I recently had the pleasure to interview Doug Stangier, co-author of Preventive Maintenance Made Simple.  This is another excellent book in the Made Simple series, published by ReliabilityWeb.  During the interview, Doug not only provides insights into his book but also into what world class Preventive Maintenance looks like.   Anyone new to maintenance and reliability, or seasoned experts can benefit from this great book.  Without further delay, here is the interview with Doug.

James: It is my pleasure to interview a fellow Canadian.  Welcome Doug and thank you for joining me. Can you tell me about the book you co-authored with Ricky Smith, titles Preventive Maintenance Made Simple?

Doug: Thank you for inviting me James and giving me the opportunity to speak with you about the new book that I co-wrote with Ricky Smith titled “Preventive Maintenance Made Simple.” At the time of writing the book, I was employed as the Maintenance Reliability Manager for one of Weyerhaeuser’s largest Oriented Strand Board manufacturing mills which are in Hudson Bay Saskatchewan. Weyerhaeuser is a large international forest products company based out of Seattle Washington with mills and distribution centers all over the world. Since the book released I have left Weyerhaeuser and joined Tolko Industries and am now in the role of Plant Manger for one their OSB Mills.

James: That is an important position, which based on the book, you were able to drive operational improvements.  Doug, can you provide some background for our readers?  How long have you been involved in Maintenance & Reliability?

Doug: I have been involved in maintenance and reliability for over 20 years in a variety of capacities and also a variety of industries. I have spent most of my time involved with maintenance and reliability within the wood products manufacturing industry and have worked in both Canada and the USA. I began my journey as an RSE Electrician and worked my way up into maintenance management with a keen interest in improving reliability and work management processes. I was part of a team that spearheaded and developed a comprehensive work management system that was implemented to align with the conversion from Maximo to SAP within my employers OSB mills in which our site was the pilot site. That was four years ago, and the system as we dubbed it “the To Be Document” has been adopted by not only all the OSB mills but most of the company’s wood product sites as a whole. That process is what really kick started a passion within myself to continue to develop and improve our current maintenance and reliability strategies for our facilities and also led to a great case study which I partnered with our Maintenance and Reliability Director to present at the 2014 IM Conference and it showcased how by implementing our “To Be document” and its associated processes we were able to improve our work management process by 40% within the first year alone. I attended my first maintenance and reliability conference in 2012 where I sat for and passed my CMRP certification and the following year obtained my CRL certification.

James: You have some great experience which I am sure it went into the book.  Can you tell me a bit about Preventive Maintenance Made Simple and how you partnered up with Ricky Smith to write the book?

Doug: For sure James, “PM Made Simple” was born out of a common frustration I kept hearing over and over from maintenance and reliability professionals of all levels of their respective careers at conferences and on LinkedIn as well as my own experiences in my career, on just how complicated we all mange to make the process. I knew that something had to be done and had been trying to figure out just how to take this on. One evening at the 2014 International Maintenance Conference my wife Yvette and I were having a cocktail with Ricky Smith, talking about the conference as a whole and I brought up the topic of how we keep hearing the same theme over and over about PM programs being over complicated and how they were lacking the intended or expected results from actually performing the tasks. We kept on the topic for a good fifteen minutes and both Ricky and said at the same time “we should write a book on the subject and show how simple the process can be. I was excited and apprehensive at the thought as I have never written a book before but knowing Ricky’s experience and having read most of his books I knew it was the right thing to do. We finished off the evening and went our separate ways the next day as the conference wrapped up stating that we will contact each other to finalize the details and get started in the New Year.

Once we had an outline of the book we contacted Terrence O’Hanlon at Reliabilityweb.com and ran the outline by him to see if he would be willing to publish the book and Terrence was all for it, so the collaboration began.

James: That is quite the start, and I find most great ideas start over some cocktails.  Who persuaded you to write the book in the first place?

Doug: I don’t believe there was much persuasion in having to write the book but more of a strong sense of urgency and passion that both Ricky and I shared on the subject. I think we were both already convinced at that time to proceed and the validation from Terrence O’Hanlon that it’s time for a book like this was a deal sealer as well.

