Podcast: Predictive Maintenance and Asset management - With Gail Peterson

Welcome to the Trend Detection podcast, powered by Senseye, an industry leader in using AI to drive scalable and sustainable asset performance and reliability. This is a new publication designed to help you go away with ideas on how to achieve maintenance efficiencies.


For this 3-part series, I’m joined by Gail Peterson, founder of Fortig, a company that helps organizations get the maximum value from their investment in assets by embracing Industry 4.0.

In the second episode, we discuss who are leaders in the asset management space, how predictive maintenance plays a key role and the cultural issues that are holding back organizations accelerating their digital transformation journey. You can listen to episode one here.

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Key topics covered (click to jump to the section)

  1. Who are the leaders in asset management?
  2. Predictive maintenance and asset management
  3. The top challenges facing asset management
  4. Improving PdM with maintenance data

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I wanted to shift the conversation slightly because I wanted to come back to a point you made earlier about leaders in the asset management space, and you kindly said that the UK is on the forefront of that, which is very nice.

So, who are the leaders in asset management? What are they doing to stand out in the market?


Gail Peterson, Fortig: You want names?

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

Gail Peterson, Fortig: Okay. Okay. Well, John Woodhouse. John Woodhouse in the UK, of the Woodhouse Partnership. He led the initiative to develop ISO 55000. The Institute of Asset Management in the UK was really his partner in doing this. There were over 35 countries. They had to agree on every word in the ISO 55000 standard.

Also, there are technical committees operating today to update that standard around the world. So there's one in Canada, there's one in the US. There's certainly one in the UK. There's one in Japan. They're working diligently and consistently to update that standard.

In North America, the uptake for ISO 55000 has been slow. There is one person that I follow, that I respect, who is indeed a thought leader, and that's Terrence O'Hanlon, who is the CEO and publisher of Reliabilityweb. Quite extraordinary.

I'm actually a volunteer for the Reliability Leadership Institute, to develop the internet of things, domain of knowledge, and that's been a fascinating journey, working with other people who are subject matter experts in the field, learning from each other and creating a product that is a result of one plus one is greater than two.

Australia's doing very well. The thought leadership there is quite remarkable, and the uptake of the ISO 55000 has been very good there as well.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: You might not know, so what is that ISO 55000? What's it entail? What's its importance, I guess, to asset-intensive industries?

Gail Peterson, Fortig: Well, it's a guide. So, it's been criticized for not being specific enough. I think it's the right thing to do. So I don't necessarily say that you have to be certified, but it's definitely... The principles embedded in IS0 55000 are very worthy of embracing and to moving towards. Again, it's the right thing to do.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye:  Yeah. I guess it's the industry standard, you'd probably say.

Gail Peterson, Fortig: We'd like to see it as that, absolutely, yes, for the standard for all asset-intensive industries.

It came about in the UK because the regulators looked around at all those public assets, utilities that had been deregulated, and their opinion of the regulators was that these assets are not being managed well enough, they're not getting enough value.

So the whole shift, the whole focus of ISO 55000 is to unlock that hidden value that your assets have embedded and that contribute to the bottom line. So, let's find it, let's unlock it.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: Absolutely. I just wanted to touch on asset management and you said about... I think you were talking about maintenance specifically hasn't changed a lot in the past 40, 50 years. Could the same thing be said about asset management over those time periods, sort of five, 10, 25 years or more?

Gail Peterson, Fortig: Well, asset management is a relatively new term and what's happened is, any vendor who's got anything to do with maintenance or reliability, they're talking asset management. Well, really? Is that really true? Is that what you're doing or are you doing work execution, for example, so a more tactical level? All these pieces are important.

So, again, getting back to how your business is going to be run, you've got to lubricate, you've got to understand what assets are critical. You've got to have your enterprise asset management system, the backbone, the record of what your assets are, how they're connected to stock, spare parts, what their repair history has been and spectrum history. All that is valuable information.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: I guess, how does predictive maintenance fit into that as well, into that space? It's a combination of lots of different systems. We talked about integration and bringing data together. So it's just interesting to know where predictive maintenance fits into that too.


Gail Peterson, Fortig: It's the future, and you need the data to be able to predict failure. You need that information from your operational systems. Your assets are talking to you, and the question that I have is, "Mr. Organization, are you listening?"

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: Yeah. It's interesting because we're starting to use a term... I think it was actually during the webinar that you... You were on the same webinar with Endowance that we did where we were talking about managing your machine's future, which seemed like a nice, tagline or phrase that summarized it quite well.

