About The Author
Gerard Wood is one of the mining industry’s foremost authorities on proper mining equipment maintenance. In his long career, Gerard has been all over the world, working his way up from a tradesperson to a maintenance general manager with advanced degrees in electrical engineering, business, and mining engineering. As managing director for Bluefield AMS, Gerard helps the world’s most well-known mining companies keep their machines running with a simple, practical approach that saves money and improves equipment reliability.
Simplifying Mining Maintenance
In the world of mining, both mining and asset management professionals often face challenging plant and fleet reliability or cost problems. Over the years we have developed complicated systems and processes to deal with such situations, but in the real world of maintenance, to be truly effective, organizations must adopt practical, people-based processes and routines that are simple so that large groups of people can align and become effective.
About Simplifying Mining Maintenance
People in a reactive mining maintenance environment are busy. The phone constantly rings during the workday, and they get calls every night and on the weekends. The worst part about it is that they deal with the same problems over and over. They never have time to plan because they run from one emergency breakdown to the next.
I hope this book will help change that. In my experience, well-run maintenance organisations do have time. When everything is scheduled and goes according to plan, these departments don’t have all that drama all the time.
The tools I present here should help them transition from a reactive workplace to a proactive workplace where planning and scheduling deliver the intended business improvements. I hope to destress their professional lives and give maintenance managers back the time they need to do their jobs with quality, precision, and forethought. I want them to enjoy their weekends again.
I understand the critical role of maintenance. I’ve worked all over the world for various mining companies at all different levels, and this experience has allowed me to understand what the general manager (GM) and the chief operating officer (COO) want to see. They want to see more profit! It’s not complicated.
I also realise what the maintenance manager is going through and how his relationship with the GM and COO can be damaged. When equipment becomes unreliable, and the maintenance manager usually says he needs more people and money to correct the situation. This is not what the GM and COO want to hear.
I hope maintenance managers will use this book to find practical solutions to common dilemmas we all face. Every time I help people at a mine site, I see the same struggles over and over—difficulties I’ve seen solved many times before. There is no reason why these problems can’t be eliminated so maintenance people can get back to performing proper and precise preventive maintenance that keeps their machines running well. In part 1 of the book I describe the experiences and mistakes that taught me about the major pain points and in part 2 how to solve some of these pain points in a simple manner.
I also hope COOs and other executives will use this book to gain insight into how to improve maintenance and reliability. They’ll learn how to judge maintenance. They’ll come to understand why they need to look at maintenance in the long term and not from one year to the next. If your expenditures are for planned and scheduled maintenance, executives should expect fluctuations in their expenditures from one year to the next. But that doesn’t mean everything is bad in the maintenance area.
I’ll also help executives understand the difference between scheduled and unscheduled service, and the metrics they need to better understand how this preventive work is performing. Executives understand the value of servicing their personal cars. Preventive upkeep on mining equipment is the same; it protects your investments and will pay dividends for the business. Keeping this in mind helps us to simplify how we approach the maintenance and operations of our mining equipment and plants.
I’ll also introduce a couple of models that I like to use. I know, I know. I just told you how we’ve come to rely too much on complicated models and theories. But these are not models that require companies to restructure their entire operation. Instead, executives and maintenance managers can use these simple models to change the way they think about maintenance and find ways to improve it. The models establish the values that form the foundation for improvements to maintenance and provide a reference to communicate a way of thinking rather than define a prescriptive way of doing things.
Finally, I want leaders—whether they are a COO or a maintenance manager—to take extreme ownership of the maintenance outcomes. The buck stops with you.
People often like to blame others for equipment breakdowns. They blame the manufacturer or they blame the contractor. But maintenance managers and general managers have to accept their responsibilities when it comes to equipment reliability.