A reliability culture can be defined many ways, based on the type of facility, size of the facility, or even management of the facility. Overall, a reliability culture focuses on how each functional group can work together to meet common goals: keeping the facility safer, working better, and more reliable.

Why a Reliability Culture?

You might be asking yourself, why reliability? In a facility with many functional groups that seem to work independently of each other, it’s important to find common ground—and reliability should be that common ground. With each functional group having different goals and different objectives, having a focus on reliability makes everything simpler. When you’re reliable, your equipment’s not failing, you don’t have incidents, you’re not doing reactive maintenance, and you’re saving costs. Even with each functional group having different objectives, at the end of the day, the common goal between these groups is to be reliable.

Reliability is Holistic, Not Siloed

With different functional groups that each have their own individual goals, it’s important for these groups to understand how they affect the facility’s overall reliability goals and how they can work with other groups to help achieve those goals.

Operations is typically concerned with taking care of the equipmentat the end of the day, it helps them do their job. Maintenance is typically concerned with the performance of the equipmentif it breaks, they fix it. Reliability is typically concerned with long-term performancemaking sure the equipment won’t fail the next day, week, or month. So, how can these functional groups work together to achieve a common goal?

Since Operations knows the sight, feel, and sound of the equipment, they can work with Maintenance to make sure the equipment is functioning as it is intended to. Maintenance’s main concern is fixing the equipment, but by working with Operations, they can make sure it’s working in the best way possible.

While Maintenance is most concerned with making sure the equipment is working today and getting it back online when it’s not, Reliability looks further into the future. These two groups can work together to ensure that the equipment is fixed prior to it failing through proactive maintenance.

Operations and Reliability can also work closely together to identify if the equipment is functioning in the proper way for the long-term, by placing an emphasis on Operator Driven Reliability (ODR). ODR stresses the importance of using the resources that you have on hand to improve your processes, and with Operations, Maintenance, and Reliability all working together, you can make sure each functional group is taking ownership of their goals and helping other groups achieve theirs. Each functional group should be working interdependently with one another.

Maintaining a Reliability Culture

You might think you have a reliability culture, but how do you know? How do you maintain it? How do you measure success? KPIs.

You can have one big overall KPIour facility saved $X, we had X number of incidents, etc.but each functional group should also have their own KPIs, just as they have their own goals. When creating both goals and KPIs, you want to make sure they cascade, meaning that each individual’s goals tie up to the department’s goals, which tie up to the overall company goal. Each functional group should be able to see how their goals and their KPIs affect the whole facility, and see where they can help other groups succeed.

One example of a cascading KPI is Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), which is a conglomerate of Availability, Performance, and Quality. As shown in Figure 1, Maintenance is responsible for Availability; Operations is responsible for Performance; and Quality is responsible for Quality in the OEE equation. OEE is a great example of how you can begin to implement cascading KPIs at your facility.

Cascading KPIs

At the end of the day, if you can’t measure the success of what you’re doing, it makes it very hard to manage it. By including KPIs in your reliability culture, you can see how much money your facility is saving, how many incidents your facility is preventing, and how each functional group and each individual is contributing to the overall company goal.

The Importance of Creating a Reliability Culture at Your Facility

Implementing a reliability culture not only creates a safer, more reliable working environment, but it also imparts ownership and teamwork of interdependent functional groups. When you set up common goals between functional groups, it helps each of these groups take ownership of how their specific job duties affect the facility’s overall reliability goals, and each group wants to see each other succeed, so they work together to make sure these goals are being exceeded.