Don’t Lose It: Your Greatest Asset Is Your Employees’ Brains

Don’t Lose It: Your Greatest Asset Is Your Employees’ Brains

4 May, 2011

How much time do your technicians spend diagnosing problems vs. fixing them? When your expert techs retire, how will you capture and pass along their knowledge to the new workforce? What are you doing today to build a knowledge base of answers?

Over the past few years there have been discussions about labor shortages in the engineering and maintenance space. As the current labor engineering and technical workforce retires, a new pool of engineering and technical workers is coming in to take their place. But even though this new pool of workers is more technical and have a PC-type aptitude, they still have to deal with equipment that’s been in place for decades. Organizations are always trying to do more with less, and replacing inadequate equipment is not a priority—unless a fast and huge ROI is almost guaranteed. So the question is: How will organizations get the new pool of skilled workers up to speed?

There are organizations working on this issue, such as Skill TV. “Skill TV is dedicated to dissecting the issues, ramifications, and opportunites brought on by the high-tech talent shortage.”

The problem is that even if these organizations make videos of common issues or try to document the information of the older, more experienced workforce, they still need a way to get this information to their engineering or technical staff quickly and efficiently.

Have you thought about optimizing your EAM solution in a way so you can store this information based on equipment types, common failure types, automated failure identification, etc? Leveraging your EAM system as your library of information can have a big positive impact on your new labor force. 

Let’s look at an example. In a facilities environment, within your HVAC system there’s a problem with the economizer. It’s the damper, and your system is measuring the economizer dampers, the mixed-air temperature, and the return-air temperature.

So the logic goes as follows: If the system is occupied and ok to economize is “true,” and the economizer dampers 11%, and mixed-air temperature is 5 degrees return-air temperature, then there’s a problem with economizer dampers (dampers are not closing properly).

The problem is diagnosed as an “economizer damper problem.” A more experienced maintenance person would probably identify this problem a lot quicker than a newer person. But what if you had this logic embedded within your EAM software, and the system did the analysis, creating the work order to automatically tell you the exact problem and the problem points? How much time would it save? How quick would the problem be solved?

Now imagine that you’ve taken all of this knowledge from your technical staff for all the years you’ve been in business and captured it in a software solution and had access to it anytime you needed it. That’s what Infor EAM is about.

I welcome your feedback or ideas. Please leave a comment to this post.

Posted by Johnny Bofilios, Director, Global Asset Sustainability, Infor