that are outsourced certainly
have some notable advantages. In general,
there is no quicker way to get a program off
the ground and producing quality results than
outsourcing it to a dedicated CBM supplier.
The development and implementation phases
of the process are usually extremely efficient
because suppliers are selected based on their
experience in building programs from the
your program, however, has its
own limitations. When the CBM programs are
not operated by in-house personnel, it can become
challenging to create the natural checks
and balances that are required for effective
and efficient use of the information coming
from the CBM program.
CBM supplier could be producing excellent
results in terms of identification of component
defects. However, when there isn’t anyone internally
to own the program and use the data
in a meaningful way, there is the chance that
information sits idle. The CBM data begins to
spoil because it has a limited time span during
which it is useful. Another potential problem
with outsourced programs is that the CBM
program has no internal ownership.
There must be
buy-in from people all along the chain
of command - from frontline trades workers
to the executive level.
CBM programs can fail
and do fail from the lack of buy-in at one level
or another within the company.
hybrid programs have the potential
to offer “the best of both worlds”.
of programs combine the on-site leadership
of the CBM supplier and the company‘s
internal manpower to staff it or some other
The hybrid program overcomes
many of the limitations of both in-house and
outsourced scenarios when both internal
company personnel and external supplier leaders
are involved at the lowest level.
management attitudes toward the
CBM program can limit the success of hybrid
programs. Historically, many plant supervisors
don’t see the CBM program as valuable
and necessary, instead viewing the reassignment
of “their” crafts people as the equivalent
of “losing” them. A competition for the
company’s crafts people can then develop,
which can create a roadblock to the success of the
program. When additional resources and
people are needed for overtime hours, breakdowns,
emergency repairs, plant turnarounds
and vacation relief, CBM techs are pulled over
to do what is perceived as more “valuable”
Ideas on How
to Make the Right Choice
How do you
decide what program is right the
choice for your company?
What factors are
important to consider?
These are excellent
questions, so let’s dig to find the answers.
decisions about the right CBM
program for your company you must have one
overriding purpose and goal.
The purpose of
the program is that it must deliver high quality
outputs that are an accurate assessment of
the known health condition for all the critical
assets in the facility.
The goal of the program
is to deliver accurate recommendations to correct
root cause health defects of these assets.
starts with how best to deliver
on the above purpose. Here are several factors
overall size and complexity
2. Amount of
of plant locations
of plant size
5. CBM core
Availability of competent CBM resources
in the region
7. Ability to
give non-biased view of the
health of assets
amount of plants, diversity of
plant locations and diversity of facility sizes
are the first four factors to consider.
regarding which type of CBM program
is appropriate for your company will depend
on these specific situations.
Let’s use these
3 scenarios as examples of how to select the
program that best suits your company.
company with one or more large
By large we mean that the Replacement
Asset Value (RAV) exceeds 100 million
US dollars per plant.
The plant(s) may be
located in remote areas, which means finding
qualified CBM service providers may present a
These factors may force the facility
or facilities to be self-sufficient. In this case,
the best choice is to commit to leading and
managing an In-house CBM program.
choice may be the hybrid program where
the internal people collect the data for the
CBM program, and an external CBM service
provider does the analysis, perhaps through
Because there may be
significant challenges to source and keep CBM
talent, the last choice would be to outsource
the entire program to a CBM expert company.
company that has one or many
medium to small size facilities in a region or
regions of the world.
For example, facility
sizes are all less than 100 million in RAV.
Since there is a smaller amount of equipment
at each facility, buying CBM equipment for
each of these smaller facilities might not make
economic sense. In other words, because
of the potentially low utilization rate of the
equipment, it might not make sense to invest
in equipment for each facility.
the corresponding low utilization of the CBM
skills, it may be difficult to keep qualified
internal CBM analysts at each facility.
combination of these factors probably eliminate
the choice of an in- house program.
scenario, the best choices are most likely
an outsourced or hybrid program.
company that is a very large
global company with many facilities in many
In addition to the large size of the
company, the diversity of size among plants
adds another layer of complexity. Less than
20 % of the plants are greater than $100 Million in
replacement asset value, with some reaching as high as a
billion dollars. Another 40% of the plants range in size
from $100 Million down to $25 Million. This leaves the
remaining 40% of the plants at less than $25 Million in
replacement asset value. The diversity in size, locations
and complexity of this situation makes any kind of
company-wide CBM initiative a very complex challenge.
Additionally, the company’s corporate leadership may want a
standardized condition monitoring program for each site so
consistent comparisons and benchmarking can be accomplished
This example is really a blend
of the first two scenarios. Several companies
in industry with these parameters have chosen
to outsource the program with suppliers who
specialize and have a “core competency” in
condition monitoring. This allows a consistent
high-quality CBM program to be used in
all facilities, regardless of size or location.
before final decisions on CBM
program approach is decided, it is prudent to
consider the last several factors:
competency” is a vital decision
point. What is core competency? We think
Jim Collins, in his book “Good to Great”,
defines it best by calling core competency
the company’s “Hedgehog”.
of Hedgehog is “a simple, crystalline concept
that flows from deep understanding about the
intersection of three key dimensions:
1. At what you
can be best in the world
2. What drives your
3. What you
are deeply passionate about.”
some key questions to ask, and
answer, before embarking on a CBM program
1. Do your
company’s leaders in business,
operations or maintenance have extensive
knowledge of all the PdM technologies
available? Do you offer your maintenance
leadership advanced training or knowledge
to successfully lead a best practice CBM
program? Do they “eat, sleep and breath”
2. Does your
company have time to learn and
experiment with CBM? Companies are
faced with implementing many other elements
of the maintenance and reliability
process – are you willing to
dedicate manpower to a CBM program? When
there is an internal need to build
and improve planning and scheduling
systems, assemble spare part kits for job
completion, improve Root Cause Analysis
systems, improve spare parts inventory
control and improve crafts skills dramatically,
you can get buried with these other
highly important issues that will prevent
your doing both simultaneously.
technologies are highly technical
and the analysts need advanced training
and experience - the more the better.
the analyst have proper prerequisites
(i.e. background education and
motivation) before embarking on a career
of CBM learning.
