Conducting maintenance has always been challenged and challenging. The competitive nature of the Energy and Chemical industry demands that we are always looking to find more efficient ways to keep the equipment doing what it needs to do, at minimal cost. However, the complexities of optimizing equipment maintenance has required us to develop rules and methodologies that may have removed us from the fundamental objectives of what we are trying to achieve – equipment that can be reliably and safely operated to create the products the market wants.
With the recent explosion of technology-driven innovations we, as an industry, are currently in a position to reassess everything from the bottom up. This leaves us with some difficult decisions. With so many possibilities and new ways of doing things, what opportunities do we go after and how do we make sure those changes are for the good?
The main thing holding us back is the risk associated with change. We need to challenge our assumptions, but we need to do it in an organized way that retains control and doesn’t, too soon, kick away the pillars that make today’s systems stable and manageable. We also need to make sure that we implement new solutions fully and correctly. Nobody wants to invest heavily in a technology that becomes the under-used plaything of a few super users and doesn’t impact the underlying performance of the business. The connection between maintenance systems and business value isn’t always direct so if we’re going to push new technology boundaries, and also get value, then we need a focus on clarity about what how this aligns with the objectives of the organization as a whole.