Creating and Maintaining Working Alliances – Ian Goodwin

Creating and Maintaining Working Alliances

Ian Goodwin

Our guest today, Ian Goodwin, has more than 40 years of experience in the mining industry having worked across the globe. Ian started his career in Western Australia’s iron ore industry in the mid-70s, working up from the workshop floor through supervisory and management roles, and then crossing over into the supply function. Ian became a general manager for supply and moved to the US and then on to Canada to head up maintenance and supply for Ekati Diamond Mine.

Ian then became General Manager for Ekati before moving back to Australia after 10 years in North America to lead the BHP Billiton global maintenance networks, where Ian was responsible in sharing best practices across BHP’s global mining operations.

After this time, Ian supported several areas of BHP as General Manager for assets before hanging up the laptop, or so he thought. He has been in high demand since retiring and starting his asset advisory and coaching services business. 

We’re sure that you will take plenty of learnings from this conversation and this will give you the knowledge to employ the insights learned here in your organizations to get more from your assets.

For more resources and information, head to the Bluefield Asset Management website. To learn more about getting the most out of your assets, grab a copy of Gerard’s book Simplifying Mining Maintenance

Some Topics That We Cover

  • Achieving synergy between maintenance and supply
  • Maintenance issues specific to working in extreme weather conditions
  • The importance of developing a strong alliance between departments and local suppliers
  • Building strong working relationships
  • The benefit of your planning and scheduling being organised by one person
  • Educating the General Manager on not only the what, but the why on a base level
  • Ensuring your team are focused on quality workmanship to increase fleet productivity
  • Get to know the people that you work with and play to their strengths
  • Keep everyone working towards a common goal

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Read The Full Podcast Transcript Below


Voiceover: Welcome to the Bluefield 30 in 30 series where we interview mining industry professionals with more than 30 years experience and capture their key learnings in 30 minutes. We hope this experience share is valuable for those dealing with similar issues within their businesses.

Gerard Wood: Today I’m joined by Ian Goodwin, who has more than 40 years of experience in the mining industry having worked across the globe. Ian started his career in Western Australia’s iron ore industry in the mid-70s, working out from the workshop floor through supervisory and management roles, and then crossing over into the supply function. Ian became a general manager for supply and moved to the US and then on to Canada to head up maintenance and supply for Ekati Diamond Mine.

Ian then became General Manager for Ekati before moving back to Australia after 10 years in North America to lead the BHP Billiton global maintenance networks, where Ian was responsible to share best practice across BHP’s global mining operations. After this time, Ian supported several areas of BHP as General Manager for assets before hanging up the laptop, or so he thought. He has been in high demand since retiring and starting his asset advisory and coaching services business. 

Ian, thanks for coming in. Are you ready to share your experiences with people so that their businesses can get more from assets?

Ian Goodwin: Absolutely, Gerard. Looking forward to this. It’s always been a bit of a passion for me to share the information that I’ve gathered through the years and I might well learn from this as well.

Gerard: Okay, then fill in any blanks from that intro and tell us a bit about what you’re doing currently.

Ian: I think you covered it pretty well there, Gerard. What I would like to say though is that during my journey earlier, part of my career, particularly at Newman, working at a truck shop, which was maintenance foreman and then maintenance superintendent. I became disgruntled with the supply side of the business. I had issues with warehousing couldn’t find the right part, getting their own delivery, even the repairs that were coming back. I thought somewhere along the line, I want to try and understand more about the supply side of the business. I went back to college and did a couple of diplomas.

Very soon after that, I was asked if I would- because I was whining so much about the warehouse and about supply, I was asked if I could take on the role of supply superintendent, which was a bit out of my comfort zone but it was just fantastic because I could use my maintenance knowledge and apply that with the learnings from the commercial learnings and make a difference to the iron ore. That’s how I jumped on the wagon there. 

That then spun off through the years that the supply and then I was offered the opportunity to do maintenance and supply.

