What makes a Great Maintenance Engineer?
As an engineering specialist we tend to get a bit geeky about engineering. We love our PLC’s as much as our Lean Methodologies. But recently I had a discussion with an Engineering Director I know to discuss this question.
The Purpose of Maintenance
Maintenance is not just about fixing things. If anything, if you spend all your time fixing broken machinery, your Maintenance is either not up to scratch or your kit is on its last legs.
Proper Maintenance is about having a system that operates so seamlessly that anyone outside of the Maintenance team wouldn’t know any Maintenance had taken place. A proud Maintenance Manager once told me that he’d feel he hadn’t done his job properly if someone felt they couldn’t rely on him and his team to keep the lines running 24/7.
The Reality of Maintenance
Equipment breaks. It happens. No maintenance team in the world will have a 100% zero fault rate over a long enough time period. The trick is to ensure that this is a rarity and when it does happen, it is dealt with quickly.
However sometimes with older kit this can happen more frequently. Some Maintenance teams find themselves dealing with tricky kit, battling to make it function and dealing with the wrath of senior management who are not in engineering about why it keeps happening. That can be a nightmare.
The Right Ingredients
You cannot get away from the fact that a great Maintenance Engineer is highly skilled. But it is not just in one discipline such as Electrics, Pneumatics or Mechanical work. A great Maintenance Engineer has a multi-skilled fountain of knowledge. When faced with a problem their experience and skillset can diagnose and solve that issue.
A good analogy once given to me was that a Great Maintenance Engineer is someone you can unquestionably rely upon. Whatever the issue they will somehow know the answer.
What Makes a Great Maintenance Engineer?
If the right ingredients are the end goal, what do you need to get there? Training and experience.
The best engineers, never mind just in maintenance, that I’ve ever represented spent a considerable part of their earlier careers seeking out and absorbing knowledge from training. Whether or not they’d admit it, they’d geek out over this stuff. They would have a thirst to learn.
However, interestingly, this wasn’t because they had to for their job. They’d enjoy what they were doing and wanted to be the best engineer they could.
If you take someone who’s early career decision making process is to seek knowledge and experience, develop their skillset and obtain proven skills and qualifications to make that happen you’ve got a great basis to progress from.
Great Maintenance Engineers are not just about skills. And this is the part I always advise to clients. It is about motivation. Why possess the ability if you’re not actively looking to use it?
Continuous Improvements on lines and machinery should always be a focus. Maintenance is not just about fixing problems or even finding ways to stop breakdowns. It is about finding ways to improve what that kit does too. How can it be more efficient? What can you do reduce breakdown times? Can you decrease down time for essential Maintenance?
Actively seeking to do that individually and as part of team is core to any Great Maintenance Engineer.
Maintenance Engineers are and have always been a bread & butter vacancy we love to work. But when you deal with a client who provides a great maintenance environment then that’s when things get exciting.
The Great Maintenance Engineers love to work in an environment where the job is more than just a task. It is valued and respected at a deeper level. An environment where they can do what they do best; now THAT’S where it’s at!
Are you looking for Great Maintenance Engineers like that? Do you want to work with an Engineering specialist who can secure those people for you?
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