firefighting over installing fire detectors and checking extinguishers. I should be clear – people that can “fight equipment fires” or excel at fixing emergency problems are invaluable, and it’s not a skill I possess. However, it is probably not the best strategy to rely on it, if we are trying to give ourselves an edge based on a relatively smaller operating budget.
A different way to look at it is to consider our process line as a race car. The maintenance crew spends a lot of time understanding which components fail when (usage based? time-based?), have the right spares on hand, execute pit stops (shutdowns) with precision, get feedback from the driver (operator) – all because they know they are critical to winning the race.
What if we treated proactive maintenance like a pit crew, instead of performing fire extinguisher maintenance?
It is not one individual that can make this shift on their own, but culture change has to start somewhere – why not shift our perspective and see if makes a small difference?
There are many articles and further reading out there (NASCAR presented at a conference I attended), if you are interested in taking the analogy further.
How do you view proactive equipment maintenance?