Gail Peterson, Fortig: IIt's true. I was very taken with that, with the content of that webinar. Alexander Hill, Rob Hienekamp, very exciting, their presentation of what the present is for them and what the future is for us at intensive organizations.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: Yeah. You've mentioned about spare parts as well because I guess in terms of predictive maintenance, it's traditionally we're just looking at the machine and the machine health itself across a factory or multiple factories, but we've something that goes beyond that and we're talking about integrating with the supply chain as well, and CRM, ERP. I guess you're saying that's the future that organizations should be embracing.

Gail Peterson, Fortig: An organization that embraces that vision, they'll have a competitive advantage like no other. You need executive sponsors. You need leadership. Leaders are everywhere in the organization and they all need, we all need to be aligned.

We need to understand where we're going, and you need to trust your leaders because, you know what? Your C-suite might take you to places you've never been before.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: Sorry. From your point of view, do you see, although it might be a newish concept, but do you feel there's an appetite for a tool like that? Are they experiencing those sort of problems already or, again, is that going to require more education, say, on our part or other companies' parts to bring them up to that sort of level?

Gail Peterson, Fortig: Well, so far, what I've seen is it's the individual leader, decision-maker, that's willing to take some risk to be able to jump, to bridge that gap, and trust their consultants, trust their people to be able to take them there safely, within the tolerance of risk that the organization is willing to bear.

So it's that individual with that vision, with that conviction, with the courage to be able to make those kinds of decisions.

Education is a really big part of bringing other organizations up to speed. It's essential to understand what the impact of these changes industry 4.0 will have as your business model is being turned upside down and how to deal with that to your advantage.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: Yeah. No, absolutely. I wanted to actually focus a little bit on some of the challenges. I think we've talked a lot about the technological... I can't say it! Tech challenges, let's say, in asset management today, but are there other challenges? What are the top challenges, I guess, in asset management that are really holding companies back, I guess?


Gail Peterson, Fortig: Tradition. Culture. Fear of change. Lack of awareness.

The other piece is, and you mentioned technology, these technology-first projects, there's huge evidence of 70% failure. So, why is that? I suggest that those projects are not business driven. They're not driven by the needs of the business. The business leaders are not connected to those engineers and CIOs that are actually implementing these technology initiatives, and the business leaders need to be heard.

It's for sure that if you're a business leader and I'm an engineer, I'm going to be talking tech speak and you aren't going to be able to understand me. So I have to learn to talk your language of finance and business risk to be able to communicate to you what we need to do as an organization, so that you can hear me, so that you can actually support me, so that you can actually sign those cheques, make sure it happens.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: I don't want to put words in your mouth, but maybe do you feel there's a disconnect at the minute between the C level and, say, the engineers, maybe communication problems there?

Gail Peterson, Fortig: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: Again, it's back to what you were saying about the overall business strategy and marrying that up with what's happening with the machine and the assets on the shop floor as well and bringing the outcomes back to what the C level care about, which, I guess, is predominantly the bottom line.

Gail Peterson, Fortig: Right. So I firmly believe also we're talking about culture and, in my experience, culture starts at the top. It's the words I use. They need to be consistent. I need to be a person of integrity. You can count on me and if I mess up, I'll clean up. And then that message has to be consistently carried out throughout the entire organization, right down to the shop floor.

I spend more time I'm at work than I do with my family. I want to know how my efforts contribute to those strategic objectives, and once I've got that line of sight, that gives me purpose. So that end-to-end visibility, that top to shop or top to fieldworker visibility, and then back up again.

We need to be aligned. We need to be going in the same direction. We need to have that visibility and that message constantly in our minds so that we're aiming towards the same thing, those strategic objectives. That's what matters.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: Yeah. And that alignment, culture is very interesting. We talk about that a lot at Senseye as well, as in we work with customers and talk to companies that are at a different stage in terms of a culture, and we talk about how important culture is to delivering its maintenance projects, but I guess it can be expanded to IOT or digital transformation projects. It's really culture's so important.

Are there any other key aspects of that, or key... aside from alignment, that to build this type of culture within an organization in the knowledge that it isn't an easy thing to do ultimately, but are there any other steps that organizations can take to try and build that culture?

Gail Peterson, Fortig: Well, I think it's a journey, as you alluded to. The other thing that occurs to me is that, as leaders, we have to know what great looks like.

