The key maintenance challenges manufacturers are facing - Part Three - With Andy Gailey

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 three part series, we're joined by Andy Gailey, founder UPTIME Consultant Ltd who provide a holistic approach to asset care and maintenance management.

In the third and final episode of this series, we discussed how predictive maintenance has evolved over the years and some of the positive outcomes Andy has experienced from the deployment of PdM tools. 

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Key topics covered (click to jump to the section)

  1. The origins of predictive maintenance
  2. Educating an industry
  3. Positive predictive maintenance outcomes
  4. Subscribe to our podcast

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: No, exactly. And I was interested by your comment. You mentioned you met the Senseye co-founders.

Andy Gailey: Yeah, that's right.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: And you wished you had that technology years before. I guess my question is, when did you first hear about the term predictive maintenance? And how has it evolved from then until what offerings are out there today?


Andy Gailey: Yeah. So it's come a long way. I really probably first heard about predictive maintenance in 2005. I was asked by the engineering manager, would I step outside of the technician group and come up with a way of using predictive technology and lubrication best practice to drive down the implant downtime? There was lots of different things within that plan that we had. Some of them were to do with the CMMS system that we used. Some of them were to do with editing a lot of the plan maintenance we had.

The first thing the plant did was, they brought in a third party, a consultant. When I think about it, I actually probably studied the consultants as they came in because I worked with those consultants on a three-day deep dive into what we were actually doing, not what we thought we were doing. Say for instance, we thought we had 7% unplanned downtime. And after three days, the guys that came in from the third party point of view, when they looked it said, "It's more like 12%." You're kidding yourself. You're not counting anything that's under 30 minutes. So if something goes down for 30 minutes, it triggers it once it goes past 30 minutes and one second. But all the low-lying stuff that was repeated failures, a lot of them were under 30 minutes.

And as part of that, they said, "Well, we do this so you understand what we're doing from a practical point of view." There's a group of us had training, a couple of days training, in reliability center maintenance. That was my first view to looking at there was other things other than reacting, and fixing things, and lubricating things where you didn't know why you were lubricating it. And reliability centered maintenance opened a whole field of doing the right things to your assets to get what you bought that asset for in the first place. And part of that was heavily involved with predictive.

So it says, in reliability centered maintenance practice, these are the kind of things that you look for. And you would start by asking, is there a predictive thing I can apply to this asset that will give me a good idea as to the health it's in now and track it over time? That's when I first heard of predictive maintenance. It's come a long way. There are a lot more people interested in the area. I would've hoped it would come further down the path, the journey. But if I did that, then I probably wouldn't get any clients. Because most of my clients come to me, say, "We're very reactive. We think we need to look at our maintenance strategy, and we want to have a lot less unplanned downtime. And we want to produce more X for our labor and our resources."

And again, when I thought about these things as a business, and in life, everything happens with three finites. The three finites is time. That's the finite we can't buy. Money, so we need money. We need some form of benefit exchange, which we call money. And we need resources. And resources in the factory, usually the labor that you put against it or things like the inventory, the critical spares that you carry for emergencies. And if you look at those three aspects, there's a balancing act to be made. So you could spend lots and lots and lots of money and end up bankrupt. You could have a very, very efficient process and very little downtime, but you wouldn't be able to sell your bath plugs because they'd be too expensive. So if you do a curve about the amount of money you spend, the amount of time you spend, and the amount of availability for the operation, there's a crossing point, or there's a sweet spot, shall we say. And it's a case of understanding where you are, understanding where you want to go to, and trying to drive towards that sweet spot.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: That's an excellent point really, but when you talk to clients or potential clients, do they understand? Do they get that? When you explain that those three things, crossover... Or is that more of a surprise to them at that point?

Andy Gailey: Yeah. A lot of people are way too close to their business and rightly so. If you're employed to make cars, or snack food, or bottles of wine, or wherever you're making, you are focused and aimed at making that thing day in, day out. So it's almost like you've got blinkers on. You are insular. You're looking at your business, and you're looking at how you can get more product out for less of that money. They're probably not thinking in the three finites range. They're just looking at, I want to make this and I want to pay less for it. But if they thought about it, there is only three things that can impact that.

