Uptime & Maintenance Best Practices from Andy Gailey
Maintenance Management Podcast
INTRO: Downtime, spreadsheets, technician problems, communications problems, maintenance management, maintenance budget, predictive maintenance, reactive maintenance, CMMS Software.
Matt [00:00:30] Hi everyone. Welcome back to the show. Today I am joined by the founding director of Uptime Consultant Andy Gailey. Before starting his business in 2015, he worked in the food industry at PepsiCo for 21 years. And over the last nine years, he’s been developing and implementing the lubrication and condition monitoring strategy. He’s a time served mechanical production engineer with a background in aerospace, motorsport, food, automotive, water, power, and in fact, all things manufacturing. So Andy, great to have you on the show. Welcome. How’s it going? How’s business been going recently for you?
Andy: [00:01:20] Well, thanks for having me. It’s been a strange year really, hasn’t it been for everybody? It’s actually had more upside than I would have thought. So people have been reaching out more and more now for connected devices and maintenance support. Actually, we had the best year last year out of our six years as a consultancy. We’ve got some really good clients, and we are getting more and more people that are looking at automation and taking things remote — that’s going more online, I think.
Matt [00:01:57] So why don’t you tell our listeners a little bit more about what you do then at the business?
Andy [00:02:03] So I own an engineering consultancy called Uptime Consultant Limited, along with my partner in life and the Co-director, Jenny. We both worked for the PepsiCo business; me for 21 years and Jenny for just over 18 years. And I’d always planned to start my own business one day, and it got to the time of life where I thought, I’ve got enough knowledge and enough contacts and enough experience to take that leap. So when you work as an employee for a large blue-chip, like PepsiCo, you are actually given quite a lot of freedom to reinvent the way things are done and to test things. But you’re always constrained by what the business needs are. So now, I’ve been able to start this company and I’ve brought together a lot of the aspects of maintenance and engineering, prediction, lubrication, condition monitoring, all under one umbrella so that I can offer a service that might start at lubrication, but then I’ll say that the client needs some help with root cause analysis. They may be a bit ahead of themselves and think they can get on the predictive route, but they might be a little bit too reactive. So I support clients and people mainly in all aspects of reliability and maintenance. I call Uptime Consultant a pain killer. We’re the pain killer for many industries where they have lots and lots of reactive pain going on in their businesses. I’m a generalist, so I know a little about a lot of things. And the one thing I like to do is interact with people, find out how they tick and see if we can get them to change their mindset slightly. So yeah, that’s one of that really.
Matt [00:04:02] Okay. Wow, sounds fantastic. And so then getting into it a little bit more. How do you go about setting a good maintenance culture?
Andy [00:04:11] Well, the first one is talking to people. And it’s amazing how many places I visit where I will have maybe a group of people, and I’ll speak to somebody in middle management level and they both say the same things. They both say they don’t listen to me. So there’s definitely something about people being listened to and people communicating with each other. Culture is a very strange word as well. So I’ve looked at this quite deeply. And culture is all about people’s habits, and their ways of going on in life which is based around their beliefs. So it’s about what people believe and it’s about habits that they engage with. So you can’t set up for having a good “culture” without changing some beliefs, and helping people adopt new habits. You’ve got to start right at the beginning and say, well, where are we and where do we want to go? Then what can we put in place to help people? People trying to impose on others, they will fail. Seen lots of that going on, they’ll fail. So habits, they say, are formed over 40 days of doing the same thing over and over again. So we have to give people the time and the space to do that. Another thing is actually the communication has to be very clear with people. There should be very little gray area where people don’t understand what was the target, what should we have been doing? And it means often telling the truth, even if that truth doesn’t really sit well with some people. But only when you tell a truth only expecting other people to do as you would do every day as a habit. Because if you don’t, if you are not engaged enough to be able to walk the talk, then the uptake on that will be very, very poor. Most engineers I deal with as well have a system thought approach. So they understand that once you’ve got engineers in front of you, and you say, well, this is evidence, this is what we do if we do that. So A + B = C, and if we add a bit of something else, and we get to a different place. So you’ve got to pay a lot of attention to that group as well, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses.
