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.





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
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
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
April 2018
Implementing a DCS, stepper motors, intelligent motion control, remote monitoring of irrigation systems
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.
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.
Maintenance & Safety
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
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