And the other thing that I always say to people is, if you save time through availability, it's a massive benefit because if you lose that time, it's lost forever. It's gone. So if you lose an hour's production, you have to go into the future, and you have to produce that product for your client in the future. And while you are down, it's cost you more, while you're waiting to go to get that in the future. So a lot of people don't get it because they're too close to what they do. So I think a lot of businesses need people to ask questions, the right questions, and I try to ask the right questions. And you can sometimes see, all the sudden, things become revealed to people. And they say, "Why didn't I see that before?" So again, people are too blinkered, I think, when they're in business, and they probably don't know where to go. And if you don't know where to go, you stay in the same place basically.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: And actually, that links to one of the later questions I was going to ask, which fits inside nicely. Because I notice you obviously have a UPTIME Consultant Academy. So I'm just wondering how that fits into that educational purpose, exactly.


Andy Gailey: Product placement. Yeah, when I started up the business... I'm very lucky that I could start up a business. I don't do this business because of making money. That's one thing I don't do. I do it because I really enjoy doing it. I really enjoy helping people out. Now, if people want to pay me some token, some money for it, then I can keep my business afloat.

And what I did early on, I built the business over about a year. And I really didn't launch it. So there's a lot of input goes into building a consultancy from nothing. So, you imagine I was in PepsiCo for 20 years, and nobody really knew me. I was looking out all the time at these other consultancies. I can say, one of them was MCP. MCP, really good place to look. And I was looking at all these consultants, and what they did, and how they provided benefit. And I formed the company over that year.

And within a year of forming the company when I launched it, I had lots and lots of inbound from people in Africa, India, Middle East, Australia, China, lots of people actually that were Eastern based. You find that North America is very developed in this condition monitoring predictive space, more developed than we are in the UK. And probably more developed than people are in the Middle or Far East. So I was having all this input, and I was having to say to the first few people, "I can't help you, other than give you a half an hour on a Zoom call, but I'm going to look to do something I can." So after two or three years, I looked at and I found a platform ran by a company called Thinkific in Canada. That's a platform where I could load in courses of information that I could then share with people. And if I wanted to, I could charge for that.

But I decided not to. I decided I would take on the cost of the platform. And then I would put my information that I share with clones, but I'd put the base level in. I was actually thinking of talking to a 16-year-old that didn't know anything. And the idea was to get new engineers, or engineers that were interested in finding out about predictive technology and other aspects, where they get the base level. And then, again, the thing that I gave to people with more experience is I gave them anecdotes of what I found. So you can go lots and lots of places and do courses in vibration with Mobius Institute and do this prescribed course. And that will teach you how to do vibration at level one, but it won't give you much in the way of application, and what to look for, and what to target. What benefits you're going to target?

So I wanted to do that. So I built a platform. Now, I've got nine courses on it. Over 400 people have taken benefit of that. Occasionally, I'll get feedback from these people. They send me an email, and they'll say, "That was brilliant." I had help early days off the very knowledgeable people that were cohort, that beta tested, and then fed back. And I went, "Yeah, that's a good point." I think my presentation skill, I worked on it. I got a little bit better at presentation.

But the idea is, just to give this away. And what it does, it's kudos as well to my clients. My paying clients, when I first interact with them, if there are any engineers that operates there, I say, "If you want to understand what reliability means, take the course. It'll take you an hour." All you got to do is log in with your email. Take it on your phone, or your iPad, or on your desktop, and just have it. So what I can do now is, when I go and have new clients, I say, "You are the people that sponsor, co-sponsor." And Senseye has a thing there as a collaborator on it. So Senseye has got their name upon it, that they are supporters of the platform. In my time in life as an engineer, it's only right that I like to try and share my tacit knowledge or the knowledge I've picked up freely to people that probably can't afford to have a training course because they haven't got an internet connection.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: I think it's a fantastic idea. From my perspective, even just from a marketing perspective, again, it's not something that's common in B2B marketing. Although this isn't a marketing-

Andy Gailey: Yeah, it wasn't part of marketing. But what I have found is that there have been some people that when we first connected on LinkedIn as engineers... So everybody that I connect with on LinkedIn, so if you reach out and connect with me on LinkedIn, I will send you a message that welcomes you, that tells you what I do. And there is a lead to the website to go and have a looks. Lots of information on there. There's also an invitation to go and take a course.

