Uptime: It has to be quite a challenge steering multiple sites, is it not?
Rey: It is, since we are responsible for the maintenance of all mobile equipment and the fixed and rotating equipment. Also, Goldcorp has two types of mines, underground and open pit. This led us to develop a maintenance framework for Goldcorp. The document is 27 pages covering the various phases of maintenance, including planning and scheduling. The key performance indicators (KPIs) are also provided for the framework. Since it is a framework, each site is allowed to customize it to meet its needs, since there are significant differences between underground and open pit mines. Each site has maintenance strategy plans that can be customized to help the workforce on their journey from reactive to proactive. This maintenance framework is designed to help them move forward.
Uptime: How did the framework approach develop?
Rey: The maintenance strategy group developed the plans. The group took some of the existing plans and improved them. They added some new procedures and intiatives, then added some KPIs, particularly in planning and scheduling. We then took the framework to the mine sites. We helped the maintenance departments of each site understand what the new maintenance strategy plan entailed. We then solicited feedback from the maintenance teams and customized and adapted the framework as necessary. For example, an open pit mine may have 400-ton trucks, whereas underground will have 30 -ton trucks. Also, the operating conditions in the mines are different. For example, an underground mine is hot and humid, while an open pit mine can have variable operating conditions depending on the weather and time of year.
Uptime: Since your team developed the framework, certainly there are still some organizational issues that came up. Are there any of these that stood out to you?
Rey: One specific one was the use of planners. The planners needed to focus on how to transition from expediting parts for reactive work to planning proactive work. When a problem comes up, the planners want to help, but they really need to focus on planning. In the framework, we use both planners and schedulers. The planner plans the work and then the scheduler meets with operations. Together, they pick the planned jobs and set the schedules. After this meeting, any job must be a break-in to get on the schedule. However, the biggest challenge was getting our operations partners to buyin to the maintenance framework. For example, when starting out, the maintenance planners and schedulers reached out to them two or three times per day, which provides constant communication. They especially work hard on communication before, during and after the scheduling meeting.
Uptime: What are some of the more advanced techniques in your maintenance framework?
Rey: Operator driven reliability is part of the framework. At the mines, it is in its infancy, but they are working in that direction. The mines have some pre-operating check sheets that call out tasks, such as greasing. The operators are being educated as to why this is important. This helps them realize it’s really part of their job. The operators then get training to do it right. Even now, they wash their equipment before they bring it to the shop and this saves time from maintenance performing it.
Uptime: What do you see as some future hurdles?
Rey: It is probably what it will take to get to the next level, which is operator driven reliability. The operators will be looking at preventing equipment damage and assisting with timely preventive maintenance. The maintenance and operations teams need to stay on schedule with preventive maintenance and not work on it too early or too late.
Uptime: What are you doing as far as personnel development?
Rey: We are focusing on coaching and mentoring. Everyone from the superintendent to the wrench turners must ask questions that are designed to get people to think out of the box. We can’t continue to do things the way we have always done them if we want to improve. Even now, people freely volunteer ideas when we are around. They know we really want their input. The more visible managers are to the people, the less threatening they appear to be, so people open up more readily.
At Goldcorp, there will be many retirements in the next three to five years. We’re aware of that problem, particularly in the skilled trades, so we are looking into setting up apprentice processes. This will be comprised of on-the-job training and related courseware – our Human Resources is working on it right now.
The skilled trades shortage is important because it’s hard to find people to step into these positions. There is a 20-year generation gap. Many younger workers did not follow in their father’s footsteps. You can’t just hire skilled people off the street. Temporarily, until we have our programs and processes in place, we are using some contractors to fill the void.
Uptime: If you could have one wish right now for the maintenance organizations at Goldcorp, what would it be?
Rey: I would like to see the mines move to a more solid predictive maintenance program. For example, we are working on oil analysis, vibration analysis and tire management, but we need to widen our use of these techniques. I also really want more operations involvement, even if it is just the basics, such as using their five senses to find problems early. For the operators to be able to do greasing, we need to make sure they are fully trained on the basics. Just something this basic will free up maintenance technicians to do more advanced predictive work.
Uptime: If you could give a piece of advice for future maintenance managers, what would it be?
Rey: They should strive to become a certified reliability leader (CRL). A CRL would fully understand all the asset performance management elements. This would enhance their career. This would make them a better manager. This will help them identify weaknesses in the organization and look for opportunities for improvement. Being a CRL would make them more credible with their maintenance people when they are out in the field with them.
Uptime: What would you like to see in the future for the mines at Goldcorp?
Rey: While I realize the opportunity to fully develop the maintenance framework will take time, I would like to see one of the mines qualify for the Uptime Award. We are working in that direction. We recently performed some RCM analysis and solved some problems that led to modifying and improving preventive maintenance, and identified some other action items. Because of the RCM analysis, the mines are running longer and producing more. We just need to take one of these examples, document it and apply for the Uptime Award.
Uptime: We look forward to the time when one of the mines wins the Uptime Award. Then you can write the case study for Uptime Magazine. Best wishes in your endeavor.