Many In-house CBM
programs do not have the ability to choose
the right person for this job due to plant
work rules, lack of the proper personnel
and sometimes selection criteria that is not
well thought out.
Great CBM analysts
are developed from people with the proper
background and motivation, continuing
education, testing, and years of full time
experience under a seasoned mentor.
CBM program attracts and
keeps personnel with these characteristics.
4. Since CBM
may not be a company’s core
competency, the company may not have
a career path for analysts to progress in
skills and responsibilities.
they may not respond well when employees
need to move from one geographical
location to another.
programs pay people significantly under
market value and the aggressive,
leave after they have gained ample
training and experience.
programs never mature past novice level
since the CBM talent leaves once trained.
factor to consider is the availability
of finding and retaining qualified, certified
CBM analysts in varied regions of the world.
today is that this can be a major
challenge. There is a shortage of qualified
and certified analysts in several regions of the
situation has opened up a market
for the possibility of unqualified companies
and/or people filling this void.
It is imperative
that sourcing decisions are made by evaluating
CBM program value, benefits and the quality
of deliverables instead of just the cost of
Buyers need to be educated on
technologies so that costly mistakes
are not made by selecting inferior products
Decisions based on program cost
alone may produce undesired and unwanted
element to consider is the need for a
“3rd party independent review” of a company’s
and facility’s asset health.
For the best
results, a company should have a corporate
maintenance and reliability organization to
develop standards for machinery health by individual
This is important so
the valid machinery defects can be alarmed by
the appropriate technologies and so the root
causes of equipment defects can be identified
by CBM analysts.
This M&R organization is
needed to have consistent asset health
results that are comparable between plants
within a company.
In our experience, facilities
that complete their own asset health reports
do so very optimistically and, therefore, do
not recognize and/or acknowledge all of the
equipment defects that exist.
In other words,
some sites fail to face the brutal facts of their
Although this is less likely
with a 3rd party review, outsourced
CBM analysts can sometimes be put under
extreme pressure at some companies/facilities to
relax the standards, or not report in the required way. This
causes friction at the facility. Many times though, a 3rd
party view of a facility’s equipment health is viewed much
more positively from outside entities such as insurance
companies, regulatory agencies, and other interested
Whether in our personal
lives or our professional careers, trust is at the heart of
all relationship transactions. Trust can act as a
multiplier, thus increasing the effectiveness and efficiency
of an encounter. Mistrust or lack of trust can be the root
cause of slow moving and ineffective encounters.
Trust doesn’t simply
affect how we feel about a person or a company; it also
affects how we interact with them. Remember, our actions
are the results of thoughts, which are the results of
feelings. Our feelings are the by-product of processing
events that happen around us and to us through the mental
and emotional filters we all have.
Stephen R. Covey from the book The Speed of Trust – in all
relationships, either personal or professional: as trust
increases, speed increases and costs decrease. Conversely,
as trust decreases, speed decreases and costs increase. So
what is an example of trust being a multiplier and not a
divisor? A personal example might be that as a result of
trusting a friend’s driving directions, we don’t have to
waste time double checking their accuracy. Therefore, as a
result of trust, the encounter went smoother and quicker
than it would if you had received directions from another
A business example might be a CBM solution
provider. There are numerous places where a trust based
relationship is mandatory for the rapid development of
increased effectiveness and efficiency not otherwise
possible with an un-trusted solution provider. Some
– The ability to co-develop corporate
standards requires a great deal of trust. Allowing a
solution provider to literally help “decide policy” can only
come from a fundamental belief that they have your company’s
best interest in mind. In terms of CBM, this would manifest
itself by allowing the CBM Team to own the technology
standards and implement Management of Change (MOC) for
modifications to the standards.
- The ability to provide your CBM supplier
with access to CMMS and process data requires a tremendous
amount of trust
– without it, their ability to analyze the
data will be severely hampered. Repair and performance
history are vital parts of a comprehensive analysis
strategy. Preventing a CBM analyst from gaining access sets
the tone up front that a level of mistrust exists.
– Being a beta test site for new
methods, new process flows and work procedures requires
trust – some innovations will fail to deliver the
anticipated or even desired results. When this occurs, the
absence of trust will readily be seen in the finger pointing
session that typically occurs in environments where
collaboration isn’t encouraged and valued.
– Trust must be at all levels. Any outside
CBM provider must also be capable of building trust with the
workforce, not just trust with the corporate level. The CBM
analyst has to trust and be trusted by the supervisors and
craft personnel. The CBM manager has to trust and be trusted
by engineering and management. Without trust at all levels,
it is much more difficult for the CBM program to produce
meaningful results, and it will never reach its full
potential for the company.
In summary, choosing the best CBM option is
imperative for a company to be successful in the maintenance
and reliability improvement process. Careful evaluation and
review of the options and factors need to be understood for
your company’s situation. No matter which option is
selected, in-house, contracted or hybrid, a relationship
with a solution provider will be required, even if for a
That relationship must be a relationship
built on trust. And, like collaboration, relationships built
on trust must be born of mutual respect. Trust based
relationship mean that traditional market surveys or cost
plus mentality do not apply. It is about mutually agreeing
on a goal, negotiating compensation for that contribution
and working together to monitor the process, driving
unnecessary costs of doing business out, and, if the model
isn’t working, being open to modifications along the way.