If you want to show that you care about your workers or those of your client(s), read on. Yes, I have referenced this topic in previous writings and presentations (as have others on The RAM Review team. After all, elements of the topic cover issues of great importance to RAM professionals (elements that should be addressed more than once.) The angle in this particular article involves a successful strategy from the real world.
In a highly successful and profitable company, an astute plant manager had heard about the acronym “C.A.R.E.,” which was devised in the late 1980s by a Canadian firm. The letters stand for “Clear Direction and Support,” “Adequate Detail,” “Recognition and Reward,” and “Empathy.” Based on what he had learned about the C.A.R.E. concept, the plant manager organized a mid-level-management “steering committee” that held weekly meetings. Each week, a different operator or reliability technician was invited to make a 10-minute presentation on how he or she performed their daily jobs and how this added value to the enterprise.
For example, a vibration technician might discuss how early detection of flaws saved the company time and money, an instrument technician might emphasize the key ingredients of a valuable online instrument testing program, and so forth. Each reliability issue or program had a management sponsor or “champion,” who saw to it that the effort stayed on track, and that organizational and bureaucratic obstacles did not interfere.
ENSURING ADEQUATE & APPROPRIATE TRAINING
Pursuant to each of these weekly meetings, any training plans that had been initiated by a presenting employee and approved by his or her manager were reconfirmed. Once reviewed, some were supplemented, modified, often amplified, but always given top priority by management. The goal was to ensure “Adequate and Appropriate Training.”
Note that the acronym’s letter “C” (for “Clear Direction and Support”) was given much weight in these meetings. It was closely tied to “A” (for “Adequate Detail”) due to the fact that many have lost the ability to see the tie-in of basic mathematics and physics to equipment issues in the workplace.
As just one example, hundreds of millions of dollars are lost each year due to erroneous lubrication techniques. The subject is not dealt with methodically and pragmatically in our engineering colleges. The connection between Bernoulli’s law taught in high school physics classes and the proper operation of constant level lubricators is lost on a new generation of computer-literate technicians and engineers. Managers seek salvation in “high tech” and consultant-conceived “new initiatives.”
REGARDING THE ISSUE OF DETAILS
As I have emphasized before, new initiatives can lack focus. New initiatives will fail where there is no solid foundation. The non-glamorous basics should make up the foundation, but such foundations are not always laid.
The problem, in many organizations, boils down to a lack of interest in time-consuming details or the subject matter experts who emphasize them. And, all too often, no thought is given to the consequences.
My point here is that details do matter. People should be rewarded for dealing with details. And showing empathy helps. Next week, I’ll expand on the C.A.R.E. topic with details on “Adequate and Appropriate Training.”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, workforce training