Efficient Plant November 2017 - 21

feature | voice from the field
STEPHEN'S BEST ADVICE FOR R&M PROFESSIONALS
"Be intellectually curious. Never stop learning. Get certified in as many technologies
as possible. Get involved with professional societies such as SMRP, Society of
Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE), American Society for Quality (ASQ).
Follow the golden rule. Always seek out the views of first-line supervisors, operators,
maintainers. Become a better communicator-join Toastmasters. Plan your work, work
your plan, and use data judiciously."

However, to produce effective change, Matthews pulls from his
experiences as an engineer, as well as from his experience with
materials management. Once management provides a mission,
deliverables, and a timeline, he develops a project plan and has a
kickoff meeting using the ADKAR approach (Awareness, Desire
Knowledge, Aptitude, Reinforcement) to explain goals and objectives. After this is presented to the managers, they are asked to leave
and Matthews dives into the details with the first-line supervisors,
maintenance, and operations teams. Once a global project plan is established and activated, Matthews produces weekly plans and status
reports, including corrective actions required to keep things moving.
"As a materials engineer, I learned a lot about the physics of failure," he said. "From a technical perspective, I understand how equipment works so I understand how it can fail. When I look at different
pieces of equipment, I ask the questions, 'How do these things fail,
and what do you do to prevent it?' I then work with the guys on the
shop floor to answer these questions together. I don't tell them what
to do differently. I build upon what they have and together we work
through the process." Matthews tries to make quick-win suggestions
that can show immediate reliability improvement. Then he breaks
down the goals into short- and long-term objectives.
"I'm not inventing anything," he said. "It's all about getting the
folks involved. I do a deep dive into the data, and this is where I can
prove things from a pareto point of view to report to management.
We look at the connection between what we think is the problem
and what the data shows. Then we can determine the cost involved
to fix it. This isn't rocket science. It's just dealing with folks."

BACKGROUND AND EARLY EXPERIENCE
Matthews' progression into this field was the result of his educational background and experience with equipment design projects,
equipment manufacturing projects, industrial engineering, advanced
manufacturing engineering projects, and enterprise systems projects.
As a young man growing up in Canada, a summer job provided
his first exposure to maintenance. He was a helper and coach cleaner
for the Algoma Central Railway (now part of Canadian National),

NOVEMBER 2017

followed by stints at Weyerhaeuser Mill and Algoma Steel. It was the
experience at Algoma Steel that inspired him to change his university major from natural science to materials engineering at Western
Univ. in London, Ontario. Most of Algoma's rolling-mill equipment
was made by Dominion Engineering, a division of Canadian General
Electric (GE) in Montreal. Dominion's largest Canadian facility is
where Matthews spent the first nine years of his career. He learned
how and why design, manufacturing, and installation affected equipment. "This place was an engineer's dream," he said.
Six different product lines were manufactured at that Montreal
site-in what was GE's most diversified facility in the world. He was
involved with the design and manufacture of complete steel mills,
pulp and paper machines, and large mining equipment. Almost
every hydraulic turbine and generator for major power-generation
stations in North America was made by the company.
"We were making helical gears that were 40 feet in diameter," Matthews said. "It was huge equipment. We also assembled and tested
the equipment. For a young engineer, it was amazing to work in a
place like this. It was so huge and highly engineered, you could just
absorb so much."
Even more than the knowledge he gained about equipment
maintenance and reliability, this is where Matthews learned that the
greatest tool he could have is working with people.
"This is where I learned how to look for solutions rather than trying to solve problems," he said. "I learned how important it is to get
people involved and invested, and then use your engineering skills
for your basis of knowledge. I learned to never lose sight of the fact
that it's never about me. It's about getting solutions from the operating level. If you find solutions to the real problems on the operating
floor, the people will buy in and the solutions will actually get implemented. I learned that it does no good to use heavy technical jargon.
Nobody cares what you know. They just want to know that you care."

PUTTING KNOWLEDGE INTO ACTION
The name of the game is continuous improvement and, generally,
this doesn't happen by tackling the largest problems first. "For one
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Efficient Plant November 2017

Efficient Plant November 2017 - 1
Efficient Plant November 2017 - Cover1
Efficient Plant November 2017 - Cover2
Efficient Plant November 2017 - 1
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Efficient Plant November 2017 - Cover3
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