Roy Cribb Dissects the Future of Preventative Maintenance

Episode 12

Maintenance Management Podcast


About this episode

Reliability and Maintenance Consultant, Roy Cribb, shares valuable tips from his 25 years of experience on the importance of looking after your machines and having the right maintenance management tools in place.


Matt (Host): Hi everyone, welcome back to the Comparesoft podcast. It’s great to have you
here. As always, our guest this week is Roy [Cribb]. Roy is a maintenance reliability consultant at Process Maintain. And Roy has worked with companies like Sackers, Origin Fertilizers, Freeport-McMoRan, and currently is with his own company Process Maintain.

Roy has over 25 years in understanding asset maintenance and care. So it would be really interesting to hear his take on maintenance management.

Welcome to the show, Roy. How is it going, sir?

Roy Cribb: Thank you very much. Yeah, I’m very well, thank you. How are you?

Matt: I’m good, thanks and it’s great to have you on the show. Thanks so much for coming on. We really appreciate having you here and dropping some knowledge for the listeners. So let’s head straight in then. Can you tell our listeners a little bit more about what you do?

Roy: Essentially what I do is I work with customers to understand and improve ability and efficiency their. And help them with any project that comes off back-to-back directly or indirectly.

I also guide them through the process of improving their processes, which usually has a physical or mechanic element to that. And the third part is to identify any safety issues that need addressing as we go through this process of improving reliability and efficiency.

Safety goes hand-in-hand [with maintenance], and we usually tend to find that if something is poorly maintained, there’s a good chance it’s also going to be unsafe. So, there’s a strong link to safety there.

Matt: Okay, awesome. Well, how would you go about setting a good maintenance culture?

Roy: I think that within a company for the people involved at any level, from the engineers to the CEO to the accountants, good maintenance culture requires [an] understanding of maintenance.

And for to be as placed as high as priority, as safety, then that’s that company’s culture. Maintenance for me should be accepted and embraced and not seen as a necessary evil. If you can get those elements right, the culture will begin.

Matt: How would you recommend to plan maintenance activities?

Roy: So, it’s an interesting question and for me, you need to bring a few things together to plan efficiently and effectively. At the high level, it’s quite simple. Maintenance should be based on manufacturers’ requirements and essentially plans to occur outside of the operations window that’s the high level. But there’s a deeper understanding, these levels to go below that.

You need to understand component life cycles and the maintenance needs by understanding [the] machine itself. And all machines and processes have their own individual characteristics that you need to understand.

You also need to use preventative maintenance to monitor conditions and predictive data to get the timing right. The last thing you want to do is over-maintain – it’s a waste of resources. So there’s a few things you have to bring together to plan maintenance activities.

Matt: Had do you recommend to implement an effective maintenance plan? How do you implement an effective maintenance plan?

Roy: To implement anything it needs to be accepted and agreed by anyone in that accountability chain. I like to ask questions to understand how committed these people are and it’s only when you get that commitment that you can implement the maintenance plan or strategy that doesn’t create friction that’s going to slow things down.

And so, moving on to the tools of the trade. Do you think software tools are useful for managing maintenance activities?

Roy: Yeah, absolutely. But, importantly, they need to work alongside more traditional maintenance management tools. There’s such a wide range of abilities and experience across [the] industry.

Software needs to be an important part of [maintenance], but not the overall factor. We all know that people work and learn in different ways and some of those ways don’t include software tools, we just need to accept that. But I have had experience with various software tools to understand the value they give me.

I’ve used really interesting real-time information tag systems. I’ve had exposure to SAP and more hardcore maintenance management software like limbo. So, I’ve seen and understood the value of them, but it’s part of the solution. It’s not the entire solution.

Matt: Right. And talking about solutions and being part of the solution, how do you see connected technologies changing the way we work in the future?

