We previously discussed in this series, Acoustic Lubrication Implementation – Part 3 – 4 Tips to Assemble the Right Team. In this follow-up blog, we will discuss The Right Data.


Opinion should spark your ideas, but data should direct your decisions​”​

I promised it is time to touch technology in Part 4. Well, I lied a little. Let us delay pressing buttons for a moment because there is an important job to do before that, like take data in your hands and make the correct action plan. I am sure that by now you have a clear picture, a clear idea about your target, the vision of achievable benefits, and an excellent team. That’s just great, but you need to back it up with data. You also need to move from where you are right now to where you want to be, and for that, you need a plan.

To make an effective plan–you need data.

With no intentions to sow pessimism, but only being completely honest from this moment on, every single thing can go wrong if you become overconfident. Not a time for a victory lap yet. Get data.

Evaluate your current practice

  • What is being done?
  • Where is the evidence that it is good or bad?
  • How does it affect assets?
  • What is the outcome of current practice?
  • How are decisions made?
  • Who makes them?
  • Who is responsible?
  • Who is in command?
  • How do communication channels look like?
  • Is there a discipline,
  • What is the interconnection between departments: Lubrication, Purchase, CM, Maintenance, Reliability, and Operations.

There are two main reasons (among others) to do this:

  • The change will be effective and optimized only if you know what exactly needs to be changed and why. That is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of data
  • You need to establish starting point with crystal clear evaluation in all languages – downtime, spare parts, maintenance hours, overtime, unplanned work, product quality issues, missed delivery target issues, and money. Only with a clear starting point will you be able to create useful leading and lagging KPIs to steer your journey

Set up a clear goal

You need to know where you want to go. What is your target? As much as it seems painfully clear, do not get lulled by thinking that it is so obvious, because it is not. Specific industries in specific companies in specific situations can have a completely different set of goals that do not necessarily align with what your opinion tells you. What is the target of your organization? Will your activity bring your organization closer to that target and how? Zero lubrication-related failures is an excellent goal, but how exactly does it serve business targets? Get the data that connects your zero lubrication-related failures and business target and out a number on it. That very number, that should be your target, that is what you can do for your organization.

Using the same metrics as in current practice evaluation is a good way to do it as it can be easily compared and monitored, but still, connect it with the business target. Be very specific with data.

Identify gap value

In simple words, gap value is evaluated differently between your current practice and your goal. This is exactly the value of your initiative, the added value. Call it a business opportunity. Your program will do “that”, is “that” enough? Does “that” justify investment and effort? Is it worth doing?

I think it is, but that is an opinion. Get the data, numbers. Note that there ARE situations when even the best initiatives do not bring an actual added value to the organization. If there is no value, there is no point in activating the program. If the value is not identified, it does not exist, as simple as that. Once you have your data in your hands; when you have exact added value expressed in business targets terms, you can sell your program to top management with all dots connected.

value expressed in business target dots

Collect asset data

  • Identify your assets – The first step is to collect data from your master asset list and familiarize yourself with it
  • Perform FMEA, RCA, CA, failure history – This is a highly important and valuable step that will give you a “medical record” of your asset. Each following step needs this data. What will be your data collection interval? what failure modes are there? what are their symptoms? what about consequences, likelihood, what is history data telling you? how often lubrication comes up as the root cause? what about bad actors? This step tells you what needs to be done, when, and how. All mentioned data is probably in hands of a Reliability engineer, some in hands of Condition Monitoring. In case those two departments do not exist, you need to do it yourself.
  • Set priorities – medium, high, low – The outcome of the previous task will give you priority from a Lubrication standpoint. Although you should focus on high criticality assets immediately, it would be a good idea to make your first steps on medium criticality assets. Give your team a chance to “warm-up” and get confidence before putting high responsibility on their shoulders. Call it a “soft license to fail” and move to high criticality after that.
  • Tightly cooperate with CM Team – The flow of information between Lubrication and Condition Monitoring is more than interdepartmental communication, it is an essential need, natural symbiosis.

Getting the right data, a step I roughly explained here, makes your future activities focused on the right things in the right way. Following opinion and passion often leads to frustration because reality is much different than what we would all like to do. Your resources are not endless, on the contrary, they are very limited, and you need to be very careful how you use them. Time, people, tools, they all need to be sent to the battles where rewards are highest. That is how value is added.

Watch our 5-Step Acoustic Lubrication Procedure motion graphic for an effective way to grease your bearings right and brings you one step closer to best practices for your lubrication program.

Thank you Haris Trobradović with SDT Ultrasound Solutions for sharing this informative article with us!

Filed under:
by Diana Pereda