Success is all about the training!
The 30-year veteran maintenance person who knows how everything in the plant works is largely a thing of the past. While there are still many of these long-time maintenance people, today’s workforce tends to be more mobile. The higher maintenance-staff turnover makes it less likely that individuals will simply acquire the required knowledge through years of hands-on experience.
Compounding this issue is the fact that training for maintenance people is one of the areas that’s especially prone to suffer from budget cuts. Most organizations seek constantly to do more with less. As the economy gets tougher and plant owners have to spend more conservatively, it’s often training that’s first to be eliminated. Shortchanging training is an especially short-sighted approach today. Automation systems, like all technology, evolves more rapidly than ever, making today’s maintenance knowledge more quickly obsolete. Ongoing training is vital.
Still, having trained maintenance staff on site can be a tremendous time and money saver. Many process control system issues require only a quick adjustment or simple programming adjustment. Rather than rely on demand services for these types of fixes, it can be faster and more economical to rely on in-house maintenance staff … assuming they have the necessary training. “Unfortunately, training for maintenance people generally lags behind the technology that they have to maintain,” says Williamson. “Organizations that choose to self-maintain their systems must undertake a program of regular training to ensure that their maintainers are provided with the steady diet of skills and knowledge needed to provide quality maintenance services.”
An extremely valuable training resource is the equipment OEM. “It’s very important to take advantage of the training available from the company that provided the equipment,” says Crowl.
“Whether it’s live classroom instruction, online courses or some combination of the two, regular training not only ensures that maintenance departments are prepared to support the equipment, but also that they are doing it properly.”
Check back next week to learn more ongoing preventative maintenance is key to your success. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on this topic.