Maintenance Q&As

When do I need to hire a reliability engineer? How does reliability affect safety?

Answered May 02 2019

Hiring a reliability engineer is important when your organization wants to optimize how equipment runs for its intended use and for effective cost.

What is the role of a reliability engineer?

The role of a reliability engineer is to ensure that the plant is running effectively and efficiently – this is done by performing strategic tasks that reduce losses and increase the total uptime of a plant. If you want to take proactive steps to purposefully get more out of your plant, and you have enough data to analyze and get insights out of, then yes, you could benefit from hiring a reliability engineer.

How does a reliability engineer fit in with the overall organizational structure?

From looking at the high-level tasks of a reliability engineer, one might think that someone within the plant is already performing this role. Maybe even the whole team is already consciously trying to improve the production performance of the plant. This is a good sign! A dedicated workforce would show the initiative to take steps in improving the plant’s effectiveness.

However, you can imagine that having a dedicated resource to do a particular job would have its benefits. The main thing that sets reliability engineers apart from the rest of the maintenance team, is that they are expected to resolve problems in a less reactive way – their solution to a problem usually requires a long-term approach. This difference in approaching a problem shows why reliability engineering tasks might hold back the usual pace of maintenance teams to perform urgent and immediate resolution. Allowing your maintenance team to execute their operational tasks, then having a dedicated resource such as a reliability engineer to develop the strategies, gives you mastery in both the maintenance and reliability aspects of running the plant.

How does a reliability engineer affect organizational processes?

When hiring a reliability engineer, it is important to clearly define their objectives and clearly set them apart from already existing roles within the team. The basic roles of a reliability engineer can be summarized as loss elimination, risk management, and optimization of the life cycle of assets – all of which require extensive data analysis and data collection if the information is not available already.

A reliability engineer promotes the culture of reliability by involving the team in taking strategic steps to improve processes. With the right tools and data to work with, the reliability engineer working with the maintenance team can provide concrete plans to improve your performance.

Asset Management Questions & Answers