4 APM New Year's Resolutions for 2015

oil pipeline maintenance managementWelcome to 2015. Hopefully your holiday season went well and you are ready for an exciting year in the asset performance management (APM) space. Our end-of-year predictions for APM and our New Year wish for APM practitioners should give you an idea of what technologies and process improvement trends to expect in 2015.

As in our personal lives, our professional lives as APM practitioners can use the tradition of making some New Year's resolutions to improve our overall well-being. LNS Research suggests you consider adding at least a few of these to your personal 2015 APM New Year's Resolution list if you have not already adopted them.

1. Make APM a Key Element of Your Overall Operation Excellence Strategy

A fundamental tenet of LNS Research’s APM research practice is “healthy assets are the foundation of a healthy business.” If you have not already made APM a core competency, 2015 is the year to consider doing so. This is like your basic “life improvement” resolution you might make such as “in 2015 I am going to eat healthier” or “in 2015 I am going to lose weight or exercise more.”

Making "APM part of your OpEx strategy” is easy to do, just like making those vague personal resolutions, but executing against it will likely prove to be a challenge. So when you make the resolution, provide some details. Make the resolution specific with at least three or four major, measurable activities you can do.

An example of a well-worded resolution might be: “In 2015, we will introduce advanced APM practices into our business by inventorying all of our APM-related systems, planning on how to best leverage the technology we have in place, deciding on which technologies and applications to add, and beginning to leverage CBM (or RCM, PdM etc. as appropriate) to improve our asset performance.”

2. Make Sure Everyone is Looking at the Same APM Data with the Same Tools

One of the most basic tenets of quality as put forth by W. Edwards Deming is that to improve a process you must find the root causes of problems. Otherwise, you are treating the symptoms of the problem and not the “disease” itself. While this quality principle holds true across virtually every business process improvement area, it is never truer than in the APM arena.

Many enterprises struggle with validating the results they are achieving from their APM initiatives, simply because they are using so many tools to look at data that is sometimes duplicated and collected from multiple data points even though it is supposed to represent a single measurement.

This may entail consolidating applications and possibly even discontinuing the use of some, probably causing distress among some users. However, unless you are certain that everyone is looking at the same data with the same tool you will probably spend more time arguing about whose interpretation is right instead of focusing on what the data is telling you about how you are really performing, and if there is an issue what the root cause is.

So make one of your 2015 New Year's APM resolutions: “In 2015 we will standardize the tools and data sources we base our APM metrics on so everyone is making decisions from the same information.” 

3. Keep in Mind An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

This age-old expression really could have been written expressly for APM. We all know that running our facilities using a break-fix mentality is just not productive. Many manufacturers have already moved to some form of preventative maintenance, either calendar or actual usage-based. This is the first step in applying the above axiom in your operations. But do not stop there.

Consider predictive maintenance (PdM) as your ultimate goal, recognizing that predictive maintenance has within its domain a range of options from simply using offline diagnostic tools like thermography and lubricant analysis to advanced RCM and predictive analytics to move you ever-closer to Operational Excellence.

So for 2105 make a resolution similar to this: “In 2015 we will work to continuously enhance our predictive capabilities in the field of APM applying the best tools we can master to our most critical equipment and striving to increase our PdM capability across all of operations.”

4. Make Smart APM Investments, Don’t be Penny-wise but Pound Foolish

Most asset-intensive businesses have already made some investments in some APM tools such as an EAM or CMMS solution, possibly some CBM tools and potentially some analytics and real-time diagnostic capabilities. All of these are necessary investments as an enterprise continues to build its APM capabilities. But don’t neglect one of the most important aspects of any APM initiative: Investment in your people.

Without proper training on the tools and technology at their disposal, you cannot possibly achieve maximum performance from your APM investments, so consider this resolution: “In 2015 we will invest X% of our APM budget in training and skills development for our staff across not only maintenance but operations and management so we can get the most value from our APM investments.”

Obviously X% will vary depending on your industry, geography, and other factors, but just make sure it is enough that you can actually bring about the performance improvements you are seeking.

Those are our New Year's Resolutions for 2015, what are yours? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below.

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All entries in this Industrial Transformation blog represent the opinions of the authors based on their industry experience and their view of the information collected using the methods described in our Research Integrity. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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