Friday, January 7, 2011

1-Up on the Maintenance Career Game

1-Up on the Maintenance Career Game

The following article article was written for us by Stuart Smith, MBA, MS. Stuart has over 20 years experience in running operations in mulitple industries and as a recent graduate student he has witnessed how training and teaching tools have changed over time. Stuart currently writes multiple blogs of Mintek about EAM and CMMS software solutions.

Did your career counselor forget to tell you about a career in maintenance? Perhaps, they were thinking of tool belts, t-shirts, a pencil in the ear and a lunch pail
where workers performed simple tasks such as pushing a broom or swishing a mop.

It is true these jobs exist, but the world of maintenance has changed in the last 15-20 years. The maintenance technology dreamed of back in the 90's is now a reality. Maintenance
professionals are responsible for equipment that can cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

Are You Prepared for Awesomeness

For years, the lack of awesomeness, has plagued industries who need skilled professional maintenance staff to maintain high dollar assets using available technology.
With a blue collar image, the public perception of maintenance professionals has not been one of high-end sports cars or styled living.

Without sexiness, industry, facility, municipal and property managers across most organizations have seen the average age of maintenance professionals climb into
their 50's. This has the potential to cripple businesses because maintenance professionals are expected to retire in great numbers over the next 10 years leading to a maintenance crisis.

Once retired, the knowledge base of the maintenance professional is lost forever unless the organization is making use of an
EAM or CMMS to record all historical maintenance activity. Workforce development using knowledge transfer has become a significant concern to many industries.

Lasers, Infrared, 3D: Not just for Gaming

There are great reasons why a maintenance career is the way to go. High dollar assets are requiring maintenance using a variety of new technologies such as:

  • Infrared Thermography: High tech cameras used to detect thermal variations that might contribute to asset failure or energy efficiency declines.

  • Laser Shaft Alignment: Make use of lasers to align two machines connected through a shaft. Poor alignment leads to energy waste and a shorter useful lifecycle.

  • Vibration Analysis: Vibrating equipment is generally not a good thing and not all vibrations can be felt or heard by the human ear. Makes uses of the physics of sound.

  • Ultrasound technology: Used in the detection of leaks and the early wear of asset components.

The organization, planning and execution of work order lifecycle is handled by sophisticated but user friendly CMMS software. The days of pencil and clipboard are being banished to the
land of "cords" and replaced with skilled mobile professionals wielding wireless handheld devices checking out the latest predictive maintenance (PDM) results and then plotting a course of action.

When the inspections or PDM results indicate a need for preventive maintenance or repair, maintenance teams can call upon their training that was conducted in graphic 3D sessions. This type of training was only dreamed about 20 years ago. The following video demonstrates how military simulation training is now affordable to facilities in all industries.

Professional Visibility

Maintenance careers are more attractive than ever before. The role that asset and maintenance management is playing in businesses has never been more important. Good asset and maintenance management is the financial margin difference between growing a business and business failure. Some other benefits of a career in maintenance include but are not limited to:

  • Asset failure can lead to major unplanned capital budget expenditures. If you can prevent this from happening you will be a hero.

  • Learning and training on new technologies is a transferable skill set enabling skilled maintenance professionals to be very marketable both domestically and internationally.

  • Global presence. Many industrial firms are international. If you become the best, doors may open to traveling around the globe as the person they rely upon to fix problems and help train others.

  • Constant access to new technology. The dream maintenance technology of today is will be the reality of the next decade. Be on the leading edge of change.

  • Career tracking is high. The natural progression from maintenance staff is into asset and maintenance management developing and planning asset lifecycles, capital budgeting, vendor management.

Find out more about maintenance training, careers and the latest news at

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