How that came about was a president that I had worked for in Melbourne, for BHP, he remembered that one of my goals and aspirations was to have maintenance and supply working together. He said to me there’s an opportunity at the Ekati Diamond Mine to put these skills together if I could take on the role of maintenance and supply and pull them together. That’s how I got into the supply side of the business, given my maintenance background of being a tradesman and diesel pilot.

Gerard: Excellent. What are you up to currently?

Ian: Right now, as you mentioned, I got my own business, not doing too much and as much as delivered. However, I’ve got a place down in Sydney, where I do a couple of these a month, waste management place. That came about, again through some contacts with BHP. For what I did there was going back probably five years now, where the plant was a new plant and never really been maintained, have been maintained under the so-called warranty agreements. The availability of plant was really terrible actually, it was down to about 70 if it was even 70% availability. Over the past five years, we’ve introduced a maintenance department, have a maintenance manager, maintenance superintendent, we’ve got a planner, and we’re now running consistently at 92%, 93%. availability.

Gerard: Excellent. Can you tell us about the first time when you became an asset manager? What were your thoughts at the time and what were your aspirations for that role?

Ian: If I can just define a little bit for the asset manager, I guess it’s the first time I actually became involved heavily with maintenance. Asset is the correct terminology because you got to look at the whole of the asset, not just particularly maintenance but this was a diamond mine and as a Greenfield site, and I was there during the construction phase. If I had my time again, I’d like to have gone earlier during the construction phase. It just wasn’t possible but I’d like to have done that because I could have implemented some of the best practices that I had been involved in through the global maintenance network at BHP Billiton.

That was on standing up a Greenfield site. In other words, getting access to equipment, having the proper equipment, having tools in place, I guess, so that you can maintain properly but, however, that just wasn’t possible. The challenge for me was we’re in the High Arctic and the Arctic Circle there so there was a challenge with the weather, a challenge of getting equipment in and we have a challenge with skills, we had no skill levels. I started off with a clean sheet. I was the only person there for maintenance and supply. I had nobody at all.

Gerard: What stage was the project when you arrived there?

Ian: That stage was 18 months before commissioning. There were no systems, nothing at all. BHP, we were in the process of changing from SAP to Global SAP, GSAP. Basically, I had some directive there to use these systems which was fine. We can manage that and just use the basic, but the challenge for me was to get people to maintain equipment. Northwest Territories of Canada is primarily made up of Aboriginal peoples, and they are on the land. There were no literally, no trained mechanics in Yellowknife which is the capital city. I had to try and work out how we’re going to do this.

How I did it was through my contract with Finning. I see my contract it was quite significantly different. My contract is what I call a true alliance relationship. My first goal was to get a relationship going with Finning, which is a Caterpillar dealer because we had chosen Caterpillar equipment completely from a green set. Again, this was through the BHP Billiton agreement, worldwide agreement with Caterpillar. Basically, all of the equipment was Caterpillar, except for the two excavators at the time, which were Demag, subsequently taken over by Komatsu and as we all know now the PC thousands.

It was a  given that we had a system that was going to be put in place called SAP, it was given that with Caterpillar equipment. Based on a Caterpillar equipment, I talked to Finning, and I explained to them that I needed some sort of an alliance agreement here. This alliance agreement would include them being responsible. Even though it was a little bit late to enforce the change of them being 100% accountability, we’d actually committed the orders before I had got there. I had to try and do some discussions with them on how we’re going to manage and how we’re going to be measured.

They will not just provide labor. They weren’t just there to provide labor, they’re there to give us availability and reliability, in particular, of the equipment. The end result was that Finning put in their own, what they call their own branch, which was a warehouse that we gave them the space. They put in the racking, and they put in all the parts that was needed to maintain their equipment. The mandate they were given was to ensure that we had target figures, off the top my head, I can’t remember exactly what they were, but during the 90s where the 793 fleet, 777 fleet, and then we had all the support equipment that went with that.

