Efficient Plant January 2018 - 41

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W

ELCOME TO 2018 and
a much stronger and growing
economy. While some businesses are seeing results now, others are waiting to see what comes next. Whether your
business is on the leading edge of the new
economy or not, most plants and facilities
will feel some impact-big or small, sooner
or later. Here's a preview of likely effects and
suggestions on how to prepare.

SKILLS SHORTAGES
The labor pool for manufacturing, skilled
maintenance, and hands-on technical jobs
will continue to shrink. Baby Boomers' skill
sets haven't been replaced by subsequent
generations. New equipment technologies
on the plant floor will continue to outpace
workplace skill sets, partly for lack of effective training and partly for lack of people
with the time and/or aptitude to master
many applied new-tech skills.
Now is the time to fundamentally
re-think past training practices (or the
lack thereof). Set aside time for formal
equipment-specific training and structured
hands-on job training (OJT) for the right
people developing the right skills.

GOOD MAINTENANCE
PRACTICES
Given the skills gaps in both the workplace
and labor pool, we must think beyond
maintenance tasks being performed only by
maintenance personnel. Important, but lower-skill-level, tasks can, and should, be performed by equipment operators-the single,
largest group closest to the equipment.
Trained equipment operators are, by far, the
best form of preventive maintenance in the
plant. This task collaboration also allows
higher-skilled maintenance technicians to
focus on tasks requiring their skill sets and
allows time to master any new technologies

JANUARY 2018

that could be coming into the plant.
Sounds like Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), doesn't it? Yes, but TPM in
America was rarely deployed as designed.
The interdependent nature of the six or
eight Pillars of TPM was largely ignored
in favor of only involving operators. This
single-mindedness missed the whole point
of TPM being a focused-improvement
strategy based on business needs rather
than a program to implement.

Prepare for
A Strong
Economy
Bob Williamson
Contributing Editor

COMPENSATION STRATEGIES
The past decade's lackluster economy led to
compensation stagnation in many businesses. In a booming economy, some businesses
will be granting pay increases in part to
make up for losses of the past and attract
new skills.
The downside: Pay increases without
productivity increases contribute to higher
operating costs and smaller profit margins. In good times, higher costs and lower
margins can be masked by strong revenues
and earnings. But what happens if/when
business slows?
Don't hesitate to consider "variable
compensation," including pay-at-risk, profit
sharing, productivity bonuses linked to
business performance, and pay-for-applied
skills to help address shortages. Skill-based
pay is awarded as new skills, designed to
improve plant performance, are mastered
through a formal training and qualification
process and deployed in the plant. EP

Bob Williamson, CMRP, CPMM, and
member of the Institute of Asset
Management, is in his fourth decade
of focusing on the "people side" of
world-class maintenance and reliability
in plants and facilities across North
America. Contact him at
RobertMW2@cs.com.

Most plants and facilities will feel some
impact, big or small, sooner or later, from
the new economy.

EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM |

41


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Efficient Plant January 2018

Efficient Plant January 2018 - 1
Efficient Plant January 2018 - Cover1
Efficient Plant January 2018 - GF1
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