Nearly every industry — and almost every industrial manufacturing firm — has been affected by the technical skills gap. This involves the difficulty in recruiting and hiring experienced, technically skilled maintenance technicians to fulfill the necessary tasks that keep a facility up and running.
This scarcity of machine maintenance technicians — and the workarounds that a firm might use to address the shortage — can lead to maintenance delays, maintenance errors, more frequent downtime, longer downtime, shorter machine life span, safety risks and more. Taken in aggregate, these shortfalls can lead to a decline in overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), a reduction in production efficiency, and a negative impact on the bottom line.
Manufacturers inevitably realize that these workarounds, delays and negative effects are unsustainable. Because of the continued industry challenges in finding technically skilled manufacturing maintenance technicians — many leading manufacturers are shifting to outsourcing their technical workforce of plant maintenance technicians to an industrial maintenance and MRO services provider.
By allowing the manufacturer to still retain ownership of their reliability strategy without the burden of recruiting, hiring and training maintenance technicians, these best-in-class contract maintenance partners offer an alternative to traditional external staffing or internal recruiting initiatives by providing the highly technical workforce you need. This can eliminate lengthy hiring searches, training programs and supervision/management.
What does a maintenance technician do? We will answer this question in the next section and further explore the services and benefits that a maintenance outsourcing partner can supply across a range of industries.
What does an industrial maintenance technician do?
In the big-picture sense, manufacturing maintenance technicians can be considered the “glue” that keeps the facility operating as it should, in numerous ways:
- Reduced downtime
- Optimal productivity
- Improved efficiency
- Exceptional reliability
- Greater profitability
The above standards are critical to the success of your business. Machine maintenance technicians contribute to all of them in important ways. If there are gaps in your technical workforce, you will see shortfalls in many — and, likely, all — of these areas. This could have many short and long-term negative effects on your business.
In addition to the above areas, an effective maintenance strategy — which requires sufficient staffing and training — will impact areas including procurement, supply chain and storeroom management. These are important day-to-day tasks that go hand in hand with maintenance functions.
A highly skilled maintenance technician will have the capability to perform a broad range of tasks. Depending on your specific industry and operation, an outsourced maintenance partner will be able to assign an experienced technician with the skills needed to perform preventive or predictive maintenance on your specific machines.
Depending on your maintenance strategy and needs, technicians will provide :
- Preventive maintenance: Dedicated maintenance technicians are on hand to keep your equipment operating properly. Preventive maintenance is a key part of this. Ensure that preventive maintenance is performed to OEM specs or your facility’s requirements.
- Predictive maintenance: With predictive maintenance infrastructure in place, verify that you have the top tier workforce to proactively monitor data and provide actionable insights.
- IIoT technologies: With the benefit of years of experience focused specifically on maintenance, a maintenance partner can help you upgrade and update your maintenance equipment, practices and systems if needed — including computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), remote monitoring, sensors and more.
- Storeroom management and MRO Supply: Investing in a maintenance solution can help you realize efficiencies across the plant floor — including storeroom management, repairable parts management and supply chain. Maintenance partners that also specialize in MRO services can cover procurement, ordering, sourcing, part repairs, inventory systems, vendor and warranty management and much more. All of these can make a major difference in your bottom line.
Who uses outsourced maintenance?
Manufacturers from a broad range of industries and sectors draw on the benefits of outsourcing partners, whether for full-service solutions or specific gaps in a maintenance program that need to be addressed. Top industries include, but are not limited to:
- Building products
- Consumer packaged goods
- Heavy equipment and industrial
- Paper and pulp
- Power distribution
- Tire and rubber
Benefits of outsourced maintenance technicians
With an outsourced maintenance partner and dedicated technical workforce, you are able to unlock the full power and potential of a good maintenance plan. When maintenance becomes a priority and not an obligation, you can gain numerous benefits such as the following:
- Productivity boost: When maintenance keeps to a schedule and addresses problems as early as possible, equipment runs more reliably, with less downtime, and more control over when repairs occur. Well-maintained equipment provides increased throughput, operates at greater efficiency, and keeps processes operating as planned. When maintenance technicians are lacking, the tasks that produce these benefits are too often delayed or ignored.
- Access to state-of-the-art expertise: A proven maintenance partner provides you with technicians trained on the most effective maintenance best practices and latest technologies. A maintenance partner guarantees that you remain up to date on the most advanced technology that applies to your processes and needs.
- Specialists across every aspect of maintenance: Truly effective maintenance may require expertise in CNC, PLC, hydraulics, robotics and more — not to mention safety-focused and a culture fit. Drawing on vetted, experienced technicians from a maintenance partner means that you get the right people for the job and that they will integrate seamlessly within your operation.
- More time to focus on core competencies: Outsourcing maintenance takes the burden of recruitment, interviewing, hiring, training and management off your shoulders. You can then focus on the strategic business initiatives and goals related to innovation, product development and other areas that can grow your business.
- Less time spent on administrative and HR tasks: With a maintenance partner, you get the benefits of the most up-to-date maintenance expertise and specialization, without the administrative tasks that consume resources and budget dollars.
Decades of experience in industrial maintenance ensures a Technical Workforce Solution from ATS will drive results for manufacturing organizations. Using your EAM/CMMS software, a skilled maintenance team staffed full-time at your site can cover all bases, such as preventive and predictive maintenance, condition monitoring, inspections, automation services, reliability engineering, and also equipment repairs, rebuilds, and overhauls.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help resolve your skilled workforce challenges.