Behind the Scenes

EP Editorial Staff | February 1, 2001


Robert C. Baldwin, CMRP, Editor

I continue to be amazed by what goes on behind the scenes in business, even within industries with which I am familiar. Every activity has its specialized vocabulary and processes, and I enjoy learning about them. Perhaps that is why I became an editor, to get an opportunity to peek behind the curtain to see what’s going on.

The output of many endeavors, great as they may appear from the user side, can’t be appreciated fully without some understanding of what went into them. That is again being demonstrated to me as I work backstage with members of the professional certification committee of the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP). I’m learning about the vocabulary, software, and processes of testing and what it takes to develop a program to assess and certify competency in the field of reliability and maintenance.

The committee, which is expected to become the SMRP Certifying Organization, is developing the content and infrastructure of a program for certifying maintenance and reliability managers. An important element of our last meeting was a half-day seminar by our consulting psycometrician. We were introduced to the testing community’s vocabulary: items (questions) include stem options (multiple choices) made up of one key (correct choice) and several distracters (incorrect choices).


We used specialized software to analyze the beta test given at the SMRP conference last fall in Cleveland. It tracks everything from frequency distribution of test scores to point-biserial values for individual items to flag bad questions.

The agenda included work on questions, as well as the development of infrastructure and processes that are congruent with values promulgated by National Organization for Competency Assurance.

The most important element of the process is the definition of capabilities to be tested and certified. SMRP has published a list of capabilities that the committee believes are important to successful equipment reliability, maintenance, and asset management operations. It is available through the “capabilities inventory” link near the end of the first overview article on the certification page.

The capabilities inventory details skills in five broad categories: Business and management, people, equipment reliability, manufacturing process reliability, and work management.

This list can provide the basis for taking your company leadership behind the scenes of reliability and maintenance activity. And, possibly, the basis for you to gauge what you need to develop before you invite them to peek behind the curtain. MT





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