New year resolution: do oil analysis

Each January millions across the world start on their New Years resolutions whether it be giving up smoking, cutting down on alcohol or actually using that gym membership you have been paying for but never getting round to using.

This highlights that naturally we will not necessarily do what’s right all year round. It sometimes takes large campaigns or even legislation to encourage people to do things that are right such as recycling or not drink driving. In recent times in the UK we have started implementing charges for plastic bags or fines for not clearing up after your dog to encourage people to do the right thing.

Hence there needs to be something to trigger a will to do what we already know is the right thing to do.

Oil analysis is a classic example of this mentality. It is hugely beneficial for lubricating machinery, can save you tremendous amounts of money or time, and improves reliability. Often the first time potential new customers come to ask about oil analysis is because they have had a huge catastrophic failure and management have concluded this could have been prevented if they had been doing condition monitoring. Likewise another reason is often, “the competition are doing it, so we have to as well”. Both of these reasons are as valid as any trigger and without them most labs would have no customers. However, all of these approaches are reactive responses rather than proactive to prevent problems in the first place.

The difficulty is without a costly failure or loss of sales of your services it is difficult to prove a case for oil analysis as a cost saving. Often it is seen in accounting terms as an additional cost that did not used to be incurred and the proof it was the right decision tends to be in hindsight rather than being seen up front. Likewise when arguing to maintain a well established oil analysis programme as part of your business, when it is working well there is very little down time or costly failures to handle and so the benefit it is providing may be underestimated.

This means it often requires trials of services for a small fleet of equipment or comparisons to not doing oil analysis at all. The problem is these trials tend to be very small for short periods e.g. 5 machines for 2 months, which if only taking monthly sampling is only 10 samples and doesn’t really give a chance for the analysis to prove its case as it is a long term solution rather than a short term fix.

The other option is case studies, which although popular ways to show the benefits, many clients prefer to be anonymised if the case study highlighted failings in their maintenance practices.

After years at looking at the problem that has plagued the industry as to why do oil analysis when the benefits can only be shown by either stopping or starting oil analysis to see what happens in a years time, the key issue comes down to training. When someone does not understand the concept of oil analysis they will often require far more evidence to buy in to the process and hence often don’t do it in the end.

This is why oil analysis training helps people understand the benefits and hopefully give them the motivation to do what is right.

I started this website to help people understand more about oil analysis, not particularly to grow my lab business but to promote oil analysis worldwide so the whole industry grows and more people benefit from using oil analysis.

Happy new year and why not add oil analysis to your new year resolutions for 2018.