April 22, 2015

In case one hasn’t been paying attention, there are big changes taking place in industrial skills training today.

One significant trend is toward competency and accountability. Clearly competency-based courseware with integrated measuring capabilities will be recognized and used as tools for reaching those goals.

Another change is the impending fall of the wall between business and education. That wall has separated the two sectors for many years, but the pressure of global economic competition is leading many to plan for that barrier’s demise. The historical separation between business and that sector of the educational system responsible for the 75% or so of high school students who are not likely to earn a college baccalaureate degree is beginning to narrow.

The third change involves the adoption of media-rich training programs, delivered online. These programs communicate with the trainees in a learning culture they more readily accept —- full-motion video, animated graphics and optional word-for-word audio, all necessary to communicate with the 40% who do not assimilate anything written above the 4th grade reading level.

Most importantly, is the major change taking place in the historical practice of maintenance training. We are rapidly moving from a traditional maintenance mindset to a more useful understanding of reliability-centered maintenance.

To better understand the shift in emphasis that is occurring in our industrial sector today, let me quote from “The Seven Questions of Reliability Centered Maintenance” by Bill Keeter and Doug Plucknette:

The Goal of Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM)

The primary goal of Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) should therefore be to insure that the right maintenance activity is performed at the right time with the right people, and that the equipment is operated in a way that maximizes its opportunity to achieve a reliability level that is consistent with the safety, environmental, operational, and profit goals of the organization. This is achieved by addressing the basic causes of system failures and ensuring that there are organizational activities designed to prevent them, predict them, or mitigate the business impact of the functional failures associated with them.

The Seven Questions of RCM

There are seven basic questions used to help practitioners determine the causes of system failures and develop activities targeted to prevent them. The questions are designed to focus on maintaining the required functions of the system.

1. What are the functions of the asset?
2. In what way can the asset fail to fulfill its functions?
3. What causes each functional failure?
4. What happens when each failure occurs?
5. What are the consequences of each failure?
6. What should be done to prevent or predict the failure?
7. What should be done if a suitable proactive task cannot be found?

All of these changes hold great promise. Industrial skills training is more vital today than it has ever been. A reliability mindset coupled with a media-rich training environment hold great promise.

More on Monday – – –

— Bill Walton, co-Founder ITC Learning (Mondays & Wednesdays)