February 11, 2021
Are machines being developed, or the people using them?
Let’s go back in time a few years. When I returned and presented my thesis, my teacher said the topic was interesting and that a career could certainly be built around it. I found the idea interesting and secretly hoped that someone from there would hire me to do just that job.
Now, almost two years later, I’m working in Quant’s support organization as a development engineer to improve production efficiency under the supervision of my thesis supervisor. It feels weird to still remember that moment so clearly.
The topic of my thesis was to monitor and observe people’s experiences in projects that pilot the introduction of total productive maintenance (TPM) in an industrial environment.
So far, while working for Quant, I have been able to carry out a great variety of TPM projects. Business partners’ industrial plants have significantly developed regarding technical availability, maintenance know-how and waste reduction.
Every project is always a little different. At each site, the most significant cause of loss is always case-specific and as a result, annual savings estimates for completed projects range from thousands, up to nearly a million euros.
What all projects have in common, however, is that close collaboration between maintenance and production is key to sustainable success. The unifying factor of each project is also that ensuring the basic technical condition of the site and developing the skills of the staff go hand in hand. There can’t be one without the other.
As a good example, I could mention a project, in which the development needs identified were related to the poor quality of the product, which caused machine breakdowns, jams and production stops. The poor quality of the product, on the other hand, was due to a combination of technical problems and working methods, which had drifted unnoticed over time.
The project was started by a working group, which consisted of installers and operators working on site. Very soon after the presentation of the project concept and the training, the working group took full ownership of the promotion of the project, and together investigated and corrected the root causes of the problems. The support organization in the project was amazed to follow the results of the teamwork, when the accustomed norms were set aside, and new ones were set together.
To return to the title question, the answer is both.
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