Inspectioneering Journal

Are You a Strategic or Tactical FEMI Thinker/Planner?

By John Reynolds, Principal Consultant at Intertek. This article appears in the January/February 2024 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.


At one time or another, I’m sure everyone has heard the sayings: “Someone can't see the forest for the trees” or “We may be missing the big picture when we get too focused on the details.” Both expressions highlight our tendency to become so immersed in the specifics of our fixed equipment mechanical integrity (FEMI) jobs that we can lose focus of a FEMI program’s overall perspective or main objective. The intent of this article is to provide you with a way of standing back and looking at how and where individual “FEMI trees” fit into the larger “FEMI forest.” Hopefully, this will allow everyone who works with “FEMI trees” (our daily FEMI jobs) to reevaluate the entire ”FEMI forest” (i.e., the total FEMI program) in order to bring back into focus what it takes to keep the entire FEMI forest healthy, effective, and efficient. Hence, this article is intended to be simply a way of thinking about strategic and tactical thinking within the total FEMI work process and how important each aspect of our FEMI program is relative to the whole program in order to avoid neglecting some important aspects of the process that might hinder the eventual success of our FEMI journey.

Strategic and Tactical Thinking/Planning about FEMI

With that introduction, the rest of this article is about understanding and utilizing strategic thinking/planning (dealing with the total forest, i.e., hundreds of acres of trees) and tactical thinking/planning (dealing with the individual trees or groups of trees within the forest). It’s important to recognize that both skills (strategic and tactical thinking/planning) are important to the success of the total FEMI program. If either of these strategic or tactical skills is weaker than it needs to be in any particular company or site, then the FEMI program may falter and fail in its mission (minimizing leaks and failures). Figure 1 shows a simple graphic of how the two thinking/planning skills work together to create and implement a successful FEMI program in our industry.

Figure 1. Strategic and Tactical Planning Skills for FEMI
Figure 1. Strategic and Tactical Planning Skills for FEMI

Strategic FEMI thinking/planning on the left side of Figure 1 is all about “what goals/objectives need to be accomplished and why” and perhaps a bit of higher level “how things need to be accomplished” in order to achieve the FEMI goals/objectives (i.e., where do we want to be when a specific FEMI management system/program is fully implemented. What is it we want to achieve?). Strategic FEMI thinking/planning is an organizational management process used to set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen the work process, and focus the attention of all FEMI stakeholders on working toward common FEMI goals/objectives. Strategic planning starts at the top of the organization with deeper, long-range planning and ends with tactical planning and execution for day-to-day FEMI activities that will eventually achieve the longer-range strategies. A true strategist understands the nature of a long-term goal and creates an innovative plan to achieve it.

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Comments and Discussion

Posted by Nain Aguado on March 18, 2024
Excellent paper, very practice, thank you by... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by DEBASIS MITRA on March 18, 2024
It is recommended that in Fig 3/ Tier 3B... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

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