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How good were your predictions for asset management and reliability?  JD Solomon Inc. provides practical solutions.
How good were your predictions for asset management and reliability?

In 2019, I predicted five asset management and reliability trends. How did I do? Five years later, I can cite after-action review, milestone review, forecast reconciliation, or forecast validation (whatever you wish to call the look back) as essential for maintaining the reliability and accuracy of expert predictions, improving methodologies, ensuring accountability, and adapting to new information and changes over time. However, in this case, the best test of the prediction was that I was about to launch JD Solomon, Inc. – in other words, putting my money where my mouth was.

 

The Value of Reviews

Milestone reviews analyze the pieces of the whole to determine what has happened, but they should not make team members feel like they were the ones on the slab. After-action reviews, which may only occur when something goes bad, should be the same. Forecast reconciliations or validations are usually not done because our predictions (expert opinions) usually stink.

 

However, there is no way to improve if we cannot honestly look back effectively.

 

These are two brief articles from the past related to project management.


 

 

Asset Management Predictions

These were my Top 5 in 2019.

 

Growing Focus on Big Data and Data Trending

These are a few of the things I predicted in this category.

  • Better, more Integrated data management systems.

  • More affordable remote operations and built-in testing.

  • More affordable condition assessment equipment.

  • Growing focus on big data and data trending.

 

Overall, not bad. But, like the rest of the world, I missed the rapid emergence of artificial intelligence.

 

Equipment Doesn’t Last as Long

By design, modern equipment does not last longer than promised. These were the predictions.

  • New mechanical and electrical equipment is being designed to a tighter performance standard and failing "sooner."

  • Facility owners have not associated similar behavior of home electronics and cell phones with equipment in their plants.

  • The gap in reality and understanding shorter equipment lives will create, especially for budgeting.


The predictions remain valid and are growing concerns. There is a good argument that today’s equipment is techier and the plug-and-play aspects are positive in a world where maintenance skills are trending down. However, replacing more things sooner than historically needed will continue to produce budgeting and communication challenges.


The prediction has proven true, but more selectively felt than I expected.

 

There’s A Skilled Labor Shortage Out There!

There were indications of this one, and COVID drove some deeper understanding of the harsh future realities of the skilled labor shortage.

  • Fewer of the newer generation want to turn wrenches, and fewer schools teaching it.

  • The new generation of maintenance workers will need to be more computer-savvy and more data-oriented.

  • The skilled labor shortage – predicted by some for over a decade – is here.

 

This prediction turned out to be true. 

 

Just-In-Time Spares and Contracted Maintenance

The drive for greater manufacturing efficiency and fewer skilled workers was a big driver behind this prediction in 2019. It played out, and supply chain problems in the aftermath of COVID made it worse.

  • Shorter and fewer outage periods for many industries.

  • Higher reliance on contract maintenance.

  • More attention on parts and warehouse optimization and the gap between desire and reality.


The prediction turned out to be true.

 

The People Side Will Struggle

  • Similar levels of maintenance-type training (excluding Health & Safety), although equipment is generally getting more sophisticated

  • Not enough time to do the data entry and root cause analysis that is more expected

  • Communication is not getting any easier, although we have more ways to do it.


More and more companies have abandoned hiring for skills and are now hiring for competencies. That means more training. The pressure from intergenerational communication among five generations in the workforce is just now being seen as older, skilled workers embark on second and third careers.


This prediction has been true, but slower in its impact than I thought.

 

Some New Challenges

So, what are the top five challenges for asset management over the next five years? What am I talking about on the speaking circuit? Where am I positioning my business?

 

I'll share those thoughts in another upcoming article. For now, I'll say most of the previous five will still be in play. Add a few things into the mix, like remote work and flexible workplaces, ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) goals, sensors and smart buildings, software integration, and government Incentives. Some of these subcategories are existing ones, while others emerge as their own.

 

Summary

The core concerns from 2019 persist, and new ones are taking hold. We are at a pivotal time in physical asset management. The nexus of technology, AI, and the new workforce makes it so. More impactfully, the rate of play will continue accelerating. Facility managers must stay agile and informed to navigate these evolving trends effectively.


 

JD Solomon Inc. provides solutions for program development, asset management, and facilitation at the nexus of facilities, infrastructure, and the environment. Subscribe for monthly updates related to our firm.


 

JD Solomon is the founder of JD Solomon, Inc., the creator of the FINESSE fishbone diagram, and the co-creator of the Solomon-Oldach Asset Prioritization (SOAP) Method. He is the author of Communicating Reliability, Risk & Resiliency to Decision Makers: How to Get Your Boss’s Boss to Understand and Facilitating with FINESSE: A Guide to Successful Business Solutions.


Join JD Solomon on June 27, 2024, to learn how to produce better presentations.
Join JD Solomon on June 27, 2024, to learn how to produce better presentations.

JD Solomon will provide the Communicating with FINESSE June webinar titled “Frustrated? A New Way to Develop Business Presentations."

 

The free webinar is on Thursday, June 27, 2024. Register here.

 

Business presentations are critical in conveying strategic visions, securing stakeholder buy-in, and driving decision-making. Improving the presentation development process results in increased productivity, cost savings, more effective communication, and better work-life balance.