Matt [00:06:54] Yeah. Okay. So then how would you recommend the best way to plan maintenance activities?
Andy [00:07:04] Well, never plan what you can’t deliver. So that’s number one. And it’s probably the most common thing I come across. In that people are obviously upset, and they feel that they can’t achieve what they’ve decided they want to do in the business, maintenance wise. But they’ve got unrealistic aims and goals. If they have a plan and sometimes they don’t got one. They’re not backed up by anything. So you start seeing companies where they’ll say, yeah, we’ve got a maintenance plan. Here’s a maintenance plan and here’s the backlog. And you look at the backlog, and it’s 1000s of jobs. So you say well, the backlog means nothing. It’s never going to add any value. So why have you even got it? It’s almost like people are going through the motions of what they think maintenance is. I am a believer in the philosophy of reliability centered maintenance. So if you apply some of the reliability centered maintenance approaches, you will only do maintenance on where it provides value. So those planned activities should always target and mitigate known risks. So if you don’t know there’s a risk, you don’t need to do the maintenance. I don’t check my battery in my car every day. I don’t. It’s going to last seven years so why would I go and check it every day. So they should always be aimed at mitigating a known risk or a hidden failure, or a safety obligation which is very important. So there’s a safety level to it. It should never be about ticking boxes and completing hours. And it should never really say go inspect and check. Because, again, what does that mean? We put some sort of a measure in there. I think adding to that, you need to nurture that part. Because if you don’t and if it isn’t targeted at your assets and their modes of failure, it just won’t work. And it’ll also depend on what part of the business cycle the business is in. So I went to one client and they were actually closing their business down in 12 months. I said, that was easy. I said, all your maintenance plans are going to be reactive. You’re not going to spend money. Why would you do that? You’re going to close a business in 12 months.
Matt [00:09:51] So how do you think maintenance teams and managers should go about driving appreciation for maintenance teams across the business particularly with the top management?
Andy [00:10:02] Maintenance belongs to everybody. Maintenance, if you go to the dictionary says it’s looking after is caring for. And the maintenance should be seen in the same realm of safety. And actually, when we look at maintenance and some of the failures, it could have a massive impact on people’s safety, personal and business liability. So this should be something that is shared with the C level, that the way you carry out your maintenance and what you invest in your maintenance will have a massive impact on your safety. There’s been a study of about 20 years ago, some rather large companies in the US, and it was over just over four years they did it. What they did is they tracked accidents, against reliability measures within these four different businesses. And all of them correlated, all of them. As the accidents went up, the reliability dropped. As reliability went up, the accidents crossed over the reliability line and went down. We see maintenance managers, we see engineers see technicians. But more and more I’m seeing that and it was prevalent at Pepsico operators on the line. My key point of contact in plants is usually the operator and when the maintenance manager is standing there, I used to say, I don’t need to speak to you now. Some of them have an attitude. I say no, I want to speak to the people that actually live with this equipment12 hours a day, because they know the things that I need to know. But yeah it should be maintenance and engineering should work in tandem with operations. And they should both be intertwined. Because what we’re doing, we’ve got a client customer relationship and the customer or client is the operations department that want their tonnage or want their throughput. And the thing that makes that available is engineering and maintenance. Without it, they will not produce. They will fail. They will lose customers their own client. Because if you can’t deliver, especially in the food industry, if you don’t deliver in food, you lose your whole shelf space. So if you fall out with Tesco or Asda, cause you couldn’t deliver one week. Forget it. Real estate for products on shelves, is huge people. Companies pay to put the products on shelves. We’ve seen it throughout other industries Caprice had a really unfortunate — miss a planned maintenance, and then they ended up with some sort of bacteria or listeria, I think it was in chocolate about 10 years ago. And the damage it did to their brand, it took them ages to get back. So it’s not just safety within the plan but its that really important consumer based safety as well.
