Investment in excellence
Investment in operations
The maintenance investment has been especially important to help rein in costs over the past four years. “Baldor has made significant investment into our maintenance processes in forms of diagnostic equipment, spare parts management, and technician training,” said Randy Rampey, manufacturing services manager for Baldor Marion. “The return on that investment is tangible.”
It wasn’t always that way, Rampey notes. “In 1999, we were totally reactive maintenance,” he said. “We tried to refurbish the equipment, and finally got it to a decent level of maintenance, and then we were able to continue. But still, we would find something too soon and some things not soon enough.”
In the past five years, a strategic approach to maintenance at Marion has produced machine uptime averages of more than 98% a year. In 2012, it hit 99.2% uptime.
There are other metrics at play as well. “Our dependency on outside contractors has been reduced by 95% over that same time period,” Rampey said. “After an initial maintenance cost increase to bring our assets up to acceptable condition, the overall maintenance cost has been reduced to 0.8% of sales value produced.”
Beyond the physical plant, Baldor’s investment in maintenance, safety, and quality has produced the kind of metrics that make the investment in concrete and steel easier to make.
On the safety front, the facility has been recognized multiple times by the North Carolina Department of Labor for its safety record.
Rampey said employees, including front office staff, audit the safety programs to ensure a high emphasis on safety issues, including off-the-job safety. “There’s a lot of peer involvement,” Rampey said. “When there are close calls and injuries, we try to talk about it on the line.”
The employees have returned the commitment to the plant. During the 2009 recession, they supported Baldor’s plan of taking voluntary time off to prevent general layoffs. Now that the business is growing, management rarely has to schedule overtime because there are enough employees who volunteer to work extra shifts. In another show of support, the plant has had 100% participation in the Marion United Way campaign for the past 13 consecutive years.
Its commitment to maintenance excellence and its flexibility in its workforce designed to meet the evolving needs in Marion made it easy for Baldor and ABB management to make the additional investment into Marion.
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey