Paul Casto with GE Digital

Industrial Talk is onsite at the 30th Annual SMRP conference and talking to Paul Casto, APM Industry Principal at GE Digital about “Focusing on Asset Reliability is Critical to your Industrial Success”. Get the answers to your “Reliability” questions along with Paul's  unique insight on the “How” on this Industrial Talk interview!

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reliability, technology, people, problems, companies, asset management, pandemic, certifications, solve, collaborate, industrial, driven, professional, implement, talk, engaged, organization, asset performance management, paul, training


Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott Mackenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's get right once


again, we're broadcasting from the 30th annual SMRP conference. And I gotta tell you, this is a home run, if you're in asset management, if you're in predictive maintenance, whatever you are in, this is definitely the show for you. The technology, the professionals, the problem solvers are all here. And they are willing to collaborate to talk to you about how to solve some of the problems. All right, in house, all cash Well, we're going to be talking about SMRP. He is with GE Digital, if I remember correctly. That's correct. There it is. Let's get cracking with the conversation. Yeah, I I've just wandered up and down this this year, and seeing the vendors, the solutions. What I'm always dazzled with Paul is the fact that one is to be able to see how things have evolved, you know, maybe maybe two years ago, it was one thing and then and then fast forward. And then and and now we're doing this and that and we're able to add value here, we're solving this problem there. And we're making it easier. And yeah, we're dealing with some, you know, the resource issues. So that's why this is so important. It just never ends. I mean, you guys are really the doctors in when I come when we talk about maintenance and acid reliability. Well, things


are changing fast. And she's the one thing we do know is it'll never change any slower than it is today. It just keeps increasing. And technology's increasing. How we apply different technologies, especially with industry 4.0, the melting of, of all the data that's out there, asset performance management, it's an exciting field to be working in these days.


You know, I feel like I'm an old curmudgeon, because if I was younger, I'd be all in this. I mean, it's exciting.


I've seen over my career from break fix, yeah, to preventive maintenance was the big thing, you know, time based, and then, and then we started doing vibration, and it was like eye opening. And, you know, look where we are today, you know, the the more sophisticated the technology becomes, the more valuable it is. The flip side of that is the more technically difficult and the more difficult it is to actually implement successfully. So, you know, there's that balance in between there, but there is no question that technology is, you know, marching on.


Do you find it with that technology? I think that there's because some of the technology that we see here on the floor, I find that it is there's, you bring up a good point that it's truly a sophisticated solution. But there is this drive to also make it approachable. Where, where it's not going to make my ear bleed, I see it I and then I can do it. There's this drive to sort of make it approachable.


Yeah, well, you know, the thing we need to remember is there is no magic wand. Yeah, right. And not only is technology and the solutions that it can help us with, it's also people. And the technology has to be understandable. And it has to be usable. The big winners are the people who can solve problems, integrate data, solve problems, and present that data in those answers in a way that you know, the average citizen like you're I can use that data. So it's twofold. You know, those processes, you think about software, you know, what software really does is helps it helps us efficiently implement work processes out there. So there's, there's two parts to this, you know, there's technology and then there's the people part that comes along with it.


So with that people part because, you know, many of these companies out here, and especially manufacturing or industry, it doesn't really matter. It's undeniable, the benefits a reliability program brings to the bottom line it is it's undeniable. At asset, Ron's whatever it might be. The challenge has always is seems like it is our finding those trained individuals once because if you walk out on this floor, and you talk to a lot of these vendors, and even the participants, there's a passion there. It's it's it's interesting, there's this collegial passion. And how do you how do you find individuals? How do you how do you do that? How do you Get those. How do you instill that passion?


Well, it's a challenging area to work in. And it's also exciting. You know, this is not like normal engineering. Reliability is probabilistic in nature, we there's no definite answer, because of all the variation that gets introduced to the equipment that's out in the field. And there's some basic skills that that you need to be able to manage that information. SMRP is working in those areas to try to make up training available leadership skills available, and to be able to bring people in, to be able to execute and reap the benefits of, of all of this data aggregation and technology together.


