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While you might have a feeling about how good (or bad!) your maintenance and reliability practices are, you really don’t know unless you do one (or both) of these two things:

  • Have an assessment performed by an outside party
  • Do your own assessment, based upon either prior experience or using an online tool of some sort.

Either way, you will discover some uncomfortable truths about your organization. Generally, to be honest, most self-guided assessments will only return generic results, most of which are not very actionable.

However, having an outsider stomp through your halls for a week or two can be very enlightening. They have seen many places like yours and have heard all the excuses. They have seen the same expressions on faces around the conference table when they present their final report to management. They have experienced many different corporate and human cultures giving them the fortitude to state that, “No, you are not different.”


But all you get is a report…

Please be choosy when you are looking for outsiders to come in and evaluate your situation. Ask them questions like:

  • Can you show me results from your past clients implementing your ideas/findings?
  • Are you focused on one industry, or do you have a wide range of experience?
  • How long do you stay engaged with a client?
  • What do I tangibly get from you… beyond just a report at the end?
  • Do you recommend technology solutions or am I on my own to sort that out?
  • Any failure stories? (Not on your part, but where the client did not listen to you.)

You are asking an outsider to work closely with you and to tell you the truth, so best to start the relationship off on the right foot. Have high expectations.


But we know what we are doing. What do they know?

They know quite a lot. Assessors and consultants, given their significant and varied experience, bring tried and true methods to bear on the problems. They are well versed in advanced (aka, beyond bear skins and stone knives) technology that might be part of your overall solution set.

If you have in place a robust improvement program that is getting you results, then sure, perhaps you don’t need help now. But if those good feelings mentioned earlier are beginning to wane, then it might be time to seek assistance. Maybe there is a looming acquisition, divestiture, or upgrade that will necessitate change. Best to be well ahead of those events!

Maintaining the status quo is not improvement. We have all been surprised when budget time comes around and the boss says to cut 10%. Why are we surprised? If we have truly been improving, then the cost to budget would be showing greater efficiency during the year, perhaps reducing the risk of budget cuts. Outsiders can, “see things,” they you might be blind to.


Ok, I got my report… now what?

Now the hard work begins. You will have wasted your time and money if you do not implement all the improvements that the assessment points out… and complete/evaluate them in a reasonable amount of time. Whether you expect demonstrable changes to take effect within a few months or even years, the result is tangible change.

Not to say you must do them all at once. If they gave you 5 biggies, then pick 2 to start with and save the other 3 for later in the year. Just make sure you get to all of them! Some may be low-hanging fruit while others may be structural changes to the organization. Some may be agreeable to many while others may be fought against in obvious and not-so-obvious ways.

Your team(s) are experienced business and maintenance people and can take criticism. We all know areas we can improve upon and are willing and able to make the necessary changes. Yes, improvement does benefit the business, but if done properly, it benefits the people too.


Where do I begin?

The world is a big place still and there are people doing lots of cool things out there. Bring a few of them into your organization and pick their brains. You and your teams will benefit from the engagement, and everyone will certainly learn a few things.

TRM/IDCON helps companies live up to their potential to institute WORLD CLASS maintenance and reliability practices using assessments, consulting, and advanced technology.

Along with our assessments, our approach is to walk the halls with your staff, asking questions, checking your processes, and helping you discover those truths about your organization that can help you identify the improvements that can benefit the whole company. We then train and help you implement as well as provide solutions that bring efficiency to the changes.

Let us help you accelerate your transformation to WORLD CLASS with turnkey solutions aligned with best practices in maintenance and reliability.


Article by John Q. Todd, Sr. Business Consultant at TRM. Reach out to us at if you have any questions or would like to discuss deploying MAS 8 or Maximo AAM for condition-based maintenance/monitoring.