Emerson Automation Experts
Podcast: Driving Reliability Improvement Gains
Emerson's Dave Buttner joins us in this FIRSTHAND Operational Certainty in a Pod podcast as a follow up to our earlier 5 Questions for an Emerson Expert podcast with Dave.
In this podcast, he shares some of the drivers, challenges, and methods of sustaining reliability improvements for better business performance.
We hope you'll enjoy this episode and will consider subscribing to the whole FIRSTHAND: Operational Certainty in Pod series on your iOS or Android mobile device.
Jim: Hi, this is Jim Cahill and welcome to another edition of FIRSTHAND Operational Certainty in a Pod. Today I'm joined by Dave Buttner who's a Business Development Director for Emerson's Operational Certainty Consulting practice. And Dave has a project management professional and certified maintenance and reliability professional certifications. So Dave, what are common concerns you hear that drive manufacturers to pursue help with reliability improvement initiatives?
Dave: Jim, typically, in the economic state that we're in right now, where, you know, we've seen a pretty extensive growth for many months, if not many quarters, a lot of our customers are kind of tapped out in terms of their capacity. So, they're pretty much...they can pretty much sell anything they can make and so that it creates a situation where it's pretty simple for them to see that if they can make more with the same capacity, a level of capital equipment, then they can make more money. I mean, I don't think that's rocket science there. That is something that really helps drive a great deal of demand for Emerson's products and services. And also, we think, you know, it helps drive demand towards our services because we can help our clients make good decisions about criticality, where they should be deploying their technology investments or condition monitoring and their production optimization technology investments.
So, really, the hot economy I think helps drive it and it doesn't always have to be in other different cycles, obviously to the economy. And sometimes in a slower economy, you know, a lot of manufacturers are trying to produce on fewer shifts. So, they're trying to kind of control their variable costs, which means that reliability is, once again, very important because instead of running 7 by 24, every day of the week, every hour of the day, they may be running maybe just 2 shifts a day, 5 days a week. And that means that they need to get a certain production level of it. So, reliability is always important, I think that the taste for reliability products and services, you know, does have an epic flow to it.
Jim: Yeah, that's interesting that in the economic conditions we're in now there's lots of levers that people can pull to improve performance and just given the current state, reliability sounds like it's one of those biggest levers.
Dave: Once again, related to the tight economy, I think we all know that the labor market is, fortunately, you know, I think for all of us very, very hot. But that also means that a lot of companies aren't staff to get better, they can't go out and hire the staff to go from a certain production level to a better performance result. And so, they're more willing to look at outsiders to help them get there. And I think that's also been something that we've been seeing, driving a lot of our business. We're the helping hands that...they have that capability internally, but those people are tired of running the business.
Jim: Well, that makes a lot of sense. So, how does reliability enhancement help businesses reach their business objectives?
Dave: The math is pretty simple. If you have a fixed capital investment and you can produce more oil, tablets, whatever it is you make,