A special trust

Plant engineers are industry's stewards. That may not sound like much of a compliment. But in the truest sense of the title, it is a very high position indeed.


Plant engineers are industry's stewards. That may not sound like much of a compliment. But in the truest sense of the title, it is a very high position indeed.

A steward, according to the dictionary, is one who manages another's property, finances, or other affairs. And that's what industrial plant engineering is about. But the dictionary definition hardly reflects the special trust that is inherent to stewardship.

The position of steward dates back thousands of years. From what we know, it may be safely inferred that every ancient household of distinction or of sufficient wealth had a steward in charge. This individual (always a man in those days) was fully accountable to his master and had to render an account when called upon.

Steward has been used as the translation for several ancient words, notably the Hebrew sar , "head" person; and the Greek epitropos , "manager," and oikonomos , "overseer." The similarity of meanings is obvious, but the depth of meaning may not be.

The good steward is charged with two important responsibilities not mentioned in the strict definitions. The first is the responsibility to manage the assets solely for the good of the owner and not for the steward's personal gain. The second is the responsibility to improve or increase the assets. Mere caretaking, or maintenance is not enough.

The special trust that is not always so obvious is that of improving assets and increasing their value. One reason is that improvements often go unnoticed. The installation of an automatic lubrication system, for example, may be viewed only as a reduction in labor and not an asset improvement. Other improvements, like an upgraded energy management system, may not be viewed as increasing the value of assets.

Plant engineers should embrace all of the special trust inherent to good stewardship, and should periodically provide an account to their managers showing how their stewardship is improving and increasing the corporate assets.

Don't forget to mark your calendar for Plant Skills 2000: Training the plant engineering and maintenance workforce , September 25-27, in Oak Brook, IL. We'll help you meet your biggest maintenance and reliability challenge.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safer human-robot collaboration; 2017 Maintenance Survey; Digital Training; Converting your lighting system
IIoT grows up; Six ways to lower IIoT costs; Six mobile safety strategies; 2017 Salary Survey
2016 Top Plant; 2016 Best Practices on manufacturing progress, efficiency, safety
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
What controller fits your application; Permanent magnet motors; Chemical manufacturer tames alarm management; Taking steps in a new direction
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

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

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on preventing compressed air leaks and centrifugal air compressor basics and best practices for the "fifth utility" in manufacturing plants.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
click me