They then had to ensure that they had the stocks in place to keep that fleet going because they were responsible for keeping it going. We had targets in place and goals in place. We had gain sharing and we had profit sharing. There were some commercial aspects where they were only allowed to- and it was as open book as could be, where there was a percentage that they could add on to their labor and there was a percentage that we got back that they didn’t achieve the targets. If they exceeded the targets by a certain percentage then we get some money back whether it was on labor or whether it was on parts.

Gerard: From what you said before when you took that role on, you were really focused on being able to achieve both synergies between supply and maintenance at the time. Is that right?

Ian: That’s correct. As we traditionally knew that maintenance and supply were at loggerheads with each other. This was the opportunity using this alliance agreement to help the supply people and the maintenance people working together, two maintenance superintendents and one supply superintendent. I got the three of them in the room with myself and explained how there are some alliance agreements. I did a bit of research, particularly in the BHP network, again using the global maintenance network to figure out what alliance contracts people had in place was marked contracts, it ranged quite significantly.

Norwich Parker, I remember at the time, had a reasonable agreement in place. I use that as a, I guess, just as a platform to get started. What I did was I got the Finning rep who was assigned to us plus the three superintendents and I didn’t go deliberately but I sent them across to two-week fact-finding to see what the good things were they were doing, what the opportunities were and how that could be applied at the Ekati Diamond Mine. As a result of that, we ended up with this alliance. It took us 12 months to really get the alliance going. A sheet of paper was basically, there’s actually the three sheets of paper designed that we didn’t get the lawyers needed or nothing. We did a verbal agreement basically and it worked like a charm.

Gerard: Some great learnings there around the relationships.

Ian: Absolutely. That was the key is building these relationships because the supply superintendent that was used to going in and, I guess, the old way of billing the suppliers around the head, getting the cheapest prices. The maintenance superintendent that was used to telling the supplier what to do so you know to change out to X amount of hours whatever the case was and then had the Finning company themselves. This was a new adventure for them and hats off to them that they were quite open to it. Three quite distinct groups to try and deal with. That was just through constant discussion and interaction with each other that we hit it off.

Gerard: Can you tell me about a time as a maintenance manager when you had your best outcomes from the assets? How did you measure this success and what do you believe were the three key elements for achieving the outcomes?

Ian: I’m really keen on this alliance business and I’ve seen it working very recently. I’d like to expand a bit more. With this alliance, not only with Finning, we had it with Caterpillar because we’re a Greenfield site, because we’re in the Artic, because we are all brand spanking new, we had a fantastic take-off having a diamond mine so that a bit of sparkle so to speak to it.

Caterpillar were very keen on us. Why not expand on that so we built up relationships obviously with Caterpillar. Very specifically though in the CAT 7933B-series, the 35 16 engines, we had 12 of them. We were noticing after about two and a half thousand hours and bearing in mind that these trucks come in on the summer on the winter road, so the winter road had closed, winter had seven and now we’ve got an issue with engines.

We can’t get these engines out in a plane, something has to happen on site. There’s no way we can get them out. These engines started to have valve seal failures and they were puffing smoke. Not only that because on your mind, we were getting closely monitored for pollution.

The pressure was on not to have any pollution. We’re having equipment that was starting to fail and I called Finning, I called Caterpillar. I told them I had this issue. Almost the next flight, we had the three guys from Caterpillar and, I forget the name of the engine place now, anyway down the States and the Finning technical rep as well.

They assess the situation. They were in constant dialogue to the factory, we’ll give them an office, and within the week, they had actually come up with what they thought was a solution which was a different type of material for the seals.

The following week they had them manufactured and then the third week, they had these parts delivered to the site. When they delivered the parts to the site, they actually flew in two technical, I guess, super mechanics to help the Finning people. Basically, within four or five weeks, we had the whole fleet completely redone the engines, completely redone on– They stayed for another week to make sure that things were still bedded in and then they closely monitored from a distance.

