As you implementing a better, smarter maintenance strategy, remember to breathe

March 18, 2020
Thomas Wilk says to make improvements, you first have to pause, take a deep breath, and develop a plan of action.

“There is nothing more powerful than looking back and seeing just how far you’ve come with something you’ve really struggled with!”

From the Editor

This article is part of our monthly From the Editor column. Read more from Thomas Wilk.

These were the words that greeted me on Facebook one recent morning by a good friend who is a personal trainer. The words were accompanied by an image of her, with a fist raised and her shoulder and bicep muscles bulging, ready for her next challenge.

For this issue of Plant Services, our focus is not on the future state of your plant or your career, but instead on how to optimize your present state. There’s a theme that runs through each article: to make improvements, you first have to pause, take a deep breath, and develop a plan of action. To get set before you go.

This may sound like it’s easier said than done. After all, in our cover story on smart PMs, author Phil Beelendorf makes this point: “Quick is the name of the game in our ever increasingly fast-paced, results-oriented world. Don’t believe me? When is the last time your boss extended a due date for you to complete a task?”

However, for the rest of his article, Beelendorf emphasizes the fact that there’s no way to go fast (or faster) if you haven’t taken the time to ramp up to speed. He leads with the idea that “we cannot lose sight of the fact that our maintenance strategies have to be as smart as the technology-laden assets we hope to maintain,” and then walks us through several options for implementing a better, smarter, planned maintenance strategy.

Phil also makes it clear that building a smarter strategy doesn’t stop at PM or PdM optimization, by stating “I do not believe you can build a best-in-class asset management strategy without fully engaging operations” and then laying out the same type of five-point improvement strategy for operators that he offers for PdM and PM optimization.

Our March issue columnists share this deep-breath mindset: Tom Moriarty connects positive on-the-job momentum to how well teams understand the long-term plans and goals. Sheila Kennedy reviews new technologies designed to ease the complex process of work management. Peter Garforth argues that energy efficiency projects work best when they deliberately incorporate the wider world of sustainability initiatives. And Doc Palmer, our leading advocate for planning and scheduling, draws a link between identifying proactive work and improving safety. 

Also, in an interview feature, manufacturing COO Karla Trotman explains why recruiting a diverse workforce drives benefits beyond the bottom line: “One should make the effort to connect with people that are completely different, not just those in the industry that you want to be in, to gain a different perspective. Diverse perspectives and experiences enrich conversations and thought processes, (and) there’s always something that you can learn along the way.”

So, even in a fast-paced world, the middle step of “get set” may be the most important of all. Oh, and please remember to breathe.

About the Author

Thomas Wilk | editor in chief

Thomas Wilk joined Plant Services as editor in chief in 2014. Previously, Wilk was content strategist / mobile media manager at Panduit. Prior to Panduit, Tom was lead editor for Battelle Memorial Institute's Environmental Restoration team, and taught business and technical writing at Ohio State University for eight years. Tom holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MA from Ohio State University

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