Haris: Hello, Martin, how are you?

Martin: Very good, thank you, and yourself?

Haris: Excellent. Excellent, as usual.

Martin: Good.

Haris: So, we discussed a question in the last three episodes about varnish. And it seems that it was pretty good because the guy who has the question was very happy with the answers. And, we are having a new question today. But okay, to be honest, this one is anonymous.

Martin: Right

Haris: Not for me, I know who it is.

Martin: Sorry, remind me who you are.

Haris: So, but I was kindly asked to leave it anonymous for the moment. But still, there is a problem. There is a person with a problem, there is a person who needs an opinion. So, let’s help him. And here’s the question. We have a lot of problems caused by poor Lubrication practice. But I do not have support from the management to do something about it. Even some of my colleagues strongly resist the improvements. As much as I’m determined to improve it, unfortunately, my enthusiasm has limits. If I had a penny, every time I heard this.

Martin: Yeah.

Haris: So, it’s an interesting topic, isn’t it?

Martin: Yeah. How do you convince management? How do you convince your colleagues about something that you’ve had that lightbulb moment? You know, what needs to be done, but it’s helping turn on the light bulb for everybody else?

Haris: Yeah. Well, should I start?

Martin: Yeah, sure.

Haris: Okay, so first of all, I can see, I can see that we can do something about this first sentence, “We have lots of problems caused by lubrication practice”. In what language? Are there some numbers attached to those problems? Because if there is a problem, then there will be a solution. But you cannot define something a problem if nobody else understands it as a problem. So, what I see as a first step is to be absolutely clear, what is the problem, create a picture about that problem, and then translate it in several languages. Because if you, if you try to speak about friction, contamination, and this and that to your management, I’m not surprised that there is no any, any support. That problem needs to be strictly, strictly defined in the language of the person you’re addressing it to. So, if you want support from the management, that problem needs to have some numbers attached to it. So that means it costs us that much. It has an effect on environment, that much, it has effect on safety of people that much. And at the end of the day, we are losing that much product. That’s the language I would use to speak with management. So, it requires some homework to be done. That means look at the problem. Great, you understand it, it’s absolutely clear for you, as you said, the lightbulb moment. But now the homework means; translated to the language of the people you want to address to. So, one language will be there for the management, then you need to, you need to speak to your colleagues, it’s going to be a completely different language, than you need to speak your subordinates, that’s going to be language number three, then you have to discuss with the purchase department, they speak completely different language. So that means that the same problems, this problem has so many different faces. And if we try to describe it in the same way to everyone, you just lose huge part of the audience. And the conclusion that I heard so many times is that somebody from upstairs will say: Well, I don’t see a problem here. I don’t see that we lose some money. I don’t see any risk. So, if problem doesn’t have a value, it’s not a problem. And if not the problem, why should we look for a solution. So, at the end of the day, if you don’t put numbers on it, you don’t trigger anyone. And yeah, that’s why that’s why I’m not so surprised with sometimes with a poor reaction from the management. It’s lack of homework done. What do you think?

Martin: Yes, there’s a couple of aspects that I think which you’ve alluded to there with the numbers. And I think, you know, the fact that already we’ve got the statement; We have lots of problems caused by poor lubrication practice. Okay. Is that gut feel? Or is that based on hard evidence? Because let’s face it, you know, it’s the old story. Why did the machine fail, it was bearing failure, sorry, but bearing failure is an outcome, not a root cause? So, are we doing root cause failure investigations? And a lot of times in these kinds of reactive businesses, there isn’t time to do that. So, they end up having the same failures all the time. Now, clearly, this guy has got his handle on the lubrication issues. So, the next step for me would be to say: Okay, let’s compile the evidence, let’s compile the dossier of it pointing at lubrication as an issue. And then the next step would be to reinforce that by, perhaps, having an audit. Now, when I say an audit, that might either be an internal one, just going around the site, photographing all the bad practices, and photographing all the key points that we would know would lead to lubrication issues, whether it’s contamination control, at the oil store, in the handling, and at the transfer or at the machine. The other thing is, of course, bringing in an independent, and that independent, then basically identifying all of those key points. But the thing is to be able to translate that into numbers. So, to ask questions like, well, what are you spending on motor rebuilds? What are you spending on pump repairs, and then perhaps, trying to get an understanding from the guys what they perceive to be the cause of those failures? Now, this is often where the, so the secret ballot process works very well. So, if you were to go individually to each person and say: What are your thoughts? Or in a group environment to say, look, everybody, just write down on a piece of paper, what percentage you believe those rebuilds or repairs were caused by lubrication? And taking all of that without putting names to, and keeping it anonymous, just like this question. Then, of course, you build up a sort of gut feel. Now, what we’ve also found of course is that, you know, we know from experience that probably 50% of those rebuild costs are probably lubricant related. And, you know, this is where also just some awareness training can also help so that, you know, when you go to present that audit, basically, you would do some awareness training, and you might throw up a figure and case studies are probably the most valuable aspect of this process. And, of course, whether it’s the websites like Machinery Lubrication.com, with all their great case studies on them, just taking a dossier of those case studies. And I always say the best-case studies are the ones that your competitors have already completed, because they highlight for your industry the impact of the problem. And you can then start to put some numbers, percentage wise against the costs of repair, and the costs of rebuild and replacement. And then you finally got yourself a cost-benefit analysis, because now we know how much it might cost to implement change. We know how much we’re spending. And it’s like people have said to me, even today in a conversation was: We don’t have a budget to make good, all of this right now. And then you throw that back, and you say, oh, but next year’s budget will actually include a million and a half, just to deal with the problems of poor lubrication. Yes. So why aren’t we trying to translate that budget for repair into something that’s more proactive?

Haris: Exactly.