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.


6 thoughts on “Systems in Maintenance & Reliability processes

  1. Bjarni, you hit the nail on the head. Great thoughts related to the importance of having well defined and systematic processes in place to enable and drive success. It seems we are constantly in search of the perfect, or best software/hardware available. Often times when our research and laboring has come to an end and we have purchased what we feel will be the best solution we find months later that we are not pleased with the outcome. Generally speaking, this is the result of weak or non-existent processes.

    Especially love the connection to your Jeep. Which by the way, really is a nice ride!

    • Thank you Chris for your comments.

      I hope that this Blog will make people realise that software is only a tool, of course you can buy good and bad tools but the most important thing to have is the knowledge and process to use the tool efficiently.

      I am glad we are both in the same pursuit of perfection and I am sure that some day we will come close to it, but as we know there are always ways to improve even more.

      p.s.: Yes I really enjoy driving that Jeep, it is a great ride! 🙂

  2. Hi Bjarni
    you remind me with exactly the bacis idea behind the book “Why eagle can’t swim?” . software as a tool has designed functions and specifications, however later the human being expect that the software will develop himself to cope with everything 🙂

    I went throguh you blog, your interesting topic I met them somewhere in systems engineering domain, However not in maintnenace or asset management domains…sure they will enrich maintenance domain…I enjoy reading them

  3. One other factor in how software isn’t the solution to all problems: Quite often software systems at best mimic the present non-software system. They may make it more efficient and faster, but they don’t answer the question of whether the system performs its function the right way, or, perhaps even more important, whether the function should be performed at all.

    • Hi William,

      I agree wholeheartedly with that comment.

      If a system is implemented without thinking about how to improve the processes it is supporting all it will do is to improve the practices done. So one might say that one will be more efficient at performing the ineffective processes.

      Thank you for your insights and comment, keep up the good work.

      All the best, Bjarni

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