In the 1970s, a friend met me in the gym daily. We would trade encouragement, then he’d practice basketball moves. He made MVP that fall. Another example of success is Cal Ripken. We all know about Ripken’s record, but how did he set it? Planning and preparation were key. Sports records don’t just happen. And neither does uptime.

As a plant engineer, I had several 2000A breakers, 25 years old, with no history of maintenance. I wanted three spares. But accounting said “Since these breakers never trip, they work fine.” Explanations of how breakers work fell on deaf ears. A subsequent failure didn’t just happen. Poor planning produced failure. Maintenance by panic guarantees the loss of uptime and sends both jobs and profits to competitors — many of whom are offshore.

The great law of uptime is this: The more you cut out of the preparation stage, the more effort you need to cure the resulting problems. Those problems don’t just happen. Regardless of choice, we plan. How do you prepare for uptime? Do you ride a trial and error merry-go-round? Or do you identify potential problems ahead of time, so you can avoid them? By failing to plan properly, you plan to fail.

You can overplan, but normally we suffer from insufficient planning. Take a balanced approach to planning, and you should be successful. What is a balanced approach? When you make plans of any sort, you first set your eyes on your goal: making MVP for example. Or making uptime happen. When it comes to uptime, you first identify your critical loads, and then you identify the things you can do to keep them running. Then you incorporate those things into a plan and work the plan—consistently.

Planning takes center stage in this issue, as it should in life. Why not use the ideas in this issue to refine your own plans? If you approach EC&M and with the purpose of getting useful information, well, that sounds like a good plan to me.