Also, as leaders, we can't hold things too tight. That cripples innovation, it cripples out of the box thinking, encourages people to be fearful. We can't hold things too loose or else it'll be like sand slipping through our fingers. So we need that balance of holding things just right, and, again, communication is vital. It's not a one time thing. It's ongoing, ongoing, ongoing.

One of the best managers I ever had was in Copenhagen. I worked for an international Marine shipping company, and he was this big Viking and he would walk around and say, how's it going today? Do you have any problems?" "No, no. Everything's going fine." He'd stand there and chat for a bit and I'd say, "Well, actually I have this problem," and he wouldn't solve it for me necessarily, but he would say, "Go talk to so and so."

So that whole awareness, that type of communication, walking the talk, moving to action, visible leadership, that's really, really important. Touching people, that's really important.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: Again, I think we'll probably touch on this again, but it's sort of a disconnect between different departments. I guess, is it the case that a lot of departments are solely in their box and, "I work on this and I don't need to talk to them over here," but actually, for significant change, you do need the stakeholder engagement at all different levels in order to deliver it successfully?

Gail Peterson, Fortig: Yes. We need to talk about all stakeholders of the asset, which are multiple: finance, engineering, maintenance, stores, technology, fieldworker.

And external, do we need that outside view? We've got our customers. We've got our vendors. We've got our regulators. We've got government. We've got influencers. We've got unions. All of these external stakeholders we have contracts with and we need to make sure that those important exchanges are working well.

Refresh my memory in terms of what you were talking about because there's some really important elements there.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: It was... God, I lose my train of thought. I think it was in terms of culture and the disconnect maybe between different departments and how a lot of the time they're focused in their area, but actually that cross-collaboration, let's say, and input from different departments, actually builds that culture which leads to more successful projects.

Gail Peterson, Fortig: Yes. You're talking about siloed organizations as well.

And you're talking about managers that defend their turf.

One of the most impactful experiences in my career was actually facilitating a workshop at a greenfield site, a pulp mill in Northern Alberta. So I had all of the stakeholders of the asset in the room and we were following the flow of a work order and purchase order. I had to cancel it. There wasn't enough understanding of what I do: "Oh, that actually makes a difference to you. So I make this change and it upsets your applecart. Oh, I didn't know that."

So that awareness, that cross-functional awareness is really significant. How those business processes connect when I'm handing off to you, does that have a red dot or a green dot? Is that working well or is that not working well? We want that flow of data, that flow of information across the end-to-end business processes and those cross-departments.

So you've put your finger on another very significant piece, and that is managers who are gatekeepers. There needs to be a shift there, an awareness that, as you mentioned, collaboration is the key, not competition.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye:  Yeah. And I guess thinking about it as well, certain intensive industries, can it also be a case of collaboration... Because often we see maybe different plants working almost as separate businesses within a business. Can each plant have a different culture?

So when you think a whole organization, a larger organization, Global Fortune 500 organization, is joined up, but actually the plants within them act almost like separate businesses sometimes. Is that your experience too?

Gail Peterson, Fortig: Yes. Yes. Depending upon the leadership. Depending upon the leadership. Some executives want to see their plant managers compete. It is absolutely true, as you say, that each plant will be in a different place.

So that gap between where they are today and the future, and a consistent future throughout the enterprise, that gap is going to be coming from a different place for each plant.

So you're quite right. We want to go in the same direction, but the steps we take there might be different for each plant and probably would be different from each plant.

The other piece is that with mergers and acquisitions, that actually intensifies the technology model that we inherit and is really a call for action for that whole piece to be addressed and straightened around, straightened out, aligned, speaking the same language, speaking with the same technologies. What a concept, hey?

Niall Sullivan, Senseye:  Yeah. I didn't even consider the merger and acquisition piece, because you're right, another organization comes into the group and they're using their own systems, and then if all the other existing plants will use their own systems, it suddenly becomes a web of different data silos, or maybe even legacy systems. It's very difficult to bring together to deliver that change and insight.

Gail Peterson, Fortig: It gets even worse now when you realize that your general ledger is different from my general ledger.


Improving PdM With Maintenance Data

Moving from a reactive to a Predictive Maintenance approach requires a change of mindset and structure within an organization. From the top down, the focus must shift to one of continuity and efficiency through the use of data and technology.

Technology is a core enabler of Predictive Maintenance, whether collecting, analyzing, transferring or responding to machine data to keep machinery running; as such, the role of the IT team has never been more critical.

Download our free white paper to learn:

  • The role IT plays in enabling Predictive Maintenance.
  • The importance of maintenance data.
  • Best practices for data collection and transfer.

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