Failure Reporting Process Map for MTBF – Just my thoughts

How good is your organization at identifying failures? Of course you see failures when they occur, but can you identify when recurring failures are creating serious equipment reliability issues? Most companies begin applying RCA or RCFA to “high value failures”. While this is not wrong, I prefer to either not see the failure in the first place, or at the least, to reduce the failures to a controllable level.

Here are a few items I believe a Failure Elimination program should have the ability to accomplish at the minimum.

  • Identify future failures
  • Identify negative and positive reliability trends at the part/component level
  • Validate new work processes
  • Validate equipment modifications
  • Validate maintenance procedure changes
  • Validate a new or current safety program
  • Validate a new PM/PdM program

What have you seen work and not work? Please share your ideas on this Blog (see comment section below) and let’s help each other make a serious difference in 2013.

Thank you,

Ricky Smith CMRP CMRT

One Response to Do you have an Effective Failure Elimination Program? If so please share it with us.

  1. Aaron Gayah says:

    I wish to approach this from the perspective of people and communication. When I reflect on the reasons as to why negative or destructive behaviors exist in the workplace, the following points come to mind:

    1. People do not know better

    2. People know better but are unable to do better

    3. People know better but are unwilling to do better

    I will elaborate below.

    1. People Do Not Know Better

    Sometimes those at the lower levels within the operations and maintenance teams simply do not understand how their actions impact the organization. Without that feedback from management, these persons would not be motivated to change their behaviors. Ironically, these are the persons most capable of influencing product quality and plant uptime.

    One solution may be to communicate this information directly to site personnel to emphasize their importance to the organization. PowerPoint presentations ought to include lots of charts and graphs in an attempt to help the audience visualize the numbers and appreciate their significance. My preference is to hold several smaller sessions instead of fewer larger ones because:

    i. It is easier to engage a small group of persons and keep them interested in the subject.

    ii. It is easier to establish/maintain/improve relations amongst members of a small group.

    iii. Reserved persons are more likely to contribute to the discussions and have their opinions heard.

    In my experience there tends to be a definite sense of enlightenment when the financial impacts of downtime are shared. This provides the ‘shock’ required to spur people to action. For each failure, the team would be asked (1) what took place, (2) what was found, and (3) what was needed to be implemented to either eliminate the issue or minimize its impact in the future. Recommendation effectiveness would then be evaluated in subsequent sessions.

    It is also necessary to discuss what went well. Instances of non-repeat failures were highlighted, discussed, and celebrated. PM procedures were proactively updated in some instances, or additional spares were ordered (as per a spares analysis) so that the team was better prepared to deal with failures in the future. It was of critical importance that management saw, rewarded, and reinforced these behaviors to sustain continuous improvement efforts.

    2. People Know Better But Are Unable To Do Better

    When the time and effort are taken to understand why people act the way they do, precious insight can be obtained. People tend to behave in a certain manner in part due to their circumstances. So if the circumstances in the work environment are less than ideal, then engaging them to help address those issues could help the situation. Circumstances may include:

    i. Poor work conditions

    ii. A lack of tools/equipment/facilities

    iii. Poor or outdated work processes

    iv. A lack of training

    v. Issues with staffing levels

    vi. Policies and procedures

    There are, of course other factors not included here that may well be worth identifying and resolving.

    3. People Know Better But Are Unwilling To Do Better

    The root causes of this can only be determined as per open discussion, and unless addressed, any improvement efforts will be severely hindered.


    So these were just a few of my thoughts on the subject. I’m open to any feedback: good or bad. Thank you very much for reading.


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