James: So what is commonplace in industry that makes PMs so complicated and sometimes not very effective?

Doug: James, that is a great question and there is definitely not just one single factor that contributes to a complicated or ineffective preventive maintenance program but rather several factors.

I believe a lot of the inadequacies and inefficiencies of Preventive maintenance programs stem from not understanding what types of failure modes your equipment can have and not channeling the PM program to address those directly, but also we as humans tend to overload our programs with “Knee-jerk” reactive p.m.’s that don’t have anything to do with what caused the event or failure. Another big factor in what makes a lot of programs ineffective and difficult is not having good solid job plans for the maintenance folks to follow. It is critical to take the time to develop these plans with the intent that you can give the same work order to any trades person and get the same results. Repeatability is Reliability. I also believe that there isn’t enough emphasis on predictive technologies and condition monitoring. We tend to do too many invasive procedures on our assets and whenever we do that we are only introducing the risk of early failure. If we utilized more predictive and condition based tools and did the inspections while the equipment is running, we stand a much better chance of properly planning any work that would need to be carried out and scheduling such work in advance enough to avoid failures. Lubrication is a huge part of any PM program and if there are no set standards or procedures in place to administer a good lube program the rest of the preventive program will turn into a reactive maintenance program. Far too often lubrication gets a back seat in many preventive maintenance programs where it truly deserves a front and center seat. This question goes so deep that every aspect of a program if not properly executed affects the effectiveness of the program as a whole. The human factor alone in preventive maintenance is huge, what about the guy that says “I have been doing this PM this way for years so why should I change it now?

James: So why do you think PMs aren’t simple?

Doug: I think the reason for this is because organizations, and I do need to state that not all organizations are in this situation as there are several with world class programs, but most do not spend the time upfront to build a solid and meaningful preventive maintenance program. Think about the statement “Design for Reliability” that statement is not only meant for the design of assets but the design of the assets lifecycle which is greatly impacted by the preventive maintenance program developed for the assets. Companies spend a lot of time performing p.m. on their assets that continue to fail due to not having the correct PM’s built for that particular asset and its particular failure modes. Think about the tech who goes out to do their rounds while a plant is down for a bi-weekly maintenance day, and the pm states “check sheaves and belts on conveyor XXXX drive system”. So the technician looks through the guard at the sheaves and belts, and according to his perception, everything looks fine. They note this on the PM and carry on. 6 hours later when the plant starts up the belts fail to cause a plug up in the conveyor infeed and a few hours of unplanned downtime. Now let’s go back and say the technician gets the PM to “LOTO Test Fire, remove guard and inspect the belts and sheave on the conveyor using a sheave gauge and a belt tension gauge with acceptable parameters of tolerance indicated on the work order, the technician identifies that both are seriously out of spec and immediately makes a call to their supervisor to make a corrective work order to change before the plant starts back up. By using qualitative measures and removing subjective measures and proper follow-up processes the unplanned downtime was avoided the corrective work was carried out while there was time. By having proper guarding and utilizing a strobe light, the inspection could be carried out while the equipment is running and a good visual on whether the belts are riding too low or too high in the sheave would be possible and flag a follow up to further inspect during the next outage.

James: Quantifying PMs is incredibly important.  I always tell planners, to use the 3T’s  (Target, Tolerance, Test) when writing their PMs to eliminate that sort of issue with the belt from occurring.  So why should organizations work to simplify their PMs and their PM program? And what type of benefits would one expect to gain from simplifying their PMs?

Doug: The main reasons for any organization to work towards simplifying their PMs and PM Program is to address failure modes and increase value added time for the technicians. By focusing on what types of failures could occur and how to mitigate these failures will increase equipment uptime which increases the bottom line and has a huge impact on the overall culture of an organization with increased morale. There will always be that certain “Hero” onsite who thrives on emergency work to get things back up and running, but in most cases, that type of situation is stressful and counter productive to organizations. If PM’s are developed correctly with the right focus, there is an opportunity to increase the value-added time of technicians to up to 40% working on more important projects, etc. instead of firefighting. When you think about it James, why wouldn’t an organization want to simplify and improve their PM Programs?