It may seem insignificant but knowing the territory what we’re in, knowing the conditions that we were in, this was a true partnership agreement where it really worked. There was no questions whatsoever about that we have the right oil, did we have this? Did we have that? Nothing, none of that at all. It’s we have a problem. We’re coming to fix it, they did, and then they moved away from it when it was completed. I found that a really good solution. It was a really good way of how the alliance was working and how everybody interacted.

Gerard: The three key aspects that you believe might that work well is the alliance?

Ian: Yes, the three key ones would be with the alliance and how that was formed. It wasn’t a contract where you had to look through a certain paragraph to find out who’s to do what. It was just truly alliance that we have an issue, we’d get it fixed.

The second one is the people. They basically had built with the people on how to work as a team. I guess the third one was that they came up with a solution. They had the technical know-how from the factory to do that. This is 1998.

Gerard: Can you tell us about your worst experience as a miner’s manager? How did it occur and what did you do to respond to the situation?

Ian: This is an interesting one. It goes back to the age-old maintenance concept whether you’re centralized or decentralized. We were very much centralized at this particular mine with a new VP of operations that came in and he came from a background that wasn’t maintenance, he was an operations guy.

I had moved on and I was moving out of the operations. I was handing over to him basically and there was a six-month handover, close to six months, I guess. The first words he said to me, he says, “Well, as far as I’m concerned maintenance has to fix the things that get broken.”

I said, “Well, that’s not how we operate here at the mine.” He said, “Well, maybe that’s just as well that you’re leaving,” So that got us off to a really good start. He didn’t replace the maintenance manager, he didn’t replace him at the time he left. He didn’t replace him. He had the superintendents–

One superintendent reporting through to the Plant Manager and the other two superintendents reporting through to the Operations Production Manager. The other downside was the production manager was very much a hash and bash production at all costs kind of person and the result there was that I needed to keep a close eye on it just from afar but also the guys that used to work for me would tell me what was going on and their morale was going down the hill pretty fast. They were told to cancel PM work just because it were to get some more tons out. Some PM stuff wasn’t completed, the backlog was building up, you could virtually see a significant change.

With time I had left, whilst there wasn’t a significant change in equipment availability and reliability which you wouldn’t expect over a six-month period, but you can see the morale was going down pretty fast. When I left again, the guys through the global maintenance network, I keep in touch with them and they were starting to see the effects of availability and reliability.

The significant thing about this scenario, Gerard, and it’s quite interesting because I did have the unique experience of experiencing this VP of operations coming in, then going away for probably eight years, and then coming back.

By the way, in that eight-year period, myself and another colleague from the GMN went across, and we did an audit, and we could see the difference that was happening then. We could see the trend that was taking place, we alerted them to that and nothing really was done about it.

As I mentioned, the interesting thing for me was the company was selling the mine and I had been asked to go across just to see if I could help them in a three-month period to increase the availability of the triple seven fleet that at time, the fleet size had changed, and it was triple sevens.

They’re running some in the region of 70%-73% availability and a triple seven three, as we all know that’s just terrible. That’s just not on at all. The result of that was pure planning, pure supply relationship, they didn’t manage the repairs and the people as well was really down.

At the same time, they had introduced a new system and that new system had called a separation from planning and from scheduling. Planners have difficulty separating from scheduling, scheduling wanted to plan and there was an overabundance of these people. Significant overabundance to the tune of 30 people in addition to what was actually needed. When the company took over and asked me to stay on to see if I could help them sort all this out, we completely reorganized through the planning department.

We got back to planning and scheduling working together. We focused in on planning and we focused in on that big things do occur. We will have a dip so we told the production guy that they will be a dip. Please expect that there’s going to be some issue with availability but we will come through it the other side.

