Strategy Vs Action…the chicken AND the egg!

I recently participated in a forum discussion on LinkedIn, hosted by R Dillibabu, asking the question “Is practical knowledge more important than theoretical knowledge in factory management?”

As I considered my response, I remembered a quote from Dr. W. Edwards Deming, stating “it is …application that discloses inadequacy of a theory, and need for revision…without theory, there is nothing to revise.”

I began to consider that the answer, like many things in life, is having proper balance between theory and practical experience. Without practice, a theory is never improved and without theory, a practice has no structure, framework or understanding. 

When developing a reliability improvement strategy, it is important to balance the practical experience of company personnel with known theories on change management. The organization needs to understand that the theory or strategy behind the reliability improvement plan is as important as practical examples of success.  If either is missing, failure is predictable.

Finally, it’s important to revise theory/strategy based on deployment at a specific site so that the theory may be improved based on the lessons of practical experience.

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