 

This session will provide a new approach to developing business presentations more efficiently and effectively. It is intended for technical professionals and their work that involves analysis, statistics, modeling, complexity, and uncertainty.

 

The methodology focuses on effective communication practices, including working with audiences with language, visual, and hearing challenges. Tips will be provided on how to work more effectively with presentation development in multi-layered, bureaucratic environments.

 

The key learning objectives are:

  • Understand flaws in typical approaches to business presentation development.

  • Apply a better method for developing business presentations.

  • Understand some of your own shortfalls related to effective communication.

  • Improve your ability to overcome audience barriers such as language and physical impairments.

  • Apply tips for making complex and uncertain information more understandable.

 


 

 

Communicating with FINESSE is a not-for-profit community of technical professionals dedicated to being highly effective communicators and facilitators. Learn more about our publications, webinars, and workshops. Join the community for free.


 

JD Solomon is the founder of JD Solomon, Inc., a company providing solutions for program development, asset management, and facilitation at the nexus of facilities, infrastructure, and the environment. He is the author of Communicating Reliability, Risk & Resiliency to Decision Makers: How to Get Your Boss’s Boss to Understand and Facilitating with FINESSE: A Guide to Successful Business Solutions.


How do you know when team efforts fail? Facilitators must spot the signs early and implement trusted interventions. JD Solomon Inc. provides practical solutions. JD Solomon Inc. provides practical solutions.
How do you know when team efforts fail? Facilitators must spot the signs early and implement trusted interventions.

Teamwork is essential to success in many areas of life, whether in school, sports, professional societies, or business. However, not all team efforts lead to successful outcomes. Knowing when to re-group—or, more importantly, when to quit—is an important role for any facilitator. These are some key indicators that a team effort is failing.

 

Lack of Communication

Poor communication is one of the most significant signs that a team effort is failing. Effective teamwork relies heavily on clear and open communication among all members. When team members do not share information, misunderstand instructions, or fail to give updates on their progress, the team is likely to struggle. Communication issues can lead to confusion about tasks, missed deadlines, and a lack of coordination. If team meetings are rare or unproductive, this is a red flag.

 

Absence of Clear Goals

Another indicator of a failing team effort is the lack of clear, shared goals. Successful teams have a common understanding of their objectives and what they need to achieve. When goals are not well-defined or communicated, team members may work towards different outcomes or priorities, resulting in disorganized and ineffective efforts. Without clear goals, measuring progress or determining if the team is on the right track is challenging.

 

Low Morale and Motivation

Disengaged or unmotivated team members can significantly hinder a team's success. If you notice that team members are frequently absent, show little enthusiasm for the project, or put minimal effort into their tasks, these are signs of low morale. A lack of motivation can stem from various issues, such as feeling undervalued, not understanding the importance of their role, or conflicts within the team. When morale is low, productivity and creativity suffer.

 

Conflict and Tension

While some conflict in teams is natural and can even be productive, excessive or unresolved conflict is a sign of trouble. When team members frequently argue, fail to listen to each other, or undermine each other's efforts, it creates a toxic environment. Such tension can derail the team's progress and make collaborating difficult. It's important to address conflicts promptly and find ways to resolve them constructively.

 

Unequal Work Distribution

A failing team effort often has issues with task distribution. If certain team members are consistently overloaded while others contribute little, it can create resentment and burnout. Unequal work distribution indicates the team is not functioning as a cohesive unit. Everyone should clearly understand their responsibilities and feel that their workload is fair and manageable.

 

Lack of Progress

Finally, a clear sign that a team effort is failing is a lack of progress towards the goal. If deadlines are consistently missed, deliverables are not completed, or the quality of work is subpar, it's a strong indication that something is wrong. Regularly reviewing the team's progress and making necessary adjustments is crucial to keeping the project on track.

 

What to Do About It

Hopefully, you developed a team charter when the work began. If so, revisit before it's too late. If not, hope that there is still time to formally charter the team

with desired outcomes, roles, deadlines, deliverables, and success indicators.

 

When team performance starts to erode, scaling back the scope is usually helpful. That's tough for many facilitators, who see this as an act of failure. However, scaling back assures some measure of success.

 

Pulling the plug is the last major option. It may enable some success to be taken from the group effort to date. What's more, it assures that the effort does not totally disintegrate into harsh feelings and wasted time. (I'll talk about how to pull the plug on team efforts in a subsequent facilitation article.)

 

When Team Efforts Fail

Recognizing the signs of a failing team effort is the first step toward addressing and correcting the issues. By paying attention to communication, setting clear goals, maintaining high morale, managing conflicts, ensuring fair work distribution, and tracking progress, teams can improve their chances of success. Effective teamwork requires constant effort and adjustment, but by being aware of these warning signs, teams can take proactive steps to achieve their goals.


 

JD Solomon Inc. provides solutions for program development, asset management, and facilitation at the nexus of facilities, infrastructure, and the environment. Subscribe for monthly updates related to our firm.


 

JD Solomon is the founder of JD Solomon, Inc., the creator of the FINESSE fishbone diagram, and the co-creator of the Solomon-Oldach Asset Prioritization (SOAP) Method. He is the author of Communicating Reliability, Risk & Resiliency to Decision Makers: How to Get Your Boss’s Boss to Understand and Facilitating with FINESSE: A Guide to Successful Business Solutions.

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