A friend of mine gave me a lift to the airport the other day. We'd worked together before and he'd been involved in engineering, maintenance systems and budgeting for most of his career. He's recently moved into the reliability function at a large mining company. We were talking about the usual stuff friends talk about, family, the city you live in etc. He then asked about qualifications he should undertake to improve his employability in the future. It was obvious the recent downsizing in the industry was on his mind and he wanted to make sure he had the qualifications to succeed in future reliability roles. It was a great question.
So we got to talking about qualifications and what makes a good reliability team member in the modern mine. No doubt qualifications can help get you the position when comparing CV's of many hopeful reliability professionals.
The qualifications will tell you that the individual has good analytical skills, can write reports, create compelling presentations plus other very important attributes. What it doesn't tell you is how well they can relate to people the maintenance team or, how well they understand modern mining equipment.
I see many mining companies employee young engineers to be their reliability team. They are energetic, disciplined, motivated and ambitious. They can conduct extensive root cause analysis, re-engineering poor designs, project management or sourcing new equipment. Unfortunately, they are often not as effective in implementing some of the more basic reliability improvements in strategy development, schedule compliance and workmanship.
In my experience many of the reliability improvement opportunities are in the execution of the work, that is, identifying the right strategy and executing it with skill. We've all seen poorly completed service sheets, left over parts from service days and rework. These issues often stem from a lack of understanding of the impact of not doing the basics thoroughly. Addressing these issues I've seen up to a 5% improvement in availability alone.
People need to take actions and change how things are done and that means talking to the maintenance supervisors and tradesman to understand what's happening in the execution of the maintenance effort.