Remember the wolf pack

Real progress comes from inside the plant. The more I witness real success stories in industry, the more convinced I am that real progress is nearly always internally generated and driven.

07/01/1998


Real progress comes from inside the plant. The more I witness real success stories in industry, the more convinced I am that real progress is nearly always internally generated and driven. That's one of the major reasons plants need to be wary of outsourcing.

This is not a slam at outsourcing. It has its time and place. In fact, it's a necessity. But a plant can't count on contractors to drive the progress that most companies are looking for. The plant employees, and more specifically the plant management, must be the driving force.

No where is this situation more critical than in plant and facilities management. The big projects -- the ones that make a significant long-term difference -- must be initiated and managed internally no matter how much of the project is contracted. This simple truth is becoming clearer to me as I talk with plant engineers about what they are doing and the benefits they expect to accomplish.

For example, there appears to be growing recognition on the part of top management that their facility's assets are capable of producing more capacity than they had previously thought possible. Among the sources of this additional capacity are reductions in scheduled and unscheduled outages, process related losses, and others. And among the methods for claiming additional capacity are improved maintenance processes, increased equipment and system reliability, and concerted efforts by facilities and production personnel to work together in uncovering and correcting root causes of diminished capacity.

There is an old saying that the strength of the pack is in the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is in the pack. And so it is in the industrial plant. The strength of the plant is in the individuals with the vision and dedication to pursue a course of continuous improvement. And these individuals, in turn, are strengthened by the support of the plant as a whole. It's rare that a contractor becomes an integral part of such a relationship.

The motivation to accomplish great progress, the initiation of culture-changing ideas, and the desire to move into new technologies and methods have to come from within the plant. The enterprise that depends on outside forces for the big ideas or the passion to excel with stretch goals and real innovation will always be a follower.





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...
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
Safety standards and electrical test instruments; Product of the Year winners; Easy and safe electrical design
Safer human-robot collaboration; 2017 Maintenance Survey; Digital Training; Converting your lighting system
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
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
Automation modernization; Predictive analytics enable open connectivity; System integration success; Automation turns home brewer into brew house
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas for tomorrow's fleets; Colleges and universities moving to CHP; Power and steam and frozen foods

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.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
Compressed air plays a vital role in most manufacturing plants, and availability of compressed air is crucial to a wide variety of operations.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me