Main­te­nance mat­ters

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - CONTENTS -

How can small places make such a big im­pact? Per­haps be­cause they have a game plan, a vi­sion, process and strate­gies to achieve not just cur­rent, but long-term suc­cess.

I re­cently contributed to the AMP 2.0 Con­fer­ence at the Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy (MIT) and was ac­tu­ally ner­vous at speak­ing at such an il­lus­tri­ous in­sti­tu­tion.

Hear­ing my con­cern, the vice pres­i­dent of the As­so­ci­a­tion for Fa­cil­i­ties En­gi­neer­ing Bos­ton Chapter, Gary Smith wanted to make sure that this South­erner did not worry about my North Carolina ac­cent which there are count­less jokes ridi­cul­ing South­erner in­tel­li­gence dat­ing back be­fore the US Civil War.

So he said with his strong Bos­ton ac­cent. “Yuseguys don’t taak (talk) funny, weesguys taak funny be­cause we dropped our “R”s and gave them to yuseguys.” I said what?

He said: “Be­lieve it or not I waak (work) at Haavad (Har­vard) and paak (park) my caah (car) there. But if I want some­thing good to eat I want to go down to North Carolina and or­der a pizzer (pizza) and may drive up the win­der (win­dow), and when I get tired put my head on a piller (pil­low).”

And what does have to do about main­te­nance, and fight­ing the main­te­nance cri­sis and the skills short­age? Noth­ing, and ev­ery­thing.

Noth­ing about main­te­nance, but ev­ery­thing about the chal­lenges we all face. We have to able to be flex­i­ble and be will­ing to com­mu­ni­cate in mul­ti­ple meth­ods, and un­der­stand the tech­ni­cal lan­guage, the fi­nan­cial lan­guage and me­chan­i­cal, and au­to­ma­tion lan­guages to drive change in our op­er­a­tion.

In the United States, peo­ple are fi­nally valu­ing the im­por­tance of man­u­fac­tur­ing. I at­tended three of the five Ad­vanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Per­for­mance Con­fer­ences, and now serve on two Pres­i­den­tial coun­cils to ad­vance man­u­fac­tur­ing work­force strate­gies. Stay tuned as more de­tails on the rec­om­men­da­tions that will emerge out of these meet­ing to fol­low in fu­ture col­umns

The AMP 2.0 brought to­gether ed­u­ca­tional, US govern­ment and busi­ness lead­ers to ex­plore meth­ods to ad­vance man­u­fac­tur­ing per­for­mance lev­els, and to build on the newly de­vel­oped Man­u­fac­tur­ing Institutes to ad­vance tech­nolo­gies.

US Se­na­tor Markey elo­quently ex­plained Mas­sachusetts’ game plan of be­ing the “Brain State”. He said it has built many of the na­tion’s best uni­ver­si­ties in hopes of at­tract­ing the best and bright­est stu­dents from all over the world.

He said these “nerd-fac­to­ries” have been pro­duc­ing ideas, per­fect­ing con­cepts, and ad­vanc­ing in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions that have been lead­ing the world of science and com­merce. He stated over 80 per cent of all stu­dents from Mas­sachusetts stay af­ter grad­u­a­tion, and over 35 per cent from other ar­eas stay – that is much higher than na­tional av­er­age of 20 per cent.

He said they help achieve that by match­ing cap­i­tal mar­kets and link­ing en­trepreneurs with con­sul­tants to help scale up their con­cepts. Just in the Bos­ton area, more than 250,000 univer­sity stu­dents pur­sue their ed­u­ca­tion. So a very small state ac­tu­ally leads the coun­try on many of the de­sign and in­no­va­tions.

Be­fore ar­riv­ing, I vis­ited with TPM co­or­di­na­tor and main­te­nance tech­ni­cian Martin Tauber. He builds ex­pertly crafted ci­gar box gui­tars and even a Kanjo – an in­stru­ment made with a Ko­dak film reel. He lit­er­ally takes trash and re­pur­poses ma­te­ri­als into trea­sures.

Dur­ing the AMP meet­ing, I heard an at­tendee com­plain­ing they need mil­lions more dol­lars in re­search if they were to truly in­no­vate.

Well, that state­ment did not sit well. You just need a new vi­sion for old items, then you can con­vert trash into trea­sures. MIT’s Provost Sch­midt mar­velled at the sim­plic­ity and rugged­ness of the Kanjo and agreed.

I also en­cour­aged the Provost of MIT to de­velop a pres­ence in New Zealand and help Kiwi in­no­va­tors to scale up their con­cepts and work to get them pro­duced in the United States for mass pro­duc­tion.

I con­stantly in­form lead­ers around the world of the power of Kiwi-in­ge­nu­ity and the chal­lenges that NZ in­no­va­tors have in mass pro­duc­ing their prod­ucts in a high labour cost, small pop­u­la­tion coun­try.

That it is why col­lab­o­ra­tions are so im­por­tant, and why more in the US need to visit New Zealand, not just to tour, but to de­velop long-term busi­ness al­liances.

Want to learn more about how to fight the main­te­nance cri­sis? Join Joel Leonard on 18 Au­gust in Auck­land for Fight­ing the Main­te­nance Work­shop http://www.sir­frt. com.au/cal­en­dar/even­t_de­tail/3844

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