Matt [00:13:32] Okay, Andy, that’s fantastic. Some incredible knowledge there from you. So then how so leading on from that, how would you recommend the best way to implement an effective maintenance plan?
Andy [00:13:45] Okay, so to implement anything that’s effective, you’ve got to have it based upon a known strategy. And again, like I said before, you’d be amazed how many people haven’t got a plan. So without one, you’ll you’ll definitely fail. I’ll prefer one that’s based on again, I’ll say reliability centered maintenance, it’s got to be set on a budget that is based upon the the assets criticality and the asset population. So I use some measures and I’ve seen them used effectively and other people’s measures as well. is you can get kind of an idea by saying it’s the capital asset replacement value percentage of that. So for instance, my car when I bought it was worth 20,000 pounds. So I paid 20,000 pounds for it. So if Renault it said, well, you’re going to have to pay 10% year for your maintenance 2000 pounds. I would have said no. I’m not buying it. But as it is when we look at cars, cars are really good because when we look at them, their an investment in the thing that gives us value and the maintenance doesn’t really cost a lot. It’s only a few percent. So yeah, make sure you know what your budget is against your assets. That’s always a problem for a lot of companies. And that criticality, and I’ll get involved in a lot, again, at PepsiCo, and with other clients, you will never know what to do maintenance wise or what you need spares wise, what you need in inventory, what skills you need, what predictive will work unless you know what you’ve got. So if you don’t ever look, and will be amazed, again, how many production facilities, when you say to them give me an asset list. They haven’t got a clue. They don’t know what they bought. They don’t know what it’s called. They don’t know what the lead time is on it. They don’t know its cost. There’s lots of dinos and what criticality does criticality takes an asset or plan, takes it down into its constituent parts and takes it down to component level, and ask questions about how easy is to for a hands on component, how much is the piece price. We’ve seen, obviously, the ramifications of supply chain we’ve had with the pandemic have been prevalent, not being able to get parts from the Far East. Now I’m hearing that containers have gone up by tenfold. So it used to be 1000 pounds, a ships container, it’s now 10,000 pound. And that price is just going through the roof. Over here, they’ve run out of containers is one thing. So it’s very important going back, you need to have a good team to implement it. To do that you either have to build those relationships, build that team, retain them, and you also have to have a lot of buy from operations. So as maintainers we’re providing a service to an operator. An operations, they’re not really interested in your equipment reliability, they’re interested in how many cars I can put out a day or how many turns I can ship. If you haven’t got a close relation with operations, it’s a world of pain, that one is. You have to be very fluid and flexible over time. So it’s no good putting a strategy in place and saying, right? that’s it, this is gonna work. You have to review it, and you have to go back in say six months. And you have to be very, very true to yourself and say, did it actually deliver what we expected on it?
Matt [00:17:43] Fantastic. And then so what do you think about software tools? Do you think they’re useful for managing maintenance activities?
Andy [00:17:52] I think they’re critical. But you will only ever get the best from them by supporting your end user. People sometimes go and buy some software, or say somebody from a C level or a middle management level — say this will be a really good tool for our maintenance guys or frontline operators to have? And then they go and purchase it or sign the subscription and ship it in. And then they just drop it. It’s parachuted – have that. And what happens is they then scratch their heads and say why aren’t they using it. Why aren’t they filling in the fields? Why aren’t they putting comments and dates in. And it’s because some of them will be too embarrassed even to ask, how do I use this thing? Because nobody ever trained to use it. So I have an example there when I went in somewhere, great software package, real top line predictive AI and machine learning package. Engineers didn’t know about it so there’s no point. So I spent some time with them, talking them through and said, don’t see this as a threat. they were seeing it as a threat. I said don’t see as a threat. It’s a tool. It’s always a tool. If you use it, it will make if your life better. So you can either ignore it and the management will say you’re not playing ball or engage with it. So yeah, software is very important. I do know of a company at the moment it’s huge company got over 25 years of database built up in a CMS that’s at its last legs. It’s got no support. So they’re having to move to a new enterprise system. We’re talking six, seven figure sums and years and lots of labour, lots of time, to be able to just transport what they’ve built up into something else that they’ve decided to go with and their business impact is massive. I think there’s gonna be ramifications out of that. So always be careful of the monster you build.
