How to Get Buy-in for Your Lubrication Program

Noria Corporation

"Our plant needs better lubrication practices, but management is not yet onboard with the necessary improvements. What are the most effective ways to get management buy-in for a lubrication excellence program?"

To obtain buy-in from management, your first step should be to become informed of all the opportunities for improvement at your facility. These opportunities may include areas such as contamination control, lubricant selection, oil and grease application, lubricant consumption, oil analysis quality, training and certification, condition of the lube room, etc.

When communicating with management, the content of your message will be critical. Your goal should be to open their eyes and motivate them to support the initiative. If you use only technical terms, they may not fully understand the benefits as you share your ideas.

Because you deal with the problems and face the lubrication challenges every day, you can easily translate the technical improvements into benefits. However, since management is not in your position, they may not have the same understanding as you do or be able to connect the project to the benefits.    

Management tends to listen more closely when information is presented in a way they understand. Words such as cost reduction, increased productivity, efficiency, effectiveness, savings, etc., will be welcome when you are communicating with them.

Your core message should emphasize that equipment reliability pays off and that lubrication excellence is a key element of a reliability strategy. Therefore, reliability-enabled lubrication will pay off. In many cases, it can pay for itself several times over.

A convincing presentation to top management would include evidence or photos of the current conditions showing poor practices, illustrations of best practices for comparison and the organizational benefits that could result from implementing lubrication excellence.

These benefits might involve fewer equipment failures, an extension in machine life, decreased lubricant consumption, more predictable maintenance schedules, reduced overtime, fewer spare parts in stock, more productive machinery and greater motivation by the maintenance/lubrication team.

Keep in mind that some lubrication-related failures are silent and thus may not be properly identified or measured. For instance, there might be a scheduled maintenance task to replace certain bearings, which may not be necessary based on the lubrication parameters.

By clearly conveying all the benefits of the initiative and making your case effectively, you will be well on your way to obtaining management buy-in for your lubrication program.

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