Changing workforce requires changes in asset management

A customer with a strong maintenance department lost 90% of its experienced people in the last two years. They were now struggling to re-learn everything this team had already learned over the last 10 years. A reliability and maintenance consulting services company based in the United States told us that 80% of their clients indicate an attrition rate among their maintenance craft personnel of ...

06/15/2007


A customer with a strong maintenance department lost 90% of its experienced people in the last two years. They were now struggling to re-learn everything this team had already learned over the last 10 years. A reliability and maintenance consulting services company based in the United States told us that 80% of their clients indicate an attrition rate among their maintenance craft personnel of between 40% and 60% in the next five to seven years. Only 10% of these clients have a good apprentice program or plans for retaining skills.

 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment of industrial mechanics and maintenance workers is projected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2014. Many mechanics are expected to retire in coming years, and employers have reported difficulty in recruiting young workers with the necessary skills to be industrial machinery mechanics. Most job openings will stem from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or who retire or leave the labor force for other reasons.

 

In addition, many people who have entered the job market in the past 10 to 20 years have focused on new technology markets, and left the older traditional industrial jobs to a much smaller group. The number of people entering the maintenance field as well as the operations field is smaller than the number of people retiring, resulting in a shrinking work force.

 

Due to the changing workforce, taking the next step in asset management is not going to be accomplished by working harder, but instead by working smarter. To retain and use the company’s knowledge and experience, a new attitude will need to be fostered and the company culture will need to evolve to embrace new technology.

 

Changing the culture

 

The most critical aspect of the improvement process is the culture change. Culture is something that cannot be simply mandated into the organization. The culture for change must be owned by the organization and believed in at the very top level of management %%MDASSML%% a new management attitude.

 

With the right attitude and culture, technology can be put in place. That begins with organizing the knowledge required to go to the next smart step in asset management. This knowledge organization begins by automating the decision process using asset knowledge science, or intellectual capital. An additional benefit of capturing the inherent shop floor knowledge is that the automation provides staff more time to spend on tasks that require a higher skill level and have the potential to bring a much larger return on investment.

 

With asset management knowledge organized, a Decision Support System is used to analyze maintenance and operational data and present it in a way that allows maintenance technicians to make business decisions more easily. A DSS is an interactive, flexible and adaptable computer-based information system developed to facilitate knowledge-based decision making.

 

By integrating data from multiple sources into one easy-to-use software application, a DDS applies a structured approach to facilitate consistent and reliable decision making, enabling personnel to act quickly based on meaningful data and a predetermined set of procedures and priorities. The system replaces labor-intensive data collection and analysis with automatic analysis, fault resolution and even work-order notification.

 

The DDS also includes the ability to add physical information about plant assets including lists of faults and symptoms, activity history and document management folders. The information is organized and readily accessible according to its criticality %%MDASSML%% specifically relative to production, safety or environment.

 

The DSS uses data, provides easy-to-use interfaces and allows for the decision maker’s own insights. It is the confluences of intellectual capital with the capabilities of the computer to improve the quality of decisions and maximize workforce effectiveness.

 

A robust Decision Support System allows employees to document what they know about their operational and maintenance processes, and capture this knowledge for more effective asset management. This intellectual capital can then be placed online to diagnose plant issues as they occur in real-time.

 

 

Author Information
Scott Brady is director of product marketing for SKF Reliability Systems. He began his career with Palomar Technology International in San Diego. Most recently, he was responsible for developing the SKF @ptitude decision support system that automates the reliability maintenance decision-making process. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering.

 



Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
June 2018
2018 Lubrication Guide, Motor and maintenance management, Control system migration
May 2018
Electrical standards, robots and Lean manufacturing, and how an aluminum packaging plant is helping community growth.
April 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
August 2018
Choosing an automation controller, Lean manufacturing
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
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 Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me