New Eptura research reveals employee-led hybrid work models and connected technology drive highest return. Learn more.

Reliability Centered Maintenance and Change Management Strategies

Don Barry is President and Principal Consultant at Asset Acumen Consulting where he is experienced in helping clients with predictive asset analytics, supporting asset management strategy, reliability, and APM solutions. Mike Petrusky asks Don about his decades of experience in the industry and they discuss the importance of a holistic asset management strategy, reliability centered … Continue reading "Reliability Centered Maintenance and Change Management Strategies"

Reliability Centered Maintenance and Change Management Strategies

Listen On Your Favorite Platform

Don Barry is President and Principal Consultant at Asset Acumen Consulting where he is experienced in helping clients with predictive asset analytics, supporting asset management strategy, reliability, and APM solutions. Mike Petrusky asks Don about his decades of experience in the industry and they discuss the importance of a holistic asset management strategy, reliability centered maintenance, and change management. Don also helps Mike learn more about Canada and they share a lot of inspiring stories and quotes that will help you to be an Asset Champion!

Connect with Don on LinkedIn:

Connect with Mike on LinkedIn:

Learn more about the iOFFICE Asset Division and explore more interviews at:

Share your thoughts with Mike via email: [email protected]

Read the full transcript:

Don Barry (00:00):

How well are you working cross-functionally? Because a lot of maintenance people are somewhat myopic and just want to deal with what’s on their desk and yet it usually takes maintenance and operations and design engineering to do total productive maintenance things, or reliability centered maintenance things and you need those kinds of disciplines if you plan to be leading practices and organizations.

Mike Petrusky (00:21):

This is the Asset Champion podcast, where we talk with facilities maintenance and asset management leaders about the industry trends and technologies impacting your organization. This show is powered by the iOFFICE asset division, delivering easy to use maintenance management software tools to help you drive powerful asset performance.

            Hey everyone, it’s Mike Petrusky welcoming you to episode 12 of the Asset Champion podcast. And I’ve got another great guest for you this week. I’m excited to share with you my recent conversation with Don Barry, who is the president and principal consultant at Asset Acumen Consulting. We talk about his long career at IBM, as well as his current experience as a consultant helping clients with predictive asset analytics, supporting asset management strategy, reliability, and so much more. Don is also from Canada and I’m just a product of the United States public school system folks. So I need to apologize in advance for my lack of knowledge about Canadian geography, and Don was kind enough to educate me a little bit, and we had a lot of fun along the way. Can’t wait for you to hear this. I know you’ll enjoy it. So check this out.

            Joining us today on the Asset Champion hotline from Ontario, Canada, it’s Don Barry. Hi, Don.

Don Barry (01:49):

Good day. How you doing?

Mike Petrusky (01:50):

I love it. Good day ey? How’s it going? Don’t you know. One of my Canadianism I need to use here.

Don Barry (01:58):

I think you know I spent some time in the US and my eys went away for a while.

Mike Petrusky (02:00):

Did they?

Don Barry (02:02):

But I refuse to use, huh?

Mike Petrusky (02:04):

There you go. I was raised during the 1980s where my first exposure to Canadian culture was through Bob and Doug McKenzie.

Don Barry (02:11):

Oh yes.

Mike Petrusky (02:12):

So the Great White North and Take Off, ey. I don’t know if you ever heard anybody say that in real life, but I love that.

Don Barry (02:19):

Well, we do wear tuques. We probably do say that. Some of us do drink beer but…

Mike Petrusky (02:26):

So Ontario, just outside of Toronto, you say.

Don Barry (02:29):

Well, no, Ontario is a province. So maybe like saying I’m in New York kind of thing.

Mike Petrusky (02:34):

Oh, I see. Do you live outside of Toronto, the city, in Ontario the province? Okay.

Don Barry (02:40):

I’m about 20 miles outside of Toronto.

Mike Petrusky (02:42):

Excellent. I’m learning a lot about Canada Don. So there’s how many provinces? Five or six?

Don Barry (02:47):


Mike Petrusky (02:49):

All right. I’m getting better. I’m learning a little bit more from my friends in Canada, so I appreciate you continuing the education. And I appreciate the fact that I get to talk to you today about asset management being that you are well known in this industry for your years of experience and you currently are the principal consultant with Asset Acumen Consulting, where you are an asset management thought leader, mentor, program executive. What else do you do? I could spend the whole 20 minutes of this podcast Don giving your bio sheet, but what would you like the people to know about your experience in the world of asset management?

Don Barry (03:25):

Okay, well, in specifically to asset management, I have about 40 years of experience in this space. I spent the first 42 years of my career at IBM where I was a maintenance mainframe and network technician. I was a country parts manager, parts analyst, country parts’ manager, marketing manager to sell that parts infrastructure to other companies. We did parts distribution for Apple, for instance, for quite a while.

