A retired reliability professional and I have received a contract for a book with the tentative title “New Approaches to Compressor Technology.” Our mandate is to alert readers to notable cost-effectiveness and reliability-improvement trends that have caught the eye of top-tier users.
We decided to invite a few peers and competent vendor-manufacturers to provide summaries of noteworthy products and work procedures that we could include in the book. Having worked with these people and entities in the past, we had placed them very high among the resources we wished to highlight in our pages.
So far, so good: We chose wisely. However, we also have seen occasional evidence of some past suspicions. Much of the technical writing appears to have been left to public relations firms that know little about the needs of the targeted audiences. To that end, some of the writeups seem to read like consultant-conceived generalities that lack actionable specifics.
As an example, the noun “challenge” and the verb “manage” are scattered needlessly throughout a number of the manuscripts. We believe everything is a challenge and that no books are necessary to highlight this fact. What industry really needs are solutions to challenges, and those solutions should be spelled out in common-sense language, not lawyerly weasel words.
Regarding our objection to the verb “manage,” from the submitted manuscripts, we found that just about everything these days has to be managed, from material composition in mechanical components, to bearing-clearance tolerance bands. Yes, indeed, things must be managed. But should the component at issue be made of Hastelloy-C22 or Carpenter 20CB-3? That would be the question begging a definitive answer. That’s where the reader needs guidance. After all, it’s fair to assume he or she would know things have to be managed.
As a final point, if you are a facility or corporate training manager (or have influence with such individuals), keep in mind that it’s important to entrust training to providers who teach employees specifics on how to manage instead of what to manage. Translation: Select providers who dissect a challenge into specific action steps. There’s no need to re-tell that everything under the sun is a challenge or has to be managed.TRR
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Heinz Bloch’s long professional career included assignments as Exxon Chemical’s Regional Machinery Specialist for the United States. A recognized subject-matter-expert on plant equipment and failure avoidance, he is the author of numerous books and articles, and continues to present at technical conferences around the world. Bloch holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering and is an ASME Life Fellow. These days, he’s based near Houston, TX. Email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: reliability, availability, maintenance, RAM, professional development