PCA’s Trip to MARCON 2019: What an Amazing Event!

MARCON 2019By: Joel Crawford, VP of Sales; Talent Management

PCA hosted a booth at MARCON 2019, staffed by our MRO experts. They had discussions with a continual stream of attendees, all of whom were eager to hear our advice on topics ranging from ensuring the availability of critical spare parts to controlling inventory spend. The hottest topic, by far, was the importance of having a robust set of work management processes in place — and the challenge of achieving that goal.

Another topic that came up was the Internet of Things (IoT). It is a hot topic among industrial organizations right now for its potential to interconnect facility equipment for greater operational visibility. That’s exciting, and the attendees with whom we spoke are aware of and understand their organization’s interest in it.

Yet, in a classic case of “putting the cart before the horse,” nearly all of them felt that IoT was shifting upper management’s focus away from building a consistent, best practices MRO program, which booth visitors felt was fundamental to plant operating efficiency. PCA has always advocated that such a program is the foundation of facility equipment reliability, and show attendees agreed.

Interestingly, the organizers of MARCON must have recognized its importance, as well, since Thursday afternoon’s panel discussion was titled “Moving to Best Practices – What’s it Going to Take?” No title could have better captured the challenges described by our booth attendees. In our conversations, three core challenges to adopting best practices took precedence:

1. Upper management is chasing the “next big thing,” hoping they can avoid addressing endemic MRO program shortcomings.
2. Facility staff are caught up in the “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, adhering to outdated, inadequate practices and methods because they are comfortable with them.
3. Both management and staff are afraid that restructuring their MRO practices and program will be disruptive and add more work to their loads.

At PCA, we have spent decades perfecting a plan that addresses all three of these issues. Our program minimizes the pain of change for both management and personnel—including maintenance technicians who are often the most negatively affected by outdated practices.

To prove it, we have developed a new case study about our work with Milliken Chemicals, where we helped a plant increase maintenance services efficiency by 33 percent! If you don’t believe such an outcome is possible, we urge you to read the story, and then email us with your thoughts.