Matt [00:20:07] Okay? And so how do you see connected technologies, changing the way that we work in the future?
Andy [00:20:16] This is one of my things been working on for probably a decade now. And I often talk to people across different industries about these solutions. And I have been for the past few years, and nobody ever wanted to listen to me. So I’d go to these conferences and fairs and say, well, here’s probably a better way of doing this. And what’s really ignited it is things like the iPhone and the smartphone. So if you think about before, then we didn’t have cloud computing, we didn’t have a connected device. But as soon as we’ve gone to connected devices, or computers you can keep your pocket and a cloud connected technology, then all of these other tools become available to us. So CMS systems now — we’re seeing people having to go to a particular PC, and start filling in work orders in a room somewhere. That’s looking really old now. You should be running off on tablets, and at least a laptop. The other thing that I always talked about, and this was sort of past, say, three or four years is very slow on the uptake. So business is very conservative. It has long lead times to invest capital in things like this. So they’re almost tied by the way they work. And they always kind of discounted it for another day. I always thought demographics would make you just go to the moon because nearly all engineers are my age now so we’re getting near retirement, and there’s no cohort following. And all of the Western world and China, the demographic pyramids inverting. There are more and more people above the age of 40, then there are below the age of 40. So what happens is the workforce is shrinking. The technical workforce is going. We are gone. There was very few apprentices behind me in the late 70s. So we’re going to have to develop, develop people we’ve already got and fill the gap with technology. So the gap that’s left, we need a technological solution. And I think it’ll be demographics and there’s been a global pandemic. A global pandemic has become the catalyst for people to start listening. That’s what’s happened.
Matt [00:23:02] I mean, talking about technology, then what about a little bit more old school? What’s your take on using spreadsheets for maintenance management?
Andy [00:23:10] Spreadsheets, I think are always gonna be around whether we call them an Excel sheet or some other reporting tool. And if you think about as well, at a macro level, we’re probably always going to have a shared spreadsheet amongst people in the business, looking at the overall plan, the overall strategy or just reporting things to different different levels in the business. There is a place for a software automated solution in the offing somewhere. You’re always going to have that. And then there should always be different levels. So you probably have a fancy software solution or CMS in the same place as a spreadsheet. And if you have nothing, so I do go to businesses that still have pen and paper, if you have nothing and the spreadsheet is the first step to making it multi user and more friendly as a sharing platform. And if you start that way as well — tried it in my history, I used lots of spreadsheets. So I work with a big CMS system and condition monitoring tools. But why did I build my own spreadsheets because I wanted to track ROI on what was coming out of the predictive stuff. And I needed it in a in a quick access form, where I could access it quite quickly. I didn’t have to trawl through a whole CMS or do a crystal report or whatever you have to do to get to the information. So yeah, they’ll always be there I think.
Matt [00:24:53] So they are useful. And so moving on from the technology side of things, how do you use maintenance as a competitive advantage in business?
