On a recent WebEx conversation with a Plant Manager, we were discussing who should be on the RCM team that was about to perform their first RCM analysis. I had just stated that we would need two of their most experienced maintenance technicians, folks who would be considered experts in the equipment we were about to analyze, when one of his Supervisors replied, “That would be Jim for the mechanical items and Gene for the electrical and instrument equipment.”

That wont work

The words were no sooner out of his mouth when someone else said, “Gene will work, but I’m not so sure about Jim. He tends to be a bit negative in regard to anything new or different. I don’t think it would be fair to put such a hard sell on the first team; it might sour the whole group.”

I replied, “If Jim is the most experienced and others consider him an expert, I want him on the team. Provided the others on the team respect Jim, I’m not the least bit worried about someone being a skeptic when it comes to RCM. The process can stand on it’s own merits and I can work at getting Jim on board throughout the week. In fact, I’m of the belief that if I can get Jim on board, getting the folks who were not on the team aligned will be a done deal. Is that correct?”

Several weeks later, I can say Jim was an easy sell to the benefits of RCM. He believed in a proactive approach to maintenance but felt in most cases he and others were given little time to “do things right”. He had very little exposure to predictive technologies, but was very interested in learning more – even expressing an interest in becoming certified in some of the technologies – and he thought the Troubleshooting Guide that came out of the RCM Blitz was one of the best training tools he had ever seen.

The lesson here is that Jim wasn’t negative at all, he was frustrated because he felt that his knowledge and experience wasn’t valued and as a result he became a skeptic. Turns out, Jim was a key member of the RCM team; someone who is now working at writing PM procedures and Job Plans on how to perform precision alignment and balancing of their rotating equipment. On a recent visit, he told me that the first RCM changed his career in a way he never expected; he has a newfound respect for the equipment operators, and just like when he started with the company, he once again looks forward to coming to work and improving the reliability of the equipment.

Labels are meant for equipment not people!


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