James:  That is very true Doug, unplanned work is more expensive and time-consuming, so by focusing on properly defined PMs, organizations can reap huge rewards.  Keeping those rewards in mind, can you provide a tip or action from the book to our listeners on how to improve their existing PMs?

Doug: One of the most important tips is to follow is the 10% rule and stay diligent in performing the PM’s on time. The 10 % rule of preventive maintenance simply states that: A time-based PM must be accomplished in ten percent of the time frequency or it is out of compliance. Far too often PM’s for one reason or another get “pushed” and often more than once. This puts the PM out of compliance and the more the PM is pushed out the higher risk of a failure not being detected before it becomes major or even catastrophic. I would strongly suggest following the tip provided on page 9 of the book which states to Follow the 10 % rule on time-based PM’s that you are performing on your “critical” assets at the very least. This will ensure you are completing the PM’s within the correct timeframe and what this will do is allow the assets to be maintained i9n a controlled state and will reduce variation in equipment reliability. This alone will have a huge impact on the effectiveness of any PM program.

James: The 10% rule is so simple, yet so effective, I constantly wonder why more organizations don’t follow it.  Do you have any tips or words of wisdom to share with people who are involved with creating PMs in their organization?

Doug: I think one thing that I would share with people who are involved with the creation of PM’s and the ongoing updating of the programs is to ensure that all PM’s are built with consistent job plans and clear expectations. Use quantitative measures to eliminate perception and record the data and act upon the data when it is entered. Be diligent in developing PM’s that address failure modes and plans on mitigating and eliminating these failure modes. If you are responsible for creating PM’s do your very best to ensure they add value to the organization by addressing the things that affect the reliability of the equipment. And remember that a PM program is a living program that requires frequent updating and review to ensure the value is still there.

James: Regardless of the method used to develop PMs, it needs to be living program and constantly refined based on failure data and Root Cause Analysis.  What is the one thing that you see done incorrectly with PMs in manufacturing?

Doug: The lack of partnership between maintenance and operations to properly schedule and execute PM’s. There to this day, are still manufacturing facilities that keep the old “us against them” culture and battling which part of the organization is trump over the other when in fact they are both equally as valuable and need to get on board with breaking down these silos. There needs to be a partnership developed agreed upon and sustained for any manufacturer to remain in business these days, plain and simple. Leadership owns this and needs to make it the culture and support it.

James: People, culture, and leadership form the basis of all great programs.  Without them, the program will not be sustainable.  Does the book cover any specific findings in the application of PM that will make it more effective?

Doug: We wrote the book in a way that covers the elements required to make an effective PM and PM program. By using the right type of PM or PdM with the right frequency and ensuring there are clear and concise job plans associated with the PM’s will lead to an effective PM. But once again you need to perform the PM.

James: Doug, if you had a magic wand, what is the one action you want our listeners to take away regarding PMs?

Doug: At the very least, if you do not have a robust PM program yet, Keep inspecting your equipment and listen to it. I worked a gentleman once when I was an apprentice electrician, and we were performing PM’s in a steel pipe manufacturing facility, and he said that we were all given four very important meters to use when inspecting equipment. 1- The Eyeometer- Look for anomalies, 2- The Earometer- Listen to the equipment. The Handometer- Feel the equipment, The Noseometer- Smell the equipment. These are the very basics of PM so use them.

James: Where can people find out more about you, and what events/activities are you involved with at the moment?

Doug: People can learn more about me on my LinkedIn page. I am currently working with PEMAC on the BOK committee which will be extremely interesting.

James: I will provide links to your LinkedIn page and PEMAC.  But more importantly, where can they find the book?

Doug: The Book “Preventive Maintenance Made Simple” can be found at Amazon and Amazon Canada.

James:  Doug, I want to thank you for taking the time to share these great words of wisdom with our readers.  As usual, I took away some great insights to PM programs from our conversation.  I will make sure to include links to all of the resources and sites that you mentioned.