And I've had people who have come to me... Come and took a course. I can see, when they do register, I get a notification and see the course they take. And then six or nine months later, some of these people have come back now and are wanting to book face-to-face, one to many. So I go and probably teach 8 or 10 engineers in a day the basics of reliability center maintenance, or how predictive and proactive techniques can help them, and maybe even look at some of their assets while I'm there as well. So that's how I started with Nissan up in Washington, Tyne and Wear. That's where I first met, physically, Senseye platform, which I'd heard about.

And then, I got in touch with Alex, who was one of the co-founders of Senseye. And we had a great conversation about predictive. I then went and visited the head office at Southampton when I was coming off a holiday. We dropped in there for an hour. I met Simon and Rob Russell. And we came to an agreement to collaborate with no funds changing hand, but that we would support each other in what we did. And obviously, my connection there was, I already go to Nissan. I was going there probably once every month, through the body shop or the trim and chassis, or through the battery. And I was going and delivering the same course to their engineers. And part of that was looking at the Senseye platform. So what I did, again, I said to the co-founder, "I can report back any of the things that they reveal to me."

Because engineers, when I go and interact with them, they tend to reveal a lot to me because we come from the same cloth. We talk the same language. And I was able to then feed back some things that needed to be edited that made the platform better. We talked about how the interaction on the platform, from going from a PC to a fully mobile unit, would think of it in a star-rating system or smiley face, thumbs up, that type of feedback, to get people interacting with the system in a similar way they would react to LinkedIn, or to a Facebook post, or to Instagram. They get to press something that says, this worked for me, or this didn't. And then, you can aim them towards the long form of, can you tell me of a dropdown off this top 10, what type of failure you found? Or did you take any interventions? And those things, the platform needs to feed back obviously into the system so that the platform learns from the human interaction. So that's how we joined up.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: And that's a real big philosophy of Senseye. And from my perspective, so a buyer's perspective, it sets it out that it's not just about the data the asset's telling you. But it's also the actual person on the floor who knows the asset, who sees the asset. We're actually getting their feedback as well, and that feeds into the knowledge as well. So I think that's a very important point.

Andy Gailey: I really enjoyed those interactions because I'd get eight hours with these guys. And I would have probably 8 or 10 engineers. And you could tell a couple of those were maybe anti of what was going to be said. So you'd have to get them on side within the first hour or two. And the idea I had to do is, I had to sell that there is a different way of doing what they were doing every day.

That nothing has to stay the same. If you become proactive, and if you embrace the predictive technology you've got, that we're very ahead of the curve with Senseye... That, that will then direct you towards those 3% I was talking about. So if you look at a large asset group, 97% of those assets are not looking for any action. There's only the 3 or 4% there that are looking for an input from a human to either take care of them and make them better, or take some surgical action and replace a component, shall we say.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: Exactly. You're right what you're saying. It is really interesting what you're saying about some of the positive and the feedback they gave. And I wanted just to dive into that a little bit more actually, before we finish, because I realize that our time is short. But it's just interesting to know what some of the positive outcomes you've seen from predictive maintenance, if there's any real examples you can provide.


Andy Gailey: Yeah. Well, again, going back to my own experience in that food factory, it was a six-year journey. So people got to understand, there's no magic bullet. It doesn't happen overnight. It takes a lot of work, with people mainly, to make it happen. You can't just plug things in, and walk away, and expect the Senseye application to do magic things. It takes inputs from the human aspect.

The outputs and the why you do it are those things I mentioned before. If you can save labor costs, then you save money. If you can save labor costs and money, then you're pretty much probably doing things in a more timely way. You're not wasting as much time. There's lots and lots of KPIs that run through the whole thing. So when I talk to people about what the savings are... So we've got our input of gas, electricity, pneumatics, the labor, any inputs you put in there from ingredients wise. So those could be very expensive ingredients. And in the food industry, those ingredients have gone literally through the roof at the moment. So if you can save on those ingredients...

The ingredients that people don't understand as well though is becoming a big problem. The gases that we use to expel air to make our food last is becoming very, very expensive. It's a byproduct of the fertilizer industry. So if you can't afford to make fertilizers... There's a lot of fertilizer manufacturers actually just packing up, going out of business. If you don't get carbon dioxide, you need to go into packaging. Nearly all of your snack foods, so anything that's in a bag that comes from PepsiCo, has been nitrogen flushed. So nitrogen's injected into the product stream so that it expels any oxygen. So again, your product doesn't degrade in a few days. It will last 30 days in the pack. So all of these things are benefits of doing things in a proactive and predictive way, and not waiting for things to fail.

