The Role of Lubrication Management Professionals

Jim Fitch, Noria Corporation
Tags: industrial lubricants

Thousands of companies around the world have an immediate need to hire lubrication management professionals. These companies are owners of numerous production assets that are critical to industrial processes and fleet operations. The reliability and operating costs of these machines depend heavily on the quality and effectiveness of lubrication as well as the skills of lubrication professionals.

It will be the lubrication management professional’s central task to ensure (as it relates to lubrication) that asset reliability is optimized at the lowest possible operating cost. The position is a strategic value-building job function essential to company profitability and competitive market strength.

Each company will fund the lubrication management professional’s compensation entirely from the savings gained from increased efficiencies in maintenance operations and asset productivity (uptime and availability).

Job Description

Brief Summary

The lubrication management professional will be responsible for management of all lubrication maintenance functions including oil analysis (Figures 1 and 2), lubricant selection, lubrication practices, lubricant handling and storage, and contamination control.

The lubrication management professional reports to the plant engineer or maintenance superintendent and has direct-line reports including lubrication technicians and lubricant analysts. A minimum of five years experience in machinery reliability and lubrication is required. A four-year degree in engineering or equivalent is preferred with appropriate certifications in lubrication and lubricant analysis.

Organizational Chart for Lubrication Management
Figure 1. Organizational Chart for Lubrication Management
Case 1. Organizations without Multiple Maintenance Technologies

Job Responsibilities

Selection of Lubricants

Selection of Lubrication Equipment

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Selection of Contamination Control Products

Management of Lubrication Suppliers and Service Providers

Lubrication PMs and Work Order Management

Figure 2. Organizational Chart for Lubrication Management
Case 2. Organizations with Integrated Maintenance Technologies

Lubrication Procedures

Writes specific lubrication procedures consistent with best practice for various tasks (scheduled PMs and routine work orders) including:

Lubricant Handling, Storage, Consumption and Conservation

New Machinery Specifications and Commissioning

Develops lubrication-related specifications for new machinery, including:

Outage and Shutdown Activities

Warranty and Regulatory Compliance Management

Manpower Planning, Administration, Staff Training and Certification

Lubrication Information Management

Supports the selection and management of lubrication software and other information technology products/ processes including data entry, oil analysis software, PdM software, lubrication scheduling software and related CMMS modules.

Oil Analysis Coordination (See Figures 1 and 2)

Failure Modes Effects Analysis (FMEA), Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCFA) and Troubleshooting

Management Reporting and Performance Metrics

Reality Check

World-class machine reliability requires world-class lubrication. World-class lubrication requires world-class professionals. Does your company employ a lubrication management professional today? Who currently performs the jobs listed above? Are these jobs being performed with proficiency and diligence? How long can your company afford to put off hiring a lubrication management professional? Perhaps he or she is already on your payroll but simply has not been given the training and directive to be your company’s onsite lubrication management professional.

Consider this challenge. Photocopy this column and share it with people in your company with job titles like plant engineer, plant manager, maintenance superintendent and operations manager. Ask them to comment on whether it makes sense to set up an lubrication management professional position at your plant/ operations for the sake of value-building machine reliability and cost control.

Now I have one more favor to ask. To enhance my understanding of the practical views and challenges of management, please share their comments with me.