Roy: Well, it’s – you know, it’s certainly going to improve the focus on reliability-centred maintenance, especially around predictive maintenance and how to reduce things such as interval timing between components running outside of their normal conditions, leading to a fail state, leading to action.

You know, I think technologies are going to help to reduce that interval time and quite drastically in the future. So, I think it’s going to take a while, yeah, I think [it’s] going to have a positive impact.

Matt: Going a bit more old school and traditional, which I’m sure a lot of people still like to work as – what’s your take on using spreadsheets for maintenance management? Do they still have a place?

Roy: Well, you know, I’ve been lucky enough to have been taught the value of simple Excel spreadsheets, that you can extract data from by some great mentors and I’ve been really lucky and we’ve talked about some great people.

The key is to keep things simple because the guys that I help, you know, the managers, the ops managers, the mains managers, they’re extremely busy people and they just need simple, effective data. And you can use the data from the technology, and the software we’ve just talked about, put it into a spreadsheet and extract real data from that.

One of the key things of what I like to do is to guide my customers in the direction of either beginning to or improving how they quantify the performance of their plant machinery. And when we’ve got that data, even from a software tool such as pie or a simple stop clock, putting numbers onto a spreadsheet and putting it into Excel.

When we’ve got the value of that, it helps us to correlate it and more importantly, we can report on and justify those events to help us with expenditure. You know, if we need to be able to spend half a million pounds on new equipment, [we] want the data to back that [up].

Matt: What advice would you give to people who are just starting to look into implementing a new CMMS Software or grading digitally?

Roy: Okay. Yeah, great question. I think my advice would be to first understand what data you require. If you can understand what you need, you can then go to market and research the product that gives you the information you need.

You know, quite often what will happen is the new system will be bought by the organisation and it really won’t understand its capacity, take advantage of its capacity, but at a very simple level, it won’t get the information it needs.

Don’t forget, we don’t always need, you know, the granular data. We quite often just need simple numbers in order to strategise and report out. So, my advice would be, to understand what you need first before you go to find out what you then want to buy.

Matt: Sure. And then – so how would you use maintenance as a competitive advantage for the business?

Roy: So for me, that’s more of a statement than a question. And it runs quite deeply for everything that I do. For me it’s a statement, it’s a simple statement. If your process or your machine, for you, is reliable and efficient, it helps you to do a few things.

You can plan, you can forecast with a degree of accuracy and you can strategise. If you are successful in those three elements, then you are going to be as competitive as your capacity will allow. Does that make sense? That’s kind of how I talk to my customers, how I justify what I do.

Matt: Well you’ve dropped some really fantastic tips and knowledge for us already, Roy, and as I said in the beginning, we really appreciate having you on the show. But what would your top three tips be for our listeners on effective maintenance? Top three tips.

Roy: Not in any real order but these three things need to be at the forefront of what you do. The individual, whoever it is, you need to continuously review your plan because things change. So reviewing the plan.

The other thing is about combining data with experience. No one thing can work on its own. You need collaboration between different systems and this is the obvious one.

For the maintenance managers out there, I’m sure they can agree. Always strive to install and use the best quality components. There’s no such thing as cheap when it comes to maintenance.

Matt: Right. Wow. There you go. Amazing tips there very concise and to the point. I like it. So, wrapping this up then, what’s your favourite saying or quote on maintenance for our listeners?

Roy: Yeah, that’s a great question. I suppose the thing that I’ve always said, the thing that I’ve always preached is quite simply – if you don’t look after the machine, it won’t look after you. And that’s it. It’s very simple.

You know, it’s anything from a bicycle to a car to a 5 million pound processing machine. If you don’t look after it, if you don’t maintain it, then it won’t look after the business.

Matt: Sure. Well, hey, I mean Roy, you’ve been a fantastic guest and thanks so much for being on the show and, thanks to everybody for being here with us again. We really appreciate it and we’ll see you on the next episode. Thanks so much. Cheers.

Roy: Thank you very much.