One of the areas that everybody and very fortunate for me I interview a lot of people is is, Scott, I hear you, I understand exactly what you mean, but But where do I start? And who do I trust? Because there's a lot of shingles that are being hung out there and like, Hey, we're, we're data aggregators, we're, we've, we've got a great platform, we're in the cloud, where I said, That, to me, is is a very big challenge. Because I want companies to say, Yeah, I need to get engaged. But I need to know where and who?


Well, there's two parts to that answer. First, if if you're just starting out, you should start out with the basics basics. A good root cause analysis program at the heart of any reliability program is failure elimination, and root cause analysis. And a lot of that work is not, you know, technology driven, it's basic, get your left foot in front of your right foot. And that's a good place to start. Now, when you start thinking about technologies and who to trust, you need to educate yourself, you need to go out and, and spend some time understanding what's available in the marketplace, the history of the vendors that are in the marketplace, because you're right, everybody and their brother are hanging a shingle out and saying, I'm in the asset performance management business, I'm in the reliability business. But as our speaker SMRP said, today, we really need to watch their feet and and make sure that they can do what they say they can do.


How do you do that? How is is an organization like SMRP? To a certain extent, help with that. It's like if I came to you and I have my certification next to my name, there's a certain trust that comes with that?


Well, there's sort of two kinds of trust right in your right. The first is credential trust. So at SMRP, we, we offer a number of certifications, your certified maintenance reliability professional, your certified reliability technician and certified Asset Management manager. We're hooked up with the IAM in the UK around some asset management certifications there, we partnered with P Mac, for some more Asset Management certifications that they offer and lots of training that they offer. So we've tried to bring that kind of credibility to bear and help people get that kind of credibility. The flip side of that is there's also experience credibility. And you know, can you walk the talk credibility? Can you do what you talk about? I have things.


So with that said, How to somebody, let's say I'm a, I'm a young professional, I see the value of being engaged with SMRP. I see the need to collaborate with seasoned professionals, all of that stuff, is a recommendation to say, Okay, you want to go down this road, you want to be a part of this community, to be involved in a company and then work your way in that are just how do we how does a young professional go about doing that?


Well, there's multiple approaches. One is you can be with a company working in maintenance and reliability. And then there are lots of educational opportunities. We just discuss some of those. There's also University opportunities. Certainly the University of Tennessee offers a master's in reliability as does University of Maryland, and there are others. So you can get some academic training, as well as field training, but there's nothing nothing that can replace good hands on out in the field solving problems and things like that. So wow, it's really good to get certifications and skills and training like that. You've got to be able to go to the field and apply that and nothing's going to replace that.


So with that said, so it it makes sense. How do we there is a need, do you find companies recognizing the necessity to truly be focused on asset management realized validity and doing it right and using the tools that are available and the new innovations that exist out there. Is there a greater acceptance? Or is there still companies that are like that? What, you know, we do it this way that type of the answer


is yes. And yes. You know, there are companies that are very reliability driven that, you know, reliability is at the center of their safety program, a more reliable plant is safer plants are safer plants a more reliable plant, they realize that they realize the impact that reliability can have on their bottom line, whether it's a maintenance cost or, you know, increased production, those numbers show up over on the income statement, you know, so reliability is, is, as I sometimes say, a goldmine, maybe I should be saying it's an oil well, these days, right, you know, yeah, hey, yeah, yeah. But But is it is can be a really profitable, but there are other companies that are still learning their companies, and a lot of it's based on the leadership, the background of those leadership's folks, what they know where they came from. I had a conversation with a friend just a couple of weeks ago, and and we were commiserating how sometimes we're talking about the same things we were talking about 20 years ago.


There is a problem with that. Yeah. Yeah. And, and but do you find, you know, with that, that that reality, then everybody's still talking about it? Do you find that there's a greater acceptance? I mean, I think there is, I think that over a period of time, just by looking at the people participating at SMRP, and


that type, I think, what's really changed and just the last, oh, 234 years, wow, really changed. Technology's changed. And leaders. Yeah, the leaders, they may not understand the basics of reliability. But now they're getting the idea that there's some technology out there. And if we could figure out how to harness and implement this technology, it could improve our lives, it can improve our bottom line, I think that has really driven at the management level of a lot of organizations sort of a renewed look at this area of reliability.