Andy [00:25:08] Yes, this is only our excuse. I know this is my field of interest but this is my main USP when I go and see somebody. So some people people think there’s no money available to be had out of maintenance, or the strategic approach of maintenance. And the dichotomy is, it’s probably one of only places that can get any value out of anymore. Everything else has been cut. Everything else has been cleaned out. Operators have been brought in to do technical roles. And you go into companies, and there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors involved in the way people report things like unplanned downtime. And they like to kind of slightly furnish the figures to make to fit to a KPI. But what they’re doing is they are happy with living with events driving their maintenance, rather than the maintenance driving their events. And that’s what the competitive advantage of a proactive predictive approach is. This often comes as a revelation, it’s almost like, what are you talking about? This is witchcraft, that there’s something that we haven’t seen that we can get to. So it doesn’t have to be this way. There’s improved performance, available within maintenance. And the analogy I always used — I’ll do some of these classes on reliabilities. Imagine you’ve got two businesses, and they’re in competition with each other. It could be auto manufacturers. Some auto manufacturers, I worked for Nissan, there are businesses within the business are competing with each other. So plants in Paris will be in competition with Washington. Because whoever wins the game of reliability, gets the new model. So if you imagine you’ve got these two companies that have got 10%, unplanned downtime, so 10% of whatever they do, they can’t run, because there’s something broken. The one that can half that to 5% is going to be way ahead of the other one, because it takes a long time to engage that and it takes quite a long time, it takes years to get to halving an unplanned downtime, kind of history. And once you’re head, you’re ahead. They can’t catch up. There’s no way because it takes time and time is finite, they’ll never catch up. So straightaway, your competitive advantage is baked in the maths in that and its inconvertible. You can’t make time. So what happens then is when that company starts getting, say, five 6%, unplanned downtime. They start making a plan for 1% or 2% because they’ve seen it work. And they’ll find that funds will run into maintenance. The funds will find a place where it adds value. And as soon as the funds run into maintenance, that will drive it down to that single 1% or 2% unplanned downtime, and the game is over for the competition then. The game is over. If you’re making cars or planes and it’s costing, you know, 20% more to make them than your competitor, then you’re out of business. So not only is it a competitive advantage, you can actually put other businesses out of the picture. We talked before this as well about people think maintenance is just about looking after things and fixing them, and that there’s no other benefits. But the benefits run throughout the whole of the business. So from rework to scrappage rate to components lost to labor loss. And if you have labor loss, I’ve said time is finite. So you’ll never get time back. And the thing is, once our business has moved into that space, they’re in control. You know, it’s a really nice place to be if you’re in control. You know what’s going to happen.
Matt [00:29:41] Wonderful. Well, you know, you’ve obviously got an incredible amount of experience and knowledge from all the things that you’ve said. So, I mean, what are your top three tips then for our listeners on effective maintenance?
Andy [00:29:57] Yeah. Well, I’d go back to start with a strategy. So it’s got to be a strategy that’s aligned to delivering the business goals. Because some people often forget that internally, they’re trying to say change their maintenance strategy, and they lose sight of what they’re there for in the first place. So know you’re there in the first place to carry out maintenance. You’re there in the first place to carry as little maintenance as possible. A maintenance engineer that is sitting down, doing proactive work, waiting for things to go wrong, is successful. And this is, again, another really — ruins throughout all industries — people that save things when they’re broken, are treated like heroes. But people work in proactive and predictive spaces of engineering, we’re invisible. We’re the invisible ones. If we come up with a solution that saves the company 10s or hundreds of 1000s of pounds or dollars, it only gets remembered once. But the reactive engineer who comes in and saves the day, day in day out, they’re given plaudits. It’s completely skewed. Measure the deliverables. So make sure if you’re going to measure something, make sure that the deliverables you’re going to measure to a set standard. Don’t fudge the figures Don’t pretend it something else. There’s 24 hours in a day. There’s 60 minutes in an hour. There aren’t 45 minutes in an hour. You can’t take, you know, plan downtime out and break times. Well it only went down 15 minutes so we won’t count that. They have to be real figures, else, you’ll just end up fooling yourself. The third one love to look at what maintenance is, what it says in the dictionary. So maintenance is looking after, caring for things. RCM actually states, if you look in the book, that it’s insuring physical assets continue to do what their users want them to do. So that’s the end all of maintenance. There’s nothing fancy about it. There’s no fix in maintenance. It doesn’t talk about fixing in maintenance. And yet, if you ask anybody that’s involved in engineering or anybody who doesn’t know about engineering, ask them what a maintenance man does. So I work with STEM with kids in schools. I’ve done it for over a year now, because of the pandemic. But I go there and I’m there as an engineer. And I say what do maintenance engineers do? And every kid says they fix things. They fix cars, they put tires on cars, they put exhausts on cars, they fix things. And I say, no they don’t. We don’t fix things. We make your lives better. The iPhone in your pocket was designed by a British engineer. The car you came to work on was designed by a multinational that’s based in Solihull. The bridge you went over or the plane you went on holiday, all of these things, engineers and maintenance people look after. Occasionally, we have to fix things. And that’s when the strategy is wrong. So if we ever have to fix things time and time again, we’re in a place where we haven’t planned that that’s just a real big waste of time. So coming out of that, that tip would be we’ve got to change the conversation from reactive and fixing things to being proactive and predictive, and stopping things from breaking in the first place.