The other big thing that people don't look at as well, which is amazing, is that if you're in the same business as somebody else, and if you can save 2 or 3% of your unplanned downtime and they don't, then you're going to win. And you're going to win big style. You're going to put them out of business, because it's the manufacturing overhead part of the business that you can impact massively through doing things proactively and predictively.

So if you've got two snack food plants next to each other and one's got 10% unplanned downtime and the other one's only got 2% unplanned downtime, one of them's going to go out of business. It's going to be the one that's got the less unplanned downtime, because they're going to make hundreds of tons more product for their end user. I've seen that happen. So, that is a story. It's not just blue sky thinking. That's happened. Those producers go out of business because they haven't come up with a plan, come up with a strategy, of moving to a better place. And that's all it's about. It's about having that plan and then executing it. And that's in any manufacturing industry.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: Absolutely. I think that's a nice note to finish on. But before we conclude, it'd be great... Especially, [inaudible 00:23:18] sounded like provide the community so much value. If you could just let people know how they can find out more about UPTIME Consultant, what you do in your academy as well.

Andy Gailey: If you Google UPTIME Consultant or the UPTIME Consultant Academy, it'll take you straight to our webpage. If you go to the training box on there, you can go to the platform that's separate, which is UPTIME Consultant Academy. If you reach out and connect with me via LinkedIn, Andy Gailey, just look for Andy Gailey. And again, my profile will be UPTIME Consultant. I'll definitely always reply to every new contact that I make contact with. And again, there'll be a link there to go and take any of the courses. And one of the things that new starters at Senseye do. I see them log on. Is within a couple of months of them starting with Senseye, I see them logging onto the predictive and reliability center maintenance courses.

Again, we worked on a project together, just as a collaboration with myself and Peter Livaudais, where we looked at that human aspect where we support people to get the best from the Senseye application. I'm always looking to try and help people as much as I can. And some people come to me and might have an hour call or a Zoom call, and I'll never hear from them again. And that's fine, if I can help people. Then some people come to me and say, "I think we need to maybe have a day," or maybe we come up with a contract where we have a few days where I can look at their strategy. I get probably equal amounts of people looking at maintenance strategy and criticality as I do than the things that come out of that. So proactive, predictive, and lubrication.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: I think it's really useful, and I think it's really important as well. Because that provides so much value. And as I was of starting to say earlier on, from my marketing perspective, it's about giving away value... From a B2B perspective, this isn't a marketing podcast, but it's about giving value up front and not trying to hide it away and ask for something in return a lot of the time. You're providing the value, so I think that's something really important and a really positive thing you're doing.

Andy Gailey: People have asked, "Could you not make a bigger course and charge for it?" And I say, actually, I'm not interested in having another income stream from this where I have to concentrate on that. And then you become an online trainer, and there's a lot of work. One course that takes you through... There's probably five, five-minute modules within the course. And then there's some other information at the end of it as well you can download. One of those courses, I actually timed them, and I did three or four of them together over a number of weeks. It would take about a week to do an hour course. By the time you're done the video, and the editing, and the sound.

So the good thing is, it's there. As long as I support the platform and [inaudible 00:26:41], it's there for anybody, anywhere, anytime. One of the things I did think about was if there was a... I've said this to a couple of bigger clients. If you've got people that are all over the planet, but they have to have the same course, and it's bespoke. It's for you. It's about your platform. It's about what you do. Then, there's no reason why UPTIME Consultant couldn't provide a course like that, that they have the key to, that they can access anytime for six months to a year. So I have done that third party thing before with other people's label on, where people say, "Oh, we like your presentation. Could you do us a lubrication presentation, but aimed at our specific tool?" And if I agree with their tool and their ethos, I'll do it, and I'll charge them a day rate for doing that.

Niall Sullivan, Senseye: That sounds great. Thank you, Andy. Today, it's been a really interesting conversation. I'm sure everyone who's on this has learned a lot from your vast experience in that area. So, thank you again. And thank you everyone, too, who's listening.



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