Mike Monday and The First Day of Work

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January 5th 2018

I’ve started as the maintenance manager at a manufacturing plant and it's a mess. I’m writing this blog in hopes of helping others with similar situations.

First days are often overwhelming and mine was no exception to the rule. After orientation one of my new co-workers brought me around to see the machines and meet people. Right away I could see several machines weren’t working correctly. These are some examples-

  • There’s a bearing that wears out every two weeks.
  • One machine had some grease leaking out of a tube.
  • A cylinder was leaking.

My coworker said these problems were normal. For a moment my mouth gaped at his nonchalant attitude towards these serious issues.

This is not normal, or at least this is not how a plant should operate. Many of the workers accept that the machines don’t work well and, while a handful offered solutions, not enough people are dedicated to their maintenance.

This will be a long year, I can feel it. I’m going to learn tons, and with all of these machines breaking down this is the perfect place to learn. The prospect becomes overwhelming if I consider how much I have on my plate. These problems are too big to solve in one day, or one week, or one month. It is easy to forget that towers aren’t built in a day and crops aren’t grown in a day. Both require time and effort.

Now, I am asking myself two questions. What is the best use of that time? And, where should I concentrate my efforts?

Sort out what I can do right now. Thinking of small improvements instead of the big changes everyone else is seeking. That’s what I need to do here. I’ll start small- fix one problem. Time to make myself a decision matrix.