Measuring what did not happen.

A single stage 2 MeV linear Van de Graaff part...

The challenges facing the business of Reliability Engineering & Maintenance Management are both extremely complicated and challenging. That is why it is very important to measure what did not happen in a proactive environment.

Reliability Engineering & Maintenance Management is big business in today’s industrial environment. The temptation for management to cost cut in these areas are there and they are real. If Maintenance Management can not quantifiably show results from proactive initiatives, like condition monitoring for example, then those activities are under a big risk to be cancelled.

The reason for this factor of maintenance activities to be cut out is simple, for management looking at these activities without understanding them fully see it as a “nice to have” feature of maintenance and it is not contributing with addressing the current issues, break downs etc. so to them this is a great move to get added resources to focus on the break downs that are facing them ever more increasingly because of maybe previous cost cutting.

Cost cutting in maintenance usually also has a rather lagging response time, if management is cost cutting extensively in maintenance activities the true results of that often do not appear until even 3 years after the initial decision.

To address this issue Maintenance Management needs to focus hard on measuring what did not happen because proactive initiatives prevented the issues. Make agreements with production on equipment downtime, for example if a specific pump will brake down during production it will cost X$ per hour. If it happens unexpectedly it will take Xhours to repair, however if the failure is detected in time and repair is planned there will be no unexpected downtime.

In PAS 55-1:2008, 4.6.1 Performance and condition monitoring, this issue is addressed and hopefully will be addressed even better in ISO55000. There are also harmonized KPI’s that focus on this issue developed by SMRP and EFNMS.

Once quantities KPI’s have been set in place and maintenance has the ammunition to fight against the dangerous cost cutting initiatives of management then maintenance can also claim it’s rightful place as a profit contributor!

It is my hope that all of us join hands and start to be even more proactive in our Reliability Engineering & Maintenance Management profession so others can see what a great & profitable business it is to be in.


Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Hellisheiðarvirkjun one of Icelands most impressive Geothermal power plants

Hellisheiðarvirkjun one of Icelands most impressive Geothermal power plants

Another one of Albert Einstein’s quotes starts my blog, I probably won’t make this a habit but I thought I would try.

Learning is one of the cornerstones of progress. I have the great fortune to be a part of the Icelandic Maintenance Association. This February 27th to 2nd of March the association is having a Thermal Imaging seminar at this impressive power plant in Iceland, close to the capital of Reykjavik.

It is our hope that by having great people together, sharing knowledge and ideas, learning from yesterday and living today we have great hopes for tomorrow.

This is a great opportunity if you are interested to come to a great place and learn, for further information just contact The seminar will be thought by Jim Seffrin from Infraspection. The seminar will be based on ISO 18436-7, Level 1. The curriculum can be viewed through this link.

We hope to see you there. The Icelandic maintenance association.



“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein

Tunnel VisionSome might wonder why my blog this time has a header with a quote from Albert Einstein. The reason is that lately I have been extremely busy and a lot of pressure put from many sources, this is just the normal environment of a Maintenance & Reliability professional.

However it is important to not forget to take a step back from the logic of our existence where we solve problems, implement better practices and processes, etc. in a logical way every day. These logical functions that we deliver makes us have a bit of a tunnel vision, like the horse that is pulling the wagon with the blinds on so he does not get distracted.

Stepping back and Imagining where we could go, what we could do better, how we can deliver better results, what we can learn from anything and use it in our Reliability & Maintenance practices. Only focusing on the problems we are in without looking around for opportunities can make us miss some extremely great opportunities.

Only focusing on the problem of being stuck in the snow far from everybody in the middle of the mountain

Could make us miss the opportunities that are all around us, the beautiful views, the nature... and of course the people around that could help out 🙂

So in the heat of the game of finding the very best Reliability & Maintenance practices don’t forget to take a step back, relax and imagine… because Imagination will take you everywhere.

Another good quote from Albert Einstein is : “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

But more on that later, I hope you have a great Imaginative rest of the weekend and don’t forget to comment 🙂

Warm regards, Bjarni Ellert Ísleifsson, CMRP

Systems in Maintenance & Reliability processes

A good friend of mine Gísli Gylfason just sent me a link to a interesting article from Johnny Bofilios.

After reading that article my mind wondered on to a few points:

Point 1: A software system that solves all of manager’s problems does not exist except in the advertisement brochures.

Regarding this point software systems do not solve the problems; good processes and work procedures can solve problems as well as many other activities. However software systems are merely tools that document the process and the results from that process, or other activities, being done. They can help us in many ways, for example to analyse problems, but in the end they are “just” tools that we use to try and be better at what we do.

Point 2: A bad manager without a system will be more efficient at being a worse manager with a system.

Point 3: A good manager without a system will be more efficient at being a better manager with a system.

Regarding points 2 and 3: A software system can only make a process being managed more efficiently. This can of course be both negative and positive. The process can be more efficient at being bad and more efficient at being good!

Point 4: Define your processes first and then choose the system that suits them best. Be careful not to tailor the solution too much. Tailoring the software solution can be extremely expensive and hard to maintain.

For example let’s compare to a car: you can take a car that almost suits your needs and modify it to almost perfectly suit your needs.

My super jeep

My super jeep

This car here above for example (my super jeep) has taken me everywhere I want to go in the past 4 years. There it is on top of a mountain in the middle of the Icelandic winter. I drive it on top of the snow and even glaciers, while in summers I drive on bad trails just about anywhere I want.

On top of the Eyjafjallajökull Glacier during the volcanic eruption of April 2010 in Iceland

On top of the Eyjafjallajökull Glacier during the volcanic eruption of April 2010 in Iceland

The same applies for a good software solution. If it is fundamentally good for your needs then it can probably be tweaked here and there to perfectly suit your needs. There are many great CMMS and EAM software solutions out there. You can also adapt them to your specific needs, but in the end it all falls down to how good your maintenance & reliability processes are and how well they can be executed.

Even with excellent software systems, great knowledge and skilled people, you can not get more efficient or productive than what the processes allow them to be.