Data-Drivenness and Analytics for Operational Excellence

The Big Idea and mission

In 2003 Richard Lamb was called upon to build a dual-dimensional budget and variance control system for a refinery’s maintenance operation (see papers on webpage “Cost Control and Finance”). While struggling to get at the historical data captured in the CMMS which he needed to determine the workload and resources necessary to maintain the refinery, he discovered that he could reach into the refinery’s CMMS to extract its data and join them in super tables. Since then, the Richard has made the discovery a standard to his work for operational excellence. Along the way he has observed how few people know the easy, exciting skills of extracting and joining data into super tables that otherwise do not, cannot and will never exist in their systems.


In 2014, Richard began to sense that software—one being free to all—was emerging to not just pass data through to facts presented in dashboards, but also pass data through advanced analytics to gain insight we could not have before. The sense of something new kicked off what became an intense five-year quest to determine and frame what was newly possible so that it could flow into the mainstream of operational excellence.


The result was to discover that the bar of what is operational excellence had been raised by the newly obtainable ability to be data-driven—defined as harnessing a firm’s operational data to augment the experience and judgement of operatives, managers, analysts and engineers as they plan, organize, conduct and control their processes. As it would for anyone, this greatly strengthened Richard’s acumen of almost 40 years as an adviser in business strategy, finance and operations, including almost 30 years in maintenance and reliability, and preceded by 6 years as a manager of complex civil engineering projects.


This has driven Richard to become an activist whose mission is to help others recognize and move into what can be new age for their career and, as they do, be hugely consequential for their firms and industries. Accordingly, Richard has developed three training sessions through which an organization must pass before the goal to reach data-drivenness is a realistic possibility—we cannot implement what we do not understand. Richard offers to serve as the instructor, but consistent with his activism, anyone is welcome to download the training slide sets available from the webpage, "Training Sessions" and present them in their own organization.


Richard is a Registered Professional Engineer and Certified Public Accountant. He has published two books presenting new ideas for reliability and maintenance management framed in business strategy: Availability Engineering and Management for Manufacturing Plant Performance, and Maintenance Reinvented for Business Performance. He has a BSCE, BBA and MBA from the University of Houston and a graduate-level Applied Statistics Certificate from the Texas A&M University.