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Maintenance makes the wheels go round


At the weekends I like to escape the some of day-to-day pressures of work by riding a bike.  Whether it be a short ride, or a long one, the metronomic focus on pedalling efficiency is a wonderful tonic to today’s connected world.

 Maintenance of my bikes (yes, I have more than one) is thus very important.  There is the pre-ride routine – tyres at the correct pressure, wheel quick release skewers tight, chain lubed – and the post ride bike wash. There is the monthly routine of degreasing the chain, checking for brake block wear, and the adjustment of cable tensions as required.  And then there is the full annual strip down, the likely replacement of the chain, and possibly the cassette, the potential replacement of tyres, and always the careful wrapping of pristine, new white bar tape.
I find each these routines satisfying in their own ways, but more satisfying is the knowledge that the bike will do what it is supposed to do, when it should.
"I have a couple of riding buddies that don’t obsessively maintain their bikes.  Suffice to say, group rides are invariably an opportunity for a little roadside 'fettling' ”.
*Middle Aged Man in Lycra

Back in the day
I remember learning about elements of maintenance as a management trainee in the quarrying industry.  I wasn’t taught, rather I picked up the language of maintenance, if not the actual tools, from old hands. If I reflect now on the maintenance regime in that quarry, I am embarrassed by the lack of routines, and to be completely honest, the amount of preventable downtime we had.

It wasn’t until I joined an operational consulting form that I really started to understand.  
For a start, as a junior consultant I was taught the difference between Planned Preventative Maintenance and Corrective Maintenance, and the financial impact of an inappropriate ration between the two. I started to understand the power of FMEA, and its linkage with those self-same preventative maintenance routines. Oh, and the penny finally dropped regarding the necessity to plan, and then assess the reality of execution against that plan.  

Working alongside clients, I often found myself implementing the foundational elements of World Class Maintenance, and never ceased to be delighted at the difference we jointly made.

In today’s world, while much has changed because of technology, the fundamental principles still hold true.  Our clients talk about:
  • The disconnect between the organisational intent to drive up EBITDA and the ability to fix, once and for all, repetitive equipment failures
  • The increasing costs of maintenance in an environment where OpEx reduction is the operational mantra
  • The need to drive compliance to maintenance processes, and fully take advantage of technology
Proudfoot is currently working with clients to address many such challenges.  Examples of our ongoing work in maintenance include:
  • Mining - improving production volumes, and costs per tonne, through a relentless focus on equipment availability and uptime
  • Electronics - increasing product compliance to specification through a keener focus on equipment set-up, maintenance, and operation
  • Major airline and MRO provider - reducing aircraft maintenance turnaround time, and driving full usage of new digitised maintenance processes - an IT firm is digitising the process, we are “digitising” the people.

While I have few regrets concerning my career, looking back, I really wish I had been coached and supported in the tools of effective maintenance while I was in my early 20s. I think it would have made a considerable difference to the output of the unit that I managed, and in turn helped support the overall goals of the firm for which I worked.

Today with Proudfoot, I have the opportunity to work with incredible clients to deliver maintenance best practice, from airlines to mines, from automotive to FMCG. Oh, and I’m also working on my cycling buddies maintenance skills too!


WHAT IF YOU COULD turn maintenance into a strategic enabler?
With Proudfoot, you can.


Published in Linkedin on March 17, 2017 by




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