Reader Feedback

Beware of costly consulting contracts Back in the days when outsourcing in general was an alien concept, the novelty that anyone actually had a business for outsourced production maintenance was enough to differentiate anyone in the business. Indeed, times have changed. In fact the concept of outsourced factory maintenance is catching on quickly.


Beware of costly consulting contracts

Back in the days when outsourcing in general was an alien concept, the novelty that anyone actually had a business for outsourced production maintenance was enough to differentiate anyone in the business.

Indeed, times have changed. In fact the concept of outsourced factory maintenance is catching on quickly. Analysts have pegged the market for outsourced factory services at well over $100 billion and growing. And with its current rapid adoption rate, many of the largest consultancy companies have begun offering it as part of their pallet of services.

But look before you leap into a costly consulting contract.

Maintenance is, and will always be, a hands-on craft, the likes of which does not seem to match up with pin-striped suits. Not that we have anything against fashion or consultants, but consulting companies can only show you a way %%MDASSML%% they can’t take you there. They all stop short of implementing a real plan.

That’s why when seriously considering outsourcing production maintenance, it’s important to look for a company that can provide more than a high level concept of what should be done. Look for a company that can execute the plan %%MDASSML%% and one with a list of successes and metrics to help you sleep better at night.

Outsourcing can provide outstanding gains in productivity and increased output. It can also be a disaster if not implemented correctly. There are many issues that must be considered %%MDASSML%% from studying the current machine data to spare parts inventory to managing the human issues %%MDASSML%% all of these must be improved quickly with the least amount of unplanned disruption.

Don’t be afraid to ask the companies you are considering how many of their contracts have been terminated in the first 12 months. This is important to know because it reflects on their internal culture’s ability to manage change in your environment.

Simply stated, companies with weak change management skills or companies that merely replace or substitute people will fail more often than not, because they are unable to affect change in the host company’s culture.

On the other hand, an outsourcer that has a strong culture based on principles of Six Sigma and continuous improvement can complement %%MDASSML%% and even thrive %%MDASSML%% within your organization. That’s because Six Sigma and continuous improvement are disciplines for dealing with change %%MDASSML%% and in today’s volatile manufacturing economy, change is the rule %%MDASSML%% not the exception.

So choose your partners carefully, read what editors and other experts in the field have written. And above all, schedule time to visit sites where you can see the company at work.

Don Johnson
Vice President, Marketing
Advanced Technology Services. Inc.

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.
October 2018
Tools vs. sensors, functional safety, compressor rental, an operational network of maintenance and safety
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
October 2018
Complex upgrades for system integrators; Process control safety and compliance
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

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.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
click me