More often than not, I learn that the amazing guests featured on my podcast show have navigated their way through a career path to achieve their current role via highly unpredictable series of steps. As is the case for myself, often they didn’t plan to be where they are, but when they look back on their work life, it turns out that various key roles tend to add up perfectly.
That’s how it is with Greg Perry, a Capacity Assurance Consultant with Fluke Accelix, in the Digital Systems division of Fluke proper. We shared a chuckle when he referred to himself as a “high tech redneck” (so American!) but it’s true – he has a very folksy way about him, which is underpinned by a career path of serious “hands on” practitioner style expertise in industrial and facility systems maintenance.
So much so, that he brings with him that perfect blend of hardware, software and industrial production “in the field” knowledge perfectly suited to the Industrial Internet of Things ( #IIoT ) ever expanding universe he ( and we all ) now find ourselves navigating.
Fluke Accelix grew out of Fluke’s determination to convert all of the measurements their test tools collect into usable data, that is, measurable, and actionable. Very much in line with today’s pivot in almost every industry for organisations to be “data driven” in their decision making.
Fluke realised that they couldn’t limit it to a proprietary model, so they’ve created an open framework of what they refer to as the “Connected Reliability” framework, comprised of technologies which link data either captured or generated by test tools, to various Enterprise Asset Management ( #EAM ) systems such as IBM’s Maximo platform.
But they also realised that it wasn’t as simple as selling someone a sensor and the software to analyse the data. If the facility team was fully occupied running from one broken machine to the next, there was no way they were going to be able to thoughtfully install sensors, collect predictive data, analyse it, and conduct preemptive maintenance, no matter how many wishes were fishes ( Greg’s speaking style wears off on you, even on Australians, you’ll have to listen to the podcast to fully appreciate that reference ).
So this is where Greg comes in – he had this realisation, an “ah ha” moment, one of those Eureka moments if you like, that Fluke’s customers would benefit significantly from coaching on what he calls “capacity assurance” — BEFORE they adopted IIoT, not after. The order of which is indeed important for organisations looking to properly leverage what the IIoT has to offer.
What is Capacity Assurance
So what exactly is Capacity Assurance I hear you ask? I’m glad you did – in short, Capacity Assurance is the notion of setting a target baseline for how much capacity should your machinery offer and then working backwards to align your maintenance practices to deliver on that: which are the most critical machines to the operation, what are their most likely failure points, and what indicators should you monitor ( using #IoT sensors and software ) to identify when they need maintenance. It’s a mixture of reliability and maintenance practices to do precisely what is most needed.
As Greg says, “Maintenance is not married to reliability, and reliability is not married to maintenance.” – in his words:
“Maintenance + Reliability + Actionable Data = Capacity Assurance”
Greg very clear to highlight the point of “actionable data”. To achieve this, he advises that very specifically placed sensors looking for specific changes in machinery operation. When you tune into this episode of my podcast, you’ll hear Greg say “a lot of our clients think that when they install a #CMMS system (a computerised maintenance management software)”.
He goes on to say, “The think that they’re installing reliability, that they can download reliability, but they’re not and they can’t, because reliability is the *practice* of understanding machine failure patterns and what inspections followed by what maintenance interventions at what point in the cycle will keep the machines online with the minimal amount of interruption”.
A key quotable quote at that point is when Greg stats “The software and the data builds the historical footprint and the baseline and helps you set thresholds, but the knowledge piece is still necessary. Again, back to Capacity Assurance”. Words worthy in my mind of being printed on tee shirts frankly.
The last point I’ll share here is the concept of “framework.” Greg emphasised that we should look at these connected systems of machine + sensor + data + software + analytics + practice not merely as a platform or ecosystem, but as a framework. He emphatically wants to avoid the silo’s that have been in place forever. “To be truly horizontal, we want to call it a framework, a framework is something that’s living”.
Greg is a pretty detailed guy once he gets going, and I’m excited to reveal that I have a second podcast with him coming soon, which should seriously delight everyone on the industrial side of the IoT, as he goes even deeper into how this all works.
For now, make sure to listen to this episode of my podcast featuring Greg Perry. I want to thank Greg and the whole team at Fluke Accelix for the opportunity to have him on my show, it’s amazing to have this look into how industry, and gain Greg’s unique insights as to how the industry as a whole is transforming, and what it really takes to make it happen.
For additional reading and information on Capacity Assurance and Connected Reliability, take a look at these references: