All asset-owning industries can benefit from effective maintenance
Anyone in oil and gas who has had to grapple with a maintenance backlog will understand all too well the impacts of neglecting maintenance. That’s why SRCN Solutions is on a mission to bring effective maintenance and work management to further industries, including the likes of renewables, petrochemicals, utilities and defence.
Colin Wilson, one of the directors and co-founders of SRCN Solutions, says: “The principles of what we do essentially apply to any industry. Basically, if an industry or organisation is dependent on physical equipment to produce whatever it sells or does, then maintaining that equipment is fundamental for that organisation.”
Why is it so important? Euan Galloway, director and co-founder of SRCN Solutions, explains: “Security of supply and long term security of production matters, and the only way you get that is by making sure your equipment is able to sustain it. And the only way you make sure that happens is executing the work and maintenance you need to do.”
It’s all about doing the right maintenance at the right time, which means having the right processes, people, training and support systems in place – ideally at the start of an asset’s life.
Of course, one of the biggest challenges companies often face in following this advice is cost. But Colin and Euan are keen to emphasise that cutting costs now by neglecting maintenance and work management is a short sighted view – one that could lead to financial and operating troubles further down the line.
Colin says: “As a rule of thumb, if something is degraded to the point it fails, to fix that is three times more expensive than preventative maintenance.”
Plus, as well as being more costly to fix, unexpected equipment failure can also have a detrimental knock-on effect on production.
Euan agrees, adding: “The more you invest earlier on in your assets and in making sure you’re as good as possible at maintaining it for the long term, the less it’s going to cost you in the long run.”
As well as the physical maintenance of equipment, this translates to training of staff.
“There’s an assumption that a shiny new toy may be more beneficial in trying to improve efficiency than training people better. There isn’t really an awareness that you don’t rise to the level of your expectation, you fall to the level of your training,” explains Colin.
“People think they’re a lot better than they are, and they start looking at innovation when they could just do the basics better.”
Thinking short term and cutting costs by delaying training misses the bigger picture, which is why as well as designing work management strategies and maintenance processes, SRCN Solutions also offers tailored training programmes to clients.
It’s a particularly timely issue for renewables, especially offshore wind. Euan says: “Upfront capital investments right now is the name of the game for a lot of these offshore wind farms, but at some point once they’re up and running, they’ve got to maintain really effectively and efficiently.”
It’s better to do that sooner rather than later. Euan explains: “If you’ve got a new asset, what can you do early on to make sure you’re as efficient as possible for the life of it? It’s better to start off right rather than trying to fix things further down the line when you have a workforce that’s used to a particular way of working. It just becomes harder to change and harder to see the wood from the trees.”
Renewables can learn valuable lessons from oil and gas here – at least that’s Colin and Euan’s hope. “In oil and gas, it was broken down between production and maintenance,” Colin explains. In an ideal world, renewables – and indeed all industries – will view maintenance and work management as “everyone’s endeavour, and not just the maintenance team’s”.
At the end of the day, what business doesn’t want to save money, enhance efficiency and ensure it can continue producing for as long as possible? SRCN Solutions is determined to help all relevant industries do exactly that by prioritising effective maintenance and work management.