What’s the one thing that both traditional and alternative energy companies agree on? In today’s volatile energy industry, what made a company successful in the past is no longer enough to keep it competitive in the future. It might not even be enough to keep it in business at all.
Despite more than 30 years of success, that’s the hard truth that Titan Specialties, a world leader in the logging and perforating equipment industry, came to realize. Although Titan is well-known for its innovative and future-oriented products, the company’s internal processes simply hadn’t kept up. Until recently, Titan attempted to manage its growing operations (275 employees, three manufacturing divisions, and more than a dozen buildings filled with state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment) without a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). Instead, the company relied on a mix of Excel spreadsheets, note cards, and the memories of long-time employees. The result was frequent equipment breakdowns, lost labor hours, and skyrocketing costs. As Rip Medlinger, Titan’s maintenance supervisor, puts it, “We were flying by the seat of our pants.”
Rip was hired as maintenance supervisor in August 2008 in large part because of his CMMS experience. He immediately set to work to find a CMMS that was (1) cost-effective, (2) functional without being overdone or “gadgety,” and (3) developed by experts with real-world maintenance experience. He found what he and Titan were looking for in MaintiMizer™ 4.0, the flagship CMMS from Ashcom Technologies.
Within two months of installing MaintiMizer™, Rip built a system that securely documents and stores Titan’s equipment, vendor, inventory, and personnel records. His department has already seen the benefits: “Because we know when to place our materials orders, we’ve eliminated a lot of the down time spent waiting around for parts to come. Plus, now that we can generate work orders, our maintenance techs’ time is a lot more organized and productive.”
Rip expects the biggest cost savings and productivity increases to come from Titan’s new preventive maintenance program. Before MaintiMizer™, Rip notes, “We’d have a bearing failure because nobody knew they were supposed to check and fill the oil reservoir. Now that we can issue PMs, the number of emergency breakdowns should really drop. That will save us money and make us more productive.”
Of course, as with any software installation, not everything has gone perfectly. Sometimes MaintiMizer™ hasn’t worked exactly the way Rip needs it to, but he’s been able to work with the Ashcom team to make the necessary changes. That’s been possible, Rip says, “because the folks at Ashcom have maintenance backgrounds-we speak each other’s language.”
Rip sees MaintiMizer™ as making a valuable contribution to Titan’s success beyond the maintenance department. To strengthen its competitive position, the company is thinking about pursuing ISO certification later in 2009, and the documentation MaintiMizer™ can produce will be needed to make that effort successful.
When talking about MaintiMizer™, Rip says something about Titan that’s true for the energy industry as a whole: “It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.” But he finishes that thought by saying something that’s true for only a handful of the most proactive energy companies: “At Titan, we’re coming along just fine.”