I look at events, historical events that haven't. And I think that there, because we had the we had that pandemic, wherever we're at on that. There was a shift, and a shift that brought attention. And I always talk about, I think people began to realize the necessity to collaborate. I have problems again to myself. And yet there's I got the negative stuff. Yeah, got it. But the positive stuff is that I think that it brought about a greater focus in, okay, we got to keep this asset up and running, we got to gotta figure out how to manage it more effectively. And now with resource challenges, it just, you know, there's more focus on it. Do you agree with that?


I do. And I think interestingly enough, I think the pandemic, and how we had to work remotely, I think it's driven collaboration to a new level, you know, we collaborate in ways now that we didn't do before the pandemic. And I think it's a strange consequence of what we had to do. We had to learn to work remotely, and we had to learn to work remotely fast, we had to do things remotely, that we never consider doing remotely. A great example is training has been changed forever, the delivery methods around training before COVID, there was a lot of face to face training, classroom training. That's all changed. I mean, there still is that train? Oh, yeah. Yeah, the vast majority of training can be done virtually or online. That's just one example of the many things that changed as a result of the unexpected consequences from the pandemic,


do have an opinion as a positive negative about that, because I think it's forever changed, I think it's going to continue to improve better delivery of education, whatever it is, and


I think that's really positive, I think this is going to make education available to a lot of people that might not have been available is gonna make us more efficient, more cost effective. I think it's just a wonderful ramification of a terrible thing.


And I in light of the fact that innovation and technology is just spinning so fast, it's a it's a rapid environment out there. I think that the only way is through means of education that can keep up with that speed.


I agree. And I think it's important to remember when I got out of school, they told me that the half life of an engineer was about five years, you know, and about five years, you know, the skill set you had was only worth about half as much as it was five years. No way. Now that was years ago. Yeah, just think how fast thing In China, it's a it's a challenge. And people who really want to stay at the top of their game have to be continuously engaged on improving their skill set, staying up to speed. And it's, it's a challenging thing to do


it and I look at it, like, like a doctor, right? I'm not going to a doctor that doesn't keep up with the new things that are taking place. You want a doctor that, you know, says I'm committed to learning the very latest and greatest and keeping me healthy.


Yep, you're exactly right. And but you know, I'll just say this. It's not all the technology. The other innovations are? How are we going to implement that technology? How are we going to integrate this in with the culture of the facility? How are we going to build a culture of reliability, and then be able to go manage the change, because when we implement this new technology, you know, we're changing the power structure out there, and we're changing, who has information, we're changing the way everybody does their work. And, you know, the tendency is always to go back to the good old days, it doesn't matter if the good old days were really that good, you know, we always want to go back to the way we used to. So, you know, there are challenges with implementing this technology driving, driving adoption of the technology and then being able to govern it.


So with that said, and I agree with you 100%, there's, there's there's a, there's a tsunami of change, some will do well at it, some will be nimble enough, some won't be as nimble enough and not of embracing it. So is it? No, no, I mean, what are some of the push backs? Let's just say, I mean, you got if you have an organization like SMRP, it's here. And it's, it's rich with with passionate professionals truly desire to help and solve problems. But there are still companies out there that are sort of pushing back on.


There are companies that are pushing back on that? And I'll answer the question this way. There's another problem as well, you know, there are companies that aren't pushing back on it that have trouble. You know, lots of times we think about this technology is going to solve our problems, we have to be forward thinking. So you got two groups, one group that's pushing back and other group that's trying to move forward. But they aren't thinking about, well, what am I going to do after I implement this technology? What problems am I going to solve? We're engineers, lots of us are engineers, and you know what happens? We see this new technology, and we become enamored with it. This is great stuff, let's go find some problems to solve. That's reverse of what we need to be doing and the reliability and maintenance base, we need to be aligning what we do with the business outcomes of our companies, what are our companies trying to achieve? And once we understand that, what are the barriers? What are the problems that need to be solved? To be able to achieve those outcomes? Then, with all this great technology, what technologies and what processes can we bring forward to solve those problems?


Does does an organization like SMRP? provide advocacy?


