Are you ready?
Let's take a look into the future. Not too far out - maybe five years or so. What do you think your plant will be like? Here are some of my predictions.The plant engineer will be more important than ever as reliable and predictable capacity become priorities. Predictive maintenance will replace preventive maintenance as the standard of maintenance operations and organization.
Richard L. Dunn Editor
Let's take a look into the future. Not too far out - maybe five years or so. What do you think your plant will be like? Here are some of my predictions.
The plant engineer will be more important than ever as reliable and predictable capacity become priorities. Predictive maintenance will replace preventive maintenance as the standard of maintenance operations and organization. Equipment and systems reliability will become one of the plant's most important performance metrics.
Concerns about global warming coupled with energy availability will bring energy management and combustion emissions to the forefront of every plant's concerns.
Deregulation of natural gas and electric utilities will bring new partnerships between the plant engineering and purchasing functions as plants seek to marry the contracting and negotiating expertise of purchasing with the technical and analytical know-how of plant engineering.
Involvement of plant engineering in production equipment and process design will increase as efforts to optimize total plant efficiency become more important.
Skills training will become a critical function. Availability of skilled workers will reach a crisis level worldwide as plants increase their reliance on technology to maintain or increase productivity. Plant engineering will increasingly compete with other functions to attract and retain the skilled workforce it needs to meet technology's demands.
Plant engineering and maintenance will gain recognition as an essential business function that contributes to profitability.
Computerization of equipment and system monitoring and control will have a high priority.
The supply side of plant engineering—maintenance and operations stores—will routinely use e-commerce and supplier alliances to reduce costs.
Wireless technology will be widely used to provide technical and operational support. Maintenance personnel will have direct access to equipment manufacturers from the job site, including access to technical manuals and knowledge experts. Wireless communication from equipment sensors will be routine.
In short, the plant engineer will become more directly involved in every aspect of manufacturing at an accelerating pace.
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