Mark Ringsgwandl: The Three-Dimensional Problem Solver

Mar 14, 2018 11:41:51 AM

Effectively resolving a problem entails more than just identifying problems and recommending ways to correct them.

Mark Ringsgwandl, Principal Asset Management Specialist at Bluefield, takes a three-dimensional approach when implementing an asset management plan:

  • Conduct a report detailing maintenance plan deficiencies and challenges.
  • Develop small, incremental changes that aggregately address maintenance problems.
  • Work with all levels of the client workforce to ensure the maintenance solution is implemented and successful.

After graduating, Mark left for Hobart, where he worked as an apprentice draftsman.

A thirst for knowledge

Mark was born in George Town, a small town in northern Tasmania. Growing up on a farm underneath his mother and grandmother, Mark's upbringing exposed him to the world of mechanics. When he was just 10 years old, he was already driving tractors. By the time he was 13, he bought a car to drive around the farm.

When he graduated from school, Mark left for Hobart, where he worked as an apprentice draftsman for a paper mill. After completing his apprenticeship (a four-year commitment), he remained at the paper mill for another two years, until his need for variety and to learn something new took hold.

Wanting to indulge in a different practice, he got a job developing Microsoft Word and Excel training programs for professionals working in the industrial sector. Eventually, this led him to write quality control and payroll programs, exposing him to the world of coding.

Through his experience in process administration, Mark acquired positions focussed on reliability engineering and maintenance. At BHP Billiton, he undertook positions as a draftsman, maintenance planner, and reliability engineer. During his time at the company, he pursued a degree at Deakin University, earning his bachelor's in Mechatronics.

Working with Bluefield

Mark first met Gerard Wood while conducting a maintenance evaluation at a smelter in South Africa. Years later, Gerard reached out to Mark about working for Bluefield as an asset management specialist.

Since then, Mark has had the opportunity to develop asset management solutions for a variety of mining clients, including those with operations as far away as Ghana. The position has enabled Mark to sate his appetite for problem solving and variety.

"Every client we deliver services to has a different set of problems. So, I have the opportunity to develop a unique solution. It keeps things interesting," Mark said.

"We can increase an asset maintenance plan's efficiency ... but you need to hold people accountable."

Establishing effective, sustainable solutions

Resolving these problems effectively, from Mark's perspective, entails more than simply developing a remediation plan and giving it to the client. Instead, after identifying areas for improvement, he assesses how the client must allocate resources to enact those enhancements.

Establishing KPIs is just the first step. According to Mark, you have to integrate them into your operations, which means the client's personnel have to get involved.

"We can increase an asset maintenance plan's efficiency, but if tradesmen do not participate, the millions of dollars you've spent are lost. You need to hold people accountable," Mark said.

Doing so involves developing long-term budgets and documentation processes. The latter measure ensures workers are performing the tasks conducive to reducing the total cost of ownership. Maintenance is an expense, and decreasing it enables mines to utilise resources in a more competitive manner.

Mark implements these asset management solutions in small steps, rolling out new processes that do not incite major changes at operations. This is to ensure that these commitments are sustainable, and do not intimidate workers by introducing major adjustments.

Overall, Mark's primary goal is to ensure the solutions he develops are effective, which is why he works so closely with his clients. According to him, his goal is to assist facilities in whatever way he can to ensure they'll receive optimal value from his knowledge.