Why traditional reliability training is so poor at delivering high reliability in your operation

Give me a list of all the plant and equipment assets in your operation you want to be highly reliable, and we’ll build a Plant Wellness Way training solution to always get you world class reliablity and operational excellence success


Dear Mike,

I work for an asphalting company and am looking for a suitable reliability training course for this type of work. Our plants are required to be productive around the clock.

My quest is to establish a training system or package best suited to our asphalt maintenance regime. I would be intetested in a suggested course content and module progression from your company.

The make up of our plant and equipment is as noted below. All our plants are fairly standard.

  • Cold material storage
  • Cold material conveyors
  • Burner/driers
  • Hot bucket elevators
  • Pug mill
  • Hot storage
  • 415v motors
  • Bearings and gearboxes
  • Bitumen storage (hot)

The problem that has presented itself to me is one of reliability. I am a mobile plant manager, pavers, transfer vehicles, profilers, stabilisers, etc.

We have had fixed plant maintenance issues and I have been asked to take over the fixed plant maintenance. No real problems with that.

However I see the improving developments in plant maintenance throughout the world and this has prompted me to look a little wider for solutions.

I am looking for a practical approach to plant maintenance education. My back ground is in aircraft maintenance—plenty of systems that function extremely well.

My thoughts are to have the existing course components you already provide and have my people complete in the following order.

  • Reliability centred maintenance modules
  • Root cause analysis modules
  • Preventive maintenance modules
  • Predictive maintenance modules
  • Applied reliability improvement modules
  • Plant Wellness Way modules

Mike, what are your thoughts on this process please? I would like to see this reliability training work, as it may provide a path for maintenance management training in a wider area for our company.

Kind Regards, Dennis



Hi Dennis,

I wish all operations and maintenance managers were as aware of how reliability is created and sustained as you are. Clearly your background in the aircraft industry has given you the right understandings.

I’m all for the engineering, maintenance and reliability education you suggest. Provided the right knowledge and insights were transferred and practiced it would make a big improvement to an industrial plant’s performance. The challenge is how to do that in a reasonable time and cost.

If I look at this situation as a businessman who has to justify to investors the value gained from creating a business to deliver what you want, I would need to see a solution that can be easily resourced and turns a good profit within a short time.

You are only the second manager in nine years to ask for the right sort of reliability training for their employees. As much as you are correct, it is not a very big market on which to build a business. This is the dilemma I face in providing you with the training you want. I have thought often about doing want you suggest. I even went as far as looking at how to establish Cert IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma reliability training. The suite of courses was to be called Plant Reliability Management. If you wish, I can send you a spread sheet by email attachment with the units I had planned to put in the Plant Reliability Management training courses. But always I stop when I look at the investment justification.

There are other options available which could address your workforce reliability training needs, two of them are explained below.

1) You can go to a suitable Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and see if they will provide the specific training you outlined in your email. Within the national training system there are units of competency an RTO can assemble together to deliver the training you require. The benefits of going through an RTO is those people who complete the course get a nationally recognised certificate; the RTO provides a complete training solution; once the course is developed it is always available for new employees to do.

2) You can also use the iLearnReliability approach for onsite training of your people via the Internet. They have a webpage, http://www.mobiusinstitute.com/site2/landing.asp?LinkID=102, and this video link gives you a quick overview of the concept https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6M-wSvYDG5E. Now that iLearnReliability exists it is going to be even harder for my business to justify developing an equivalent training solution. Anyway, I would never do what RTO’s and iLearnReliability offer, as I do not believe they are the training solution industry needs.

There is third option for you, the Plant Wellness Way, which is nothing like the standard approach to getting the reliability you want for your plant an equipment.

Training organisations like RTO’s and iLearnReliability all presume that reliability training causes reliability in the workplace. The reliability and maintenance training your people get is broad and general and never expert knowledge. They come out of a course with lots of interesting information, but they have no directly applicable reliability solutions to your business needs. This is how the entire world of education teaches us and it produces the reliability situation you have at your company, which is the same results across industry world-wide. I suspect that doing more reliability training like it has always been done is not going to fix your reliability problems. Only correct knowledge and right practices used on your plant and equipment will get the reliability and uptime success you want.

It is right knowledge and the best practices in use that gets world class reliability. General and broad reliability training cannot bring reliability success. Only the right things done the right way to produce the right results can get the plant and equipment reliability you seek. That knowledge and practice must be systematically used by the person performing the work. In my view the best way to do that is to imbed the right information, necessary skills and best answers into the procedures your people follow. Instead of doing training in general content and hope your people sort out what is proper to do and apply it correctly on the job, you will instead train your people in the imbedded proper knowledge and right tasks within their procedures so they deliver world class performance as normal practice.

That is the Plant Wellness Way (PWW). We take your procedures and strip them down, then rebuild them with the correct knowledge and right practices at every stage. Your procedures have imbedded links to the necessary knowledge explained, to videos showing the right way, to whatever information is needed to do a task right-first-time. When a person knows the procedure they only access the ITP checklist, but when they need to know more about how to do a great job, then all the best, right answers are in the full procedure available right at their fingertips.

For specific skills, like balancing, alignment, precision measurement, and the like, we put your people through the approriate training in those skills. In the procedure we provide links back to eduational content should the situation arises when they need a reminder or refresher on the right knowledge and the right methods to use.

It is my belief that if you take the traditional path of training people first you will get little reliability success, none of it sustainable for long. But if you take the path of building your system first and training your people only on what is needed to run the system brilliantly, you will get great success because it is part of your company’s DNA and so will naturally produce fantastic performance, forevermore.

If you want to take the PWW route let me know and we can start with a trial procedure for you to test.


All the best to you,

Mike Sondalini
Managing Director
Lifetime Reliability Solutions HQ

The CEO, Executive, Manager, and Engineer Who Wants Their Enterprise Asset Management and Maintenance Systems to Get World Class Reliability and New Profits

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