Reliability in mission critical facilities – the big secret about what I do

Posted by on Dec 2, 2013 in Up For Discussion | 0 comments

I get asked about what companies should do to increase the reliability of their mission critical facilities all the time, and my answer is usually the same. With 60 to 80 percent of the incidents or outages being caused by human error or omission, I would put my money where I could get the biggest bang for the buck … the people.

Simple change – tremendous impact

We live in a world where engineering solutions can cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, but some of the greatest impacts to reliability require just the price of changing our values about our jobs. By ensuring that everyone on the facilities operations team has the personal value of risk mitigation, we reevaluate our behaviors, our situations, and where we spend our resources. Instead of rushing to get things done or checking off boxes, we consider the consequences of our actions, the situations we face, and the data available to us to ensure that we are taking the path of least risk.

By simply changing what the team values, we change the way we think and our behaviors change as a result. It is far and away the most cost effective way to increase the reliability of your facilities and – the best part – more often than not, it’s free.

This philosophical value change drives people to learn more about their sites, investigate those unusual sounds or conditions, and appreciate others with the same outlook. It affects our hiring decisions (we have a tendency to hire people that have the same values as we do). It also affects how we approach operations (risk-averse people hate surprises and this drives detailed planning). In addition, it affects where we spend our resources (on training, planning/procedures, and data collection/analysis).

Ownership – stepping stone to organizational performance

One by-product of this philosophical value change – and a key defining attribute of successful mission critical operations – is ownership. If your goal is risk mitigation, human behavior will naturally guide you to “own” the process or system being operated or used. But it’s one thing to say these things. It’s another to actually implement them in an organization and change its culture.

Isn’t it interesting that a philosophical change in values could have such a tremendous impact on the reliability of mission critical operations? What would it cost to implement a change of values in your organization? How do you encourage your people to adopt risk mitigation as a personal value?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *