There are many internal & external pressures on our operations. Many we don’t even think about, or are even aware of. These pressures greatly influence our ability to be profitable, and therefore sustainable. Being aware of these pressures & barriers will allow us to head them off and ensure our profitability.
I remember when I was unexpectedly asked to cut my maintenance staff by 30%. What I wasn’t aware of was one of the largest external pressures, the shareholders. They were not impressed by the returns and demanded immediate action.
Here are some of the most common pressures you will see:
- Cost Pressures: These can come from within the organization, when comparing plants to each other on cost per widget, overtime, etc. Cost pressures can also come from external parties, such as shareholders. We must keep in mind that the business is here to make money and not just to employ people
- Foreign Competition: Foreign Competition is a form of cost pressure. Often low cost overseas competitors do not have the regulatory hurdles that we have. The wage rate is often very low as well. However domestic competition does hold an advantage in transportation costs.
- It is expected: What businesses are expected to do is growing every day. ISO 55000 is an internationally recognized standard for Asset Management. Industry knows how important R&M is in improving quality, cost, and mitigating environmental risk. ISO 55000 provides the requirements to ensure that there is an effective Asset Management Program in place. These reduces the risk of another Deep Water Horizon incident.
- Skills Gap: Less young people are going into skilled trades and manufacturing in general. This is leading to a large shortage of capability across the globe. It is estimated that between 8-10% of skilled roles are currently unfilled (Accenture, 2014). Without these people and skills you will not be able to keep your equipment operating and will incur inefficient operations with a loss of up to 9%. (Accenture, 2014)
- Safety: Safety can cost us in many ways. An incident can lead to fines, lost time, or the shutdown of a site. Not to mention moral. So who is most likely to be injured? A maintenance technician with less than 2 years’ experience doing reactive work. I addition, working on breakdown maintenance work, you are five times more likely to be injured (Moore, 2013).
All of these pressures are forcing us to be better at what we do. A good R&M program can impact each of these pressures. Allowing us to increase the profitability for the operation, thus sustain our community.
Remember, to find success, you must first solve the problem, then achieve the implementation of the solution, and finally sustain winning results. So what is your biggest barrier in your Reliability & Maintenance program? Have a story you can share?
I’m James Kovacevic
Solve. Achieve. Sustain.
Moore, R. (2013). Reliability – Essential for a Safe, Cost Effective, Environmentally Friendly Operation. SMRP (p. 12). Indiannapolis, IN: The RM Group Inc.
Accenture, (2014), Skills Shortage Earnings Impact Study
Featured image is “under pressure” by Ed Schipul