From Our Perspective: Ol’ Dependable
EP Editorial Staff | April 22, 2014
By Ken Bannister, Contributing Editor
If you, like me, are a viewer of the many wonderful public-broadcasting TV stations that are available, you may have come across a British Broadcasting Corporation program called Heartbeat. Set in the Yorkshire countryside of the 1960s, it depicts life in a small town from the local Bobbie’s (policeman’s) perspective. I love this program because it reflects the England of my youth—and I particularly enjoy recognizing the old cars, trucks and motorcycles from yesteryear.
Yorkshire is where my father was born. Living in Lancashire, our family regularly traveled deep into the Yorkshire countryside with him, driving across the tiny roads of the Pennine hills (we called them mountains). What was then a four- to five-hour journey has been reduced to less than two hours by today’s super-slab motorway!
Growing up, I knew we were lucky to own a car: a 1950s green Morris Minor, license plate #WJA 41. (Funny how you remember such things, isn’t it?) We used to call it “Ol’ Dependable.” It wasn’t a joke. Today, we think nothing of casually jumping into our cars or trucks and driving for hours to our chosen destinations. It wasn’t like that in the good old days!
I vividly remember helping my Dad prepare “Ol’ Dependable” for our Pennine “mountain” adventures: We would change the engine oil; check the other fluids and top them off; check the fan- and generator-belt conditions and tension; pump up the tires; grease the steering and driveshaft bearing points; and check the brake linings. Then we would go for a spin. My father’s maintenance diligence, among other things, was the real reason that our car and he were both known as “Ol’ Dependable.”
Dependability is a desirable quality in a person, organization, process or machine. Dependability conjures up thoughts of trust, reliability and always being there to do the right thing. It’s an old word, not heard often enough today. That will soon change. As readers of MT&AP may already know, in February of this year, the International Standards Organization (ISO) released its first-ever world standard for asset management and asset-management systems (maintenance): ISO 55000. This standard collectively refers to Availability, Reliability, Maintainability and Maintenance Support under the heading “Dependability.”
The International Electrotechnical Vocabulary defines dependability as the “ability to perform as and when required.” Australia’s Asset Management Council expands on that definition by stating, “[dependability] is a descriptor for elements pertaining to reliability, maintainability and their myriad of sub-elements.”
It’s only fitting, therefore, that a quality maintenance department should be viewed as “Ol’ Dependable.” Furthermore, any quality maintenance or asset-management departments that build their asset-management programs utilizing a “best-practice” approach laid out in the ISO 55000 or PAS 55 standards are better able to prove their dependability through their ability to more easily assess and measure their level of maintenance support. This is achieved through tracking performance indicators that roll up into the Dependability deliverable. The key indicators are: Availability, which looks at the total percentage of time the asset is in an operational state to perform when required by a user; Reliability, which measures performance security by calculating the Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF)—the less failure, the longer the mean time, the more reliable the asset; Maintainability, which reflects the ease and speed at which maintenance responds to a service request, and how long it takes to restore the asset operation once a failure has occurred as measured by the Mean Time To Respond/Repair (MTTR) and the First Time Repair Quality (FTRQ).
We should all be so fortunate to be known as “Ol’ Dependable” in one or more aspects of our lives. The same holds true, if not more so, for our equipment assets. Good Luck! MT&AP