I checked my Twitter feed this morning to see what was going on, besides the devastating tornadoes that struck in the Midwest last night. In our cozy little neighborhood in northern Illinois, we spent part of the evening below ground level and lost power twice. I awoke to quite a few downed trees and power lines, and it took several detours to make my way around the impassable streets to finally get to a main thoroughfare. But all in all it was only a slight inconvenience compared to the wreckage in Minneapolis and the fatalities in Joplin, Missouri. Our thoughts go out to those individuals and their families.
That’s why I was so amazed this morning when I logged in to Twitter and noticed immediately that Kim Possible is trending. I searched online news sources to find out why this animated crime fighter from days of Disney Channel past was back in the limelight.
And I found nothing.
No reason whatsoever.
I checked the Twitter feed, and no one was writing anything eventful about Kim Possible other than that they remember the teenage do-gooder fondly. Yes, I, too, remember the fiery red haired action hero who gave us expressions like “What’s the sitch?” and “So the drama.” I blame my children.
But it amazed me that something could instantly become a topic of heavy conversation without any news event or impetus for discussion.
Similarly, a beet processing mill in Billings, Montana, one of five that are part of Western Sugar Cooperative, is in the midst of its downtime. Beet processing annually ends in February following a typically busy six months that begins with harvesting in September. And yet the facility is bustling. What's going on? Maintenance, of course.
But what’s interesting about this plant is the staff. As more facilities look to operator-based maintenance as a proactive approach to optimizing uptime, the Billings mill turns its operators into its maintenance staff during the plant’s downtime.
While most facilities don’t alternate operations and maintenance in such large swings, it’s interesting in this mill to find control operators who double as mechanics, welders, and pipe fitters. The company actually hires for the specific maintenance skills it needs and then trains those individuals for the operator positions it needs during the production season.
Is this operator-based maintenance or maintenance-based operations? I need to know which term to use, just to be sure it’s trending properly on Twitter.