Proactive-Reactive Spectrum

This post is a little lighter.  Occasionally we can argue whether or not a particular action is proactive (because who doesn’t like the sound of that?)

What is proactive? What is reactive? For certain we can say developing a risk assessment to plan work is proactive. A Root Cause Analysis is reactive. But what about the inbetweener items? The extra step taken to make sure every other product isn’t affected in the same way after some bad product ships? When you update your PFMEA with the new control strategy created to avoid the thing that just happened? And if you see a piece of equipment failing though still performing and you intervene before complete functional failure? You could argue these are “proactive activities” though they are instigated by external circumstances. If you want to be really nitpicky…your proactive analysis is often driven by business performance (an external circumstance).

I think it’s a spectrum, similar to the predictive testing on a piece of machinery, or decreasing variation on an already in-spec product. The more proactive, the better, and the less damage or impact a potential failure could have.

But if you’re a purist, and you like dualities, then let’s say anything you instigate is proactive, anything that is triggered by an event is reactive. In any case, failure eradication is a good thing.

(P.S. for anyone keeping track, it’s day 42 of the new streak)

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Steph Holko

Reliability Engineer in Steelmaking. I love the business and the process. I’m working to inspire others to care about the details.

Novice runner, environmentalist, supporter of kids in STEM.

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