Program can help organizations lower maintenance costs, improve safety

6/26/2003 12:00 AM

When Scott Hurst, program manager in the Engineering, Utilities and Public Works Training Institute heard consultant David Geaslin speak about a new philosophy of managing maintenance, he knew that he had found something special.

This new philosophy went far beyond merely fixing things that get broken. It could be applied to aircraft, ships, barges, refineries, facilities, buildings and grounds, real estate and more. Hurst saw how this maintenance philosophy could benefit many TEEX customers.

So TEEX joined forces with Geaslin to offer “Managing Maintenance: A Self-Financing Method of Lowering the Cost of Maintenance” better known as, “Advanced Managing Maintenance Techniques.”

Focusing on private industries, cities, counties and school districts, the program teaches organizations how to assure that each level of management, from the CEO and maintenance managers to the operators, understands their role in the operation and maintenance of their organization’s machines and facilities.

This program abandons the long-established policy of trying to control maintenance events when they happen by moving to an “Early Detection and Early Intervention” approach.

The current system of an operator waiting until a machine breaks down completely before contacting a maintenance worker is what Geaslin calls the “Inverse-Square Rule for Deferred Maintenance”: If the repair of a failing part is deferred and allowed to remain in service until it fails, the resultant repair expense is the square of the cost of the failed part. Geaslin adds that maintenance expenses are 15 times greater post-breakdown than if handled through early reporting by an operator, tenant or driver.

“They (operators) are the first to feel a new vibration, detect a different smell, notice a loss of calibration, or hear a different sound,” said Hurst. “Operators and users must have the mechanical knowledge and confidence to report these variations from normal as soon as they are detected.”

Hurst says that having an excellent preventive maintenance program isn’t enough; these types of programs only see the assets and machines periodically. To prevent exploding maintenance budgets, everyone needs to be involved and an early detection system must be in place.

“It is impossible to budget for maintenance,” he said.

Along with the Advanced Maintenance Management Techniques course, TEEX offers four other seminars: (1) “Improving the Maintenance Function,” (2) “Creating a Corporate Memory for Maintenance,” (3) “Operator and Driver Mechanical Awareness” and (4) “Facility Manager or Tenant Maintenance Awareness.”

Open enrollment courses in Advanced Maintenance Management Techniques have been offered in San Antonio and Houston. More courses are scheduled in areas across the state, such as Mesquite, Pharr-San Juan, Austin, Midland, Amarillo and Corpus Christi.

“I would like to help provide a service to public and private entities that operate on tight budgets and need to lower costs of maintenance,” said Hurst. “Currently, there is a limited amount of incumbent training in regards to maintenance and asset management for managers. We would like to fulfill this need.”

Hurst also said that many organizations don’t consider using a proactive maintenance program to keep maintenance costs down, and he hopes that TEEX, in cooperation with David Geaslin, can provide a method for doing this.

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