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Leading Indicator

A telltale sign that indicates a future condition or financial trends or potential failure ("P") or functional failure ("F") of an asset.  

Legend has it that miners would bring a caged canary into the coal mines. Canaries are especially sensitive to certain types of gases, which made them ideal for detecting dangerous gas build-ups. As long as the birds kept singing, the miners knew their air supply was safe. A dead canary signaled an immediate evacuation.  Another example of a resourceful practice is the Bellwether, which refers to the placement of a bell around the neck of a ram while he leads his flock of sheep over the rolling hills in the misty English countryside. The movements of the flock could be established by hearing the bell from a distance before the flock was in sight. While the “miner’s canary” serves to warn of danger, the “shepherd’s bellwether” provides a leading indicator of something coming up ahead that we cannot see from our current position.  

The singing canary and the ringing bell serve as simple metaphors for a variety of techniques that have been developed by different professions to assist in managing the uncertainties and risks associated with future events.  


Detection of Leading Indicators
Leading indicators are detected through a variety of means, including:


Use of Leading indicators

Leading indicators are necessary for the following asset management activities:

Leading indicators, lagging indicators and coincident indicators on a PF Curve.
Fig. Leading indicators, lagging indicators and coincident indicators on a PF Curve.


Predictive maintenance (pdM) technologies to detect leading indicators along the P-F Curve in relation to Potential Failure (P) and Functional Failure (F)
Fig. Predictive maintenance (PdM) technologies to detect leading indicators along the P-F Curve in relation to Potential Failure (P) and Functional Failure (F).


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