Staffing solutions for plant managers

Those maintenance professionals of a certain age are probably going to be leaving the salt mine behind when they decide it's more fun to sit under a palm tree with a margarita in their hand. But the mines, mills, and factories must keep operating or the U.S. economy will be in a deeper pit than it already is now. How industry compensates for the inevitable departure of another seasoned pro or three is critical.

You could count on greater productivity from those maintenance folks who remain. It’s a case of doing more with fewer resources. After all, isn’t that what better technology is supposed to permit you to do?

If you’re a gambler, you could simply hope for the best and pray that the equipment in the plant doesn’t crash and burn during your watch. That approach seems a bit risky considering the fact that operating equipment undergoes an inexorable amount of wear and tear.

Of course, you could post help wanted items on the many online job boards or find a recruiter who specializes in finding candidates for the maintenance arena. This might yield quite a few resumes from which you could try to cherry-pick the cream of the crop. Then the question is how well the baggage the new hire totes around meshes with the corporate culture you know and love.

Still, another idea would be to snag a brand-new graduate coming out of a trade school, if they still exist. The advantage with this approach is that you get to break in the new guy who comes with fewer preconceived notions and a lot of gratitude for the opportunity to apply all that new learning.

If you go this last route, you might want to give some thought how you integrate the newbie into the system. Adler Engineering LLC has some advice on the topic in a document titled “The Consummate Maintenance Engineer

While you’re checking out the integration process, you might consider looking at some of the case studies Adler has available (they’re shown under the grey horizontal bar on the right side).

These studies in effective troubleshooting and root cause analysis are rather thorough. Perhaps the Adler approach could serve as a best practice. You be the judge.