I had a conversation with a friend today who is a reliability manager at a large global pharmaceutical company. He told me that one of the company executives - who has been a supporter of the 10 year reliability journey they have been on - asked him if he could state what the cost effect would be if they reduced reliability to a lower level - say 10% lower than the current level (currently they enjoy very high levels of reliability because of the work they have done and the investment they have made over the past 10 years). The question was not anticipating a higher cost - but a lower one by cutting some of the efforts they make toward reliability!
Obviously this executive is faced with a pretty tough situation if he is asking that kind of question, but it made me think that others would be asking the same questions at companies around the world.
I gave my answer and my friend agreed but I think this is an appropriate question for the community to explore as many will be faced with such choices.
Before you dismiss this question - I contend that this is a legitimate question for an executive to ask as they explore ways to drive through this economic downturn. I am not suggesting that reducing reliability as a cost savings strategy - but is it valid to explore reducing expense in this way?
If not - how can one clearly state the business case for maintaining current reliability levels in this challenging environment?
Your replies would be appreciate by all of us.