Mike Petrusky (03:48):


Don Barry (03:49):

Strategy and change consulting, supply chain consulting because of my parts background and then asset management. So that’s the bulk of my experience. Two years ago, I left IBM, retired from IBM and started up Asset Acumen Consulting. So we’ve been reasonably active with that considering I thought I was going to retire and people kept calling me. So we’ve been fairly busy with that.

Mike Petrusky (04:11):

If you’re in demand, that’s a good thing. So that’s wonderful. So here we are living in a pandemic and you’re being pulled at probably in multiple directions, people ask you for advice and wondering how they can help navigate these unprecedented times. What is it you find yourself talking to clients about these days?

Don Barry (04:28):

Well, I’ve got a number of things going on. So I’m going to twist the answer a little bit. While I was at IBM I was also teaching at the University of Toronto an asset management program for the last 16 years. So I’m still doing that and I’m still preparing those courses. I also teach a maintenance parts management excellence program through the University of Toronto and I’m still doing that. So people are asking me to do that.

            Today, I still have clients in forestry and mining and utilities, mostly utilities. It seems a couple of systems integrators, software developer, and the kinds of things people are asking me is a little bit all over the board. They’re either, if you’re teaching, then you’re teaching people leading practice fundamentals to calibrate that discussion for how they might want to improve going forward. If you’re doing consulting, it might be to help them understand what they should be doing next in their overall strategies.

            I’m also a reliability centered maintenance practitioner. So if you’re teaching people, either preparing for RCM things, then we might be teaching there as well. But what are people looking to do now? I think they’re all trying to understand how to take advantage of technology.

Mike Petrusky (05:36):

Yeah. And we’re going to get into that. I look forward to hearing your perspectives on it. But before we get too far Don, I have to get to know a little bit more of the personal side of my guests and I do that by asking them about music. So is there a particular song that has a special meaning to you?

Don Barry (05:53):

Yeah. Well, there’s many frankly, but it all depends which part of my life you want to talk about. One of the ones that came to mind when you told me you were going to ask that was, Don’t Worry Be Happy.

Mike Petrusky (06:05):


Don Barry (06:06):

That came at a time when years ago when I was just asked to take over the country parts’ role and there was significant management changes. Middle managers, third line, second line managers got moved out or even demoted. And I got moved up from first line to second line. Some of the folks that were previously my bosses became my employees. Obviously, not a lot of people were happy with that change. I’m not sure I was particularly thrilled with it. Recognition was fine, but the situation I was in was not ideal.

            So going into work, that song was quite prominent on the radio. And I found it ironic that that song is on there and I’m being very stressed driving into the office. So at least my work environment, that’s one that comes to mind.

Mike Petrusky (06:52):

Here’s a little song I wrote.

Don Barry (06:53):

Don’t ask me to sing it though.

Mike Petrusky (06:54):

You might want to sing it note for note, don’t worry be happy.

Don Barry (07:01):

I could do that part. There you go.

Mike Petrusky (07:08):

Well, there you go. Whatever we’re going through, we all are facing challenges, especially these days and we have to keep that positive mindset and if a song can do that for us, I think that’s fantastic. So thanks Don for sharing.

Don Barry (07:20):

I mean now as a consultant, when you’re trying to get people to provoke them to change, whatever it is they’re trying to do, the old habits, new habits. I wouldn’t say that song comes to mind, but the fact that I’ve gone through some challenges in my career, despite the fact that I stayed at the same organization for over 40 years, you can help people. I’ve been there, I can help you. We’ll get through this kind of thing. So, yeah.

Mike Petrusky (07:20):

I love that.

Don Barry (07:43):

I don’t think I’d play that song as the answer to their stress though.

Mike Petrusky (07:47):

Right. But the message is a good one. And we do like to find ways to help keep people positive, especially during these challenging times and an inspirational quote or a motivational message of one kind or another is always something welcome here. Do you have any that you could share with our audience today?

Don Barry (08:01):

Yeah. Well, it’s interesting. I do a lot of teaching as I mentioned earlier at the university and privately with clients and things like that. And it’s almost always about change and getting people to change. So I can’t really necessarily tell you where all these quotes came from. Maybe one later on, I can, but change is a constant thing. If you’re not changing, then you’re basically dying. And arguably, if you’re not changing, it’s cancerous. To not change is to go backwards would be another analogy. If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re probably right. So might as well think you can and let’s get through it.