Well, as soon as I don't know where to go, yeah, yeah, one problem. SMRP tries to do a couple of things, as you can see, here, today, we try to bring everybody together, we try to promote collaboration between different technologies, different vendors, we try to make a forum where people can come to learn about these things and, and talk to knowledgeable people about their problems that need to be solved. So SMR really tries to drive that as well. So and we try to provide an atmosphere, or maybe mentorship of some folks who just had an announcement today about the new life member status, because we have a lot of folks who work and they sort of come to the end of their working career, you know, with a company, and they have a lot of knowledge and a lot of skills. And so we've come up with this, with this new life member, we want those people to to remain engaged with SMRP. So they can teach us so they can mentor the young folks and that we can leverage their knowledge.


That's important. That's subtly brilliant, because I agree. I think it's a shame with with some of these seasoned professionals out there that have seen it all. They've they've gone through a lot and and to let that sort of go to retirement and I've been engaged. I think it's it's a it's a disservice because a lot of people can I like that. That's a good, good thing.


We're excited about that. We're excited about that as well as we for some of our our professionals have created a senior member level to sort of elevate some of the top performers as well. So both of those have just been announced. And we are really excited about, about both the life membership, the benefits that that can bring to, to both the organization and to individuals as well as the senior membership.


So with all that there's there's a lot of great changes taking place in SMRP. And it's really, for me, if I was in the industry while I'm here, but I mean, I'm not like some of these, these companies. And I had a business, I would just have to say, the first step for me would be to just get engaged. It's just like, I know, I have to do it. Right. Not I don't want to push back on it. I don't want to be a roadblock. I know I have to do it. And to do that, you have to educate and, and and, and come into an organization like SMRP would be just a good first step. And then you'll see it and then you get to talk.


Yes, it is. It would be a good first step for a lot of folks to come and get started.


Yeah, see, I think that that's just, I don't know, man. Every year, and this year, in particular, just seems like there's a lot more buzz I just get more and more excited. Well,


we have over 1100 people at the conference really excited. Yes. And I think people want to get back together they do they want to get back together and see each other face to face a lot of our old friends.


Yeah, it's true. All right, Paul, how do we get a hole here?


You can reach me at


Easy peasy. All right, listeners, we're gonna have all the contact information for Paul out there on industrial So fear not, you can get a hold of this jet. Alright, once again, we're broadcasting from the 30th annual SMRP conference. Again, what Paul was saying, it's a good, good event. You need to put this on your calendar for next year. And I think it's in October and I think it's in Orlando.


Yes, October in Atlanta.


I'll just hit the hit the month as opposed to the dates. So just look for that. We're gonna have that out on industrial talking to and put down on your calendar. All right. We're gonna be right back with another great conversation from this particular event. So stay tuned, we will be right back.


You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network.


Berra once again, thank you very much for joining industrial talk. And thank you very much for your support. Paul SMRP, conference ball gastro right there. GE Digital madstad card out on LinkedIn, reach out to him find out more, you will not be disappointed with Paul. He knows his stuff as well as team G digital, absolutely incredible. They've got a lot happening and reliability, maintenance, asset management, all of the SMRP stuff, as well as you know, this digital transformation. Excellent conversation, they have their hands in pretty much everything and they're leading the way. All right. But the SMRP conference on your bucket list. I think it's in October, I don't have the details that but put it on your bucket list. It's going to be in Orlando. And I'm just telling you, you need to cut continuous if you're in reliability, you need to continuously educate, you need to collaborate and definitely Innovation is key here too as well. You are that important. You are all doctors out there in asset management. That's what I look at. So go out to or go out to industrial talk. We'll have all that the links there and get a gauge it's important 2023 right around the corner. Let's make it a winner. So anyway, thank you once again for joining industrial talk. We're gonna have another great conversation from SMRP shortly so stay tuned.

Scott MacKenzie

About the author, Scott

I am Scott MacKenzie, husband, father, and passionate industry educator. From humble beginnings as a lathing contractor and certified journeyman/lineman to an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Business Administration, I have applied every aspect of my education and training to lead and influence. I believe in serving and adding value wherever I am called.

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