The “three-legged stool” concept is found over and over again throughout business and strategy frameworks. At its core is the idea that all three legs are essential to keeping the stool functional — with just one leg missing, it would collapse. The concept also applies to manufacturing and maintenance. The right people, processes and technology — working together effectively and efficiently — are essential to making the most of a company’s resources. Without all three factors in place, productivity, efficiency and ultimately even the bottom line will suffer. Below, we’ll take a closer look at why this is true and how each factor relies on the others.
How people, processes and technology work together
The right people — In industrial maintenance, having the right people allows your business to benefit from the valuable qualities they possess. Some are quantitative and can be relatively easily gauged, such as years of experience, certifications, areas of expertise and work history. Others are qualitative and must be revealed through interviews and observation. These include:
The right processes — Processes are incredibly important in manufacturing. They ensure consistency, repeatability, accountability, safety and other essential outcomes remain standard. When it comes to the maintenance of production assets, processes provide a framework for technicians and reliability professionals to operate properly within, ensuring employees can get their jobs done safely and efficiently. If standard processes are built within the following facets of your facility, overall operations will see unprecedented gains in productivity as a result of reduced downtime, increased efficiency, a longer time between repairs and extending the service life of equipment:
- Preventive maintenance scheduling
- Predictive maintenance
- Reliability engineering
- Streamlined and efficient inventory management
- Supply chain management
The right technology — The most effective maintenance plans in the modern manufacturing landscape are technology- and data-based. Data and technology enable previously unrealized insights into equipment performance, and work hand in hand with process and people to facilitate effective operations. Technology allows manufacturers to move from reactive to proactive maintenance approaches, giving maintenance managers ability to control and reduce downtime, improve maintenance scheduling and extend machinery life. Facilities that utilize advanced tools like centralized maintenance management systems (CMMS) are able to constantly monitor machinery data and operations, and can use the data collected to either plan scheduled maintenance, or know when a maintenance issue is bound to happen before it does.
These qualities add up to a person who is capable and committed to doing the job well and can also contribute to the organization through problem solving, feedback, innovation and more. However, without the proper processes in place, even the best employees can be overworked and overwhelmed or hamstrung by process failures in other areas of the organization. And without the right technology, they may not be able to use their talents to their full potential.
As a result, the organization will not realize the maximum benefit of having such employees on staff. However, even the best processes are only as good as the people implementing them. Without skilled and dedicated workers, processes can easily become compromised and less effective. And without the right technology available, processes remain limited or abstract. However, technology without process will be of limited use. Even the most powerful tech must be applied in the service of an overall strategy and a developed process. It cannot be useful on its own. And without people who know how to operate new technology as well as those who can analyze data and put it into actionable use, the information gleaned from technology also will be useless.
ATS is dedicated to the development and integration of robust maintenance strategies that center around the connection of people, processes and technology. Our comprehensive maintenance services include proven processes, strategy development, technology implementation, training and placement of the right skilled maintenance personnel for your operations. For more information on how we can help improve your organization’s maintenance strategy and deliver significant bottom-line results, contact us today.