Mike Petrusky (08:36):

Yeah, I like that. We need to be reminded those simple things and our attitude drives a lot of our success in both business and in life. In fact, you remind me of a Zig Ziglar quote, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”

Don Barry (08:54):

Yeah, I’ve used that one in scouting. I used to be a scout leader and I’ve use that with both the leaders and the kids.

Mike Petrusky (09:00):

Good stuff. Well, let’s talk about asset management. I know you have experience in a lot of areas and the change management piece of what you do is interesting to me as well. But to start things off, I’m still learning, I’m understanding all the many facets of this industry. So from your perspective Don, how would you define asset management?

Don Barry (09:18):

Probably the simplest definition is getting a return on an asset. People buy assets and they form a company to create value and you’re trying to get value from your assets in a way that contributes to why your organization strategically exists. So that’s what it’s all about. You want to do it in a way that doesn’t hurt anybody, in a safe way. You want to do it in a way that maintains environmental standards and in a way that either promotes or certainly doesn’t hurt your brand. Arguably, asset management is about return on assets. It’s about the financial aspects of why that organization exists.

Mike Petrusky (09:58):

Excellent. So here we are with an audience of asset management professionals from all different industries and different areas of expertise and focus. What would you say to asset management professionals out there listening to us today? Where should they be focused as far as improving themselves and thereby helping their organizations best here in the year 2020 and beyond?

Don Barry (10:18):

Well, I think the standard consulting answer is always, it depends. It depends where you are, it depends where your people are, it depends where your organization is. It depends what the markets are doing. If you have assets and you’re not at full capacity and there’s market for your product, then how can you get to full capacity?

            But this was really about understanding, back to my earlier comment about why the assets exist. Why does your company exist? Do you have a strategy in your asset management strategy that aligns with your corporate strategy to go deliver on that? Are you organized to deliver on the asset management strategy? The things that you actually can control. The way you execute maintenance, the way you measure success, the way you physically execute, prevent predictive corrective type activities. Those are the kinds of things you need to focus on. Parts management’s a big part of it. The systems tools, your pickles, that’s a big part of it as well.

            And then it goes up even to a higher level of, how well are you working cross-functionally? Because a lot of maintenance people are somewhat myopic and just want to deal with what’s on their desk and yet it usually takes maintenance and operations and design engineering to do total productive maintenance things, or reliability centered maintenance things and you need those kinds of disciplines if you plan to be leading practices in organization.

Mike Petrusky (11:35):

Yeah. Taking that holistic view and collaborating is something I’ve certainly heard my other guests talk about. So you’re teaching and you’re consulting, and I know you run across a lot of industry professionals. What do you most enjoy about this Don? What are you most passionate about when it comes to your current role?

Don Barry (11:53):

Well, that’s interesting. I guess I’m most passionate about seeing other people go execute some of these foundational elements and see value in it. Over the years of teaching at the university, over the years of even teaching the folks that I had at IBM, or even since I left IBM, I will at times get notes back from folks saying, “Hey, we did this.” And either they’ll share a problem they got, or they’ll share a success. So I think those are the things that I would say are gratifying and therefore I’m passionate to hear and see.

            What I’m also most passionate about is making sure people do things so that they don’t say, “Well, we did this, it’s good enough.” Well, if someone gets hurt, if environmental problem happens, who’s going to be financially and perhaps legally responsible because you didn’t go far enough? So it’s probably the reliability’s center maintenance side of things that I’m quite passionate about as well. And it’s hard to answer that with one thing, because I have a fairly diverse background. I spent almost 18 years of my career in parts, maintenance parts, so anything to do with maintenance parts, I love having conversations with people and issues on that.

Mike Petrusky (13:02):

So here I am, just trying to figure all this stuff out. Don, when I hear the term reliability centered maintenance, can you really give me a deeper dive into that and what it means and how our audience should think about it?

Don Barry (13:14):

Well, let me position it for you and then I’ll define it. You know what an enterprise asset management solution is correct?

Mike Petrusky (13:20):


Don Barry (13:21):

So if you have an EAM solution, generally speaking, that’s helping you execute maintenance. It’s managing things like the work plans, the results if you like, the metrics against that, so KPIs. It will perhaps manage your parts if it’s set up to do that. Hopefully it is. It can do some basic analytic type things to do a little bit of business intelligence type stuff, but basically an EAM solution helps you manage doing what you plan to do efficiently.

            The EAM solution doesn’t really help you pick the right maintenance to do, it doesn’t tell you that for this particular asset in this operating context, I need to do preventive predictive or corrective things in a certain frequency. So the reliability centered maintenance discipline helps you do that. It will take a particular asset in its operating context, define why the asset is there. What’s its function? What’s its functional failure? Failure mode, failure effects, type analysis. Go through a mitigating tactic and then actually tell you what you should be putting into your EAM solution in terms of a job plan and a frequency, and who should be doing that. What are the skills, all those kinds of things.

