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10:54 pm
December 14, 2012
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For On The Floor

rick carter2012 In Review: Accent On The Positive

If we had to pluck one theme from the recent elections and apply it to this month’s year-end review column, it might be the “Are you better off?” question. For the record, I didn’t ask our Reader Panelists to assess 2012 using this particular yardstick. If I had, it appears the predominant answer would have been “yes.”

 

Panelists’ responses to questions about how they rank 2012 for themselves professionally and for their companies clearly skewed toward the positive. This was despite expected and ongoing issues like the skilled-labor shortage and job-related challenges that exist no matter what. Here’s our group’s view of a generally good year and their hopes for the one waiting in the wings:

Rating 2012…

“We have been going strong all year and our numbers continue to rise. We have seen work come back into our site from out of the country, which has added to our production numbers. With production being higher, we are adding a large amount of tradespeople, which has been a real challenge.”

… PM Leader, Midwest  

“We saw a huge uptick in our production and maintenance due to acquiring another company. A lot of their equipment was in poor shape and their plant philosophy had been ‘run to failure.’ This put a great burden on us as we tried to change their culture to focus on reliability. We still have challenges, but have come a long way.”

… Corporate Support Mgr., Maintenance & Reliability, Midwest

“This year, we had to complete our normal duties, as well as prepare ourselves for expansions to our facility. This includes extra training as well as working with construction crews, which added challenges, but I happily accept them as opposed to working for a struggling company.”

… Senior Maintenance Mechanic, South 

“As years go, our challenges were about the same in number, just different in substance. This keeps you on your toes and improves your ability to handle crisis situations and practice good decision-making skills. This was definitely a year that brought that home. I feel that I grew more as a person and decision-maker because of these challenges.”

… Maintenance Coordinator, Mid-Atlantic 

The year’s defining event…  

“Design issues on our turbines made it necessary to have extended downtime three extra times this year, which really hurts the bottom line! Our workforce responded professionally to these challenges and accomplished the needed repairs in record time, safely and event-free. Considering the stress this puts on your employees, this is saying a great deal.”

… Maintenance Coordinator, Mid-Atlantic 

“I found it very strange that with 5 million people unemployed, we could not find qualified maintenance people to hire.”

… Corporate Engineer, New England 

“The most defining event for me and my company was the second acquisition of a major company in two years. We just wound down the first integration and then another acquisition was announced. The amount of effort needed to complete the first integration was tremendous. Now we are looking to do it all over again. It’s great to be busy, but sometimes people get burned out and don’t perform to the best of their abilities.”

… Corporate Support Mgr.,
Maintenance & Reliability, Midwest

“Construction has been our defining event of 2012. We are doubling the horsepower capacity at my [energy-related] location and installing new compression to one of our smaller facilities.  This is the largest project our station has experienced in more than 30 years.”

… Senior Maintenance Mechanic, South 

“The event for me was turning 67 and being forced to retire from my company. The forced retirement was company policy [even though] I was still able to do my duties. Being an old timer, I pride myself on professionalism, including honesty, integrity, loyalty and maintaining a high level of knowledge in my professional area. I completed 22 CEUs in the field of maintenance and management in 2012. To fill my position, the company had to hire two people to cover all the duties I performed and it cost them more money.”

… Former Senior Maintenance Engineer,
now a Teacher, West
 

 

What they expect for next year. . .  

“Our production numbers are expected to continue to go up. We were just told that our sales team is aggressively going after new business, and by 2014 we are looking at doubling our business.”

… PM Leader, Midwest

“My goals for the coming year are to organize a user’s group with my peers to promote the exchange of ideas and resources, and to aid in problem-solving in our specialized field. [I also want to] increase our use of Radio Frequency Identifying Devices (RFID) to lower cost and increase profits, as well as to continue to be the subject-matter expert in my profession.”

… Maintenance Coordinator, Mid-Atlantic 

“My goal is to get as many of our new plants [as possible] focusing on reliability. As for the company, our goal is to integrate the new plants into our current culture and strive for the best results we can.”

… Corporate Support Mgr., Maintenance & Reliability, Midwest

“We plan to complete our expansion projects and commission the new equipment in the first quarter of the new year. One of our priorities for the latter half of 2013 is to comply with new emission standards. Our company has already started preparing for these new standards, so I expect everything to go as planned.”

… Senior Maintenance Mechanic, South 

“I am working on many projects that should allow a company to increase the bottom line without impacting the workforce. [Some of these involve] reducing utility cost by using more of the renewable-energy programs in our state, adding newer automated equipment and changing many of the power eaters to high-efficiency equipment. The best part is to train every employee on newer methods of doing their job functions in a more effective manner. This makes them a valuable asset to the company and improves the profit line.”

… Former Senior Maintenance Engineer, now a Teacher, West 

“My goal is to get a raise. I haven’t had one since the bottom dropped out three years ago, yet my responsibilities continue to expand. Perhaps now that the Presidential election is over, things will get better. I hope so!”

... Corporate Engineer, New England  MT

About the MT Reader Panel

The Maintenance Technology Reader Panel is comprised of working maintenance practitioners who have volunteered to answer bimonthly questions prepared by our editorial staff. Panelist identities are purposely not revealed, and their responses are not necessarily projectable. The Panel welcomes new members: Have your comments and observations included in this column by joining the Reader Panel at www.mt-online.com. Click on “Reader Panel” under the “MT Resources” header, and follow the instructions. If accepted, you will automatically be entered into a drawing for a cash prize after one year of active participation.

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