Matt [00:33:46] Well, thank you very much for that. And and so to wrap this up in a nice bow, what’s your favorite saying or quote on maintenance?
Andy [00:33:55] There’s lots that I like from maintenance quotes. Well, I usually refer to people like W. Edwards Deming, who was a statistician. So I like some of the things he said. In fact, I quoted him earlier on. But the other one that I kind of looked at, I thought yes, that one… it is attributed to Albert Einstein, but apparently he never said it. I think Twain Mark said it or it comes from a Chinese proverb. And it says the definition of insanity is doing something over and over and expecting a different result. I’ve got one myself. I didn’t know it was attributed to anybody. I shared it a few years ago, and I do talk about it when I speak to engineers. I say that quality maintenance is worthless if it’s the wrong maintenance. If you’re doing the wrong maintenance, you can be the top quality maintenance, but it’s not worth anything. So both of those two refer to things that go on in a lot of manufacturing facilities, doing the same thing over and over expecting things to get better. And also carrying out planned maintenance to a high standard that actually it doesn’t affect anything. If anything, it makes the asset break sooner rather than later.
Matt [00:35:22] Well, thanks for being on the show today. And you’ve dropped some amazing information and advice for our listeners that I’m sure they are going to highly appreciate. So if any of you guys out there listening want to get in touch with Andy directly, you can message him via LinkedIn, or you can go to uptimeconsultant.co.uk. And Andy helps businesses and people in all sectors regarding maintenance. So with an emphasis on overall equipment, effectiveness, supporting criticality, lubrication, condition monitoring, RCM, RCA, and a host of other proactive and predictive techniques.
Andy [00:36:10] And I really enjoy interactions. I’ve got lots of people I interact with all around the world. And I’ve got a learning platform that I put a course on. I give them to anybody that wants to interact with it. Because I used to get lots of people in the Far East wanting me to go to Pakistan or India or Korea to train them, and I said, I can’t. Time is finite. I’m here in the UK. Tell you what I’ll do. I’ll share some of these top line stuff on a platform where if you’ve got a signal, you can take it for free. And I’m a big believer in — there’s not enough people that give away stuff for free. We should be freely giving everything. If you look at my reliability, I’m probably six tenths through my lifespan. That’s the thing that businesses find as well is they can’t retain knowledge. It walks out the door. So it’s becoming more of a problem as engineers do walk out the door with that tacit knowledge they’ve got in their heads. So with that in mind, I’m actually talking to a publisher on writing a book about sharing the tacit knowledge and talking real not just about the methodology, the ABC, but what really goes on in manufacturing plants.
Matt [00:37:44] Well, thanks again for for being on the show. And thank you guys for tuning in again and listening to another episode of the Comparesoft podcast and that’s a wrap. We will see you guys on the next show. Thanks very much.
Outro: [00:37:58] This podcast is presented by Comparesoft. We recommend CMMS an asset management software. 1500 maintenance experts from GE, Siemens Transport for London and numerous small and medium businesses have used compares off to shortlist and compare cmms an asset management software. Visit comparesoft.com to shortlist the best CMMS software for your needs.