            So reliability centered maintenance is really a discipline. It looks at the way components of an asset fail, it looks at the way the asset is placed in a particular operating context. It will look at the prioritization of an asset in terms of its importance to your business and your businesses value chain. So it’s those kinds of things.

Mike Petrusky (14:50):

Well, with in mind, lets talk about technology. And when I think about technology, the first thing I do think about is software, but there are many more certainly techniques and tools available in the world today. Which ones do you think are having the biggest impact on the marketplace today?

Don Barry (15:06):

Well, I’ll go back to my earlier comment, it depends. I mean, in terms of the market, I would say most large organizations and medium-sized organizations have an enterprise asset management solution today. And that’s great. The problem is, they’re still focused myopically on their enterprise asset management solution. They’re not looking at asset investment planning tools, or if they are, they’re doing it in just basic spreadsheets. They’re not looking at asset performance management tools or if they are, again, they’re probably doing it through BI tools and basic spreadsheets. And they’re certainly not looking at drawing all of that concert of EAM, AIP and APM together to manage supply chain management.

            In other words, my asset’s here to drive value, that’s why I bought the asset. How is it really going to drive value? And what are the risk elements if you like for me not being able to deliver on my supply chain commitments, my value chain commitments? Other things that are obviously going on, people are now leveraging IoT, Internet of Things. They’re leveraging artificial intelligence, machine learning and looking for ways to automate supply chain management. But that’s not even the top 1%, that might be the top point 0.1% of companies that are moving up in that direction, but that is the direction that things are going.

            So you got appreciate. I came from a large technology company. I would have been leading edge or bleeding edge, and a lot of the folks that are always trying to do the next big thing. But we still have a lot of organizations that still don’t even have their EAM sorted out. So there’s a long progression here to happen.

Mike Petrusky (16:38):

Excellent. Wow. Any final thoughts on how we can inspire our audience to be asset champions Don?

Don Barry (16:49):

Well, I’d say, start leading. Want to see change, want to improve the business, if you don’t know where to start, have a look at this maintenance excellence pyramid questionnaire in the book I talked about, or give me a call. So you just got to want to get started. And then don’t worry about the business case, that’s the easy part. There’s a lot of money to be saved by getting your assets operating better.

Mike Petrusky (17:11):

Take that first step and get the ball rolling, start your momentum, whether it’s in your career or in your organization’s plans and you can get there folks. That’s what it’s all about. So Don, thank you. This has been very informative and also inspiring. So I appreciate you taking time to be on the Asset Champion podcast.

Don Barry (17:31):

Well, thanks for having me

Mike Petrusky (17:33):

There you have it everyone. Don Barry of Asset Acumen Consulting, just scratching the surface of his experience and knowledge in the world of asset management. I just know I’m going to want to have Don back on the podcast for future episodes, because we talked about the fact that he could literally talk for hours about this topic and I am sure I can learn a lot more from him. So thank you Don, and I look forward to talking to you again.

            If you all are enjoying these podcasts, please share them with a colleague or a friend, and if you would take the time to head over to Apple Podcasts and leave us a rating and a review, that will help so much in getting the word out to our community and our future podcasts listeners who want to join us each week as we gather together to encourage and inspire each other to be an asset champion. Peace out.

            You’ve been listening to the Asset Champion podcast. We hope you found this discussion beneficial as we work together to elevate asset management success by improving efficiency, reducing costs and building best practices. For more information about how the iOFFICE asset division can boost the performance of your physical assets by providing comprehensive enterprise asset management software solutions, please visit


Avatar photo


As the host of both the Workplace Innovator Podcast and the Asset Champion Podcast, Mike's role at Eptura is to share thought leadership with CRE, FM, and IT leaders in the digital and hybrid workplace. As an in-demand public speaker, Mike engages audiences with his focus on the human element of workplace and facility management at International Facility Management Association, CoreNet, and other industry events.

You might also like

Fine-tuning preventive maintenance: How to avoid common PM pitfalls

To get the best return on your investments of time and energy, make sure to avoid these common PM pitfalls. 

Preventive maintenance: How to stay ahead of the curve and avoid major problems

Preventive maintenance programs cut downtime, boost productivity, and save you money. And it’s easy to see why.

Reactive maintenance: How to get good at putting out fires

A good facility management solution makes it all easier by streamlining how you manage resources and ensures the team has the tools and know-how they need to work effectively, efficiently, and safely. 

Ready to learn more?

Sign up to stay in the loop on new product updates, the latest innovations in worktech, and tips & tricks to help you work your world.