We worked really hard, got the right people on the bus so to speak and we did our planning. Significantly, in a three month period, we achieved 89% availability and then after six months, we’re up at 92%. The contributing factors there where we had the organization correct so we had the right people on the bus, we had planners during scheduling.

We reduced the planning as I mentioned with 30 people that actually left and we have the 10 planners in total for the whole plant that was fixed plant as well as mobile equipment and we had no schedulers. The planners did the scheduling.

We introduced the alliance back again, the supplier Finning was Caterpillar. They were told what to do in the past. In other words, you’re not changing a turbocharger, now you keep it going, et cetera. Failures will occur and they never get the blame for the failure so we moved it back to them again.

We transitioned. Just as I was leaving, they had signed off the agreement. The alliance, were back on to Alliance again. We had some very clear- they took on the ownership of older equipment and gave us some targets that they could achieve and that they were going to be held accountable for and now up to this very day it’s running well.

Gerard: Some great learnings there that we can take away like the key point about what you do today in maintenance doesn’t show up for 6 to 12 months down the track and the planning and scheduling working being one person rather being separate functions and that’s two keys to take away.

Ian: Correct.

Gerard: Again, getting the relationships right again.

Ian: I think I’d like to make the point too that typically an organization, a big organization there is a three-year cycle. A person comes in for the first year they start to see what’s going on. The second year they do the implementation and then the third year they should really wait and see what the outcomes are. In this case here, it was about three years, probably just slightly less than three years. Both the VP Ops was actually moved on and so was the operations manager. They actually left thinking that they had done a fantastic job because availabilities had dropped but they had actually increased the fleet size. They increased the fleet size to compensate for the poor availability. What I didn’t mention was that through all the restructure that we did and yes, it’s a shame that some people had to leave because it wasn’t really their fault but that’s just the case in today’s world but we actually had reduced the fleet by two trucks. That was done because we increased availability.

The learning there was that if you really get some high availability and focusing on the availability, sorry reliability. I keep mentioning availability and I’ll come back to that. That if you get reliable equipment and that gives you high availability. You use the utilization on the availability then you can reduce the fleet size.

Gerard: Maybe this next question’s a little bit linked to the previous situation but as maintenance managers, we’ve all had times when the GM, general manager wants more for less or when they’re not satisfied with what maintenance is delivering. Can you describe your most difficult time with your general manager and how you went about making sure you delivered the business outcomes and what they were and how you managed that relationship with the general manager?

Ian: I guess if I go back a general manager of and then reported as the maintenance and supply manager, he is actually vice president but he didn’t know too much about maintenance but I was fortunate that he was willing to learn. I think that’s the key. Is that you have to educate those are not familiar with maintenance. Those that think that maintenance is just the dude that appears, don’t see maintenance as being a critical component of the operation because typically you’re looking at 30%, 35%, 40% of your cost come through maintenance. You can quite easily reduce that by having good maintenance programs in place. Good strategies in place.

With this GM, I sat down with him and explained to him what I wanted to do with the fleet. I was pretty lucky they had a new fleet. I had some old piece of gear because we were doing pre-stripping and all that stuff before the exploration. I had some old bits of gear. I was fortunate enough to be able to show him what happens in the old bits of gear because they weren’t maintained and how I can stop that by applying these different processes, different strategies to the new pieces of gear.

Gerard: By different strategies, you mean planned or scheduled work instead of reactive?

Ian: Absolutely. Planning and scheduling as opposed to break down stuff. The thing that he was hanging his hat on and quite a number of people do is that they think that warranty is an answer to everything. They think that when you get a new piece of equipment, that warranty will take care of the failure. It doesn’t because you still got to maintain it from day one. You can draw on your experience with your own private car. If you don’t take it in for the servicing and then something fails then guess what, they’re not going tell you that the warranty applies. It’s the same with any big piece of gear.

I explained to him what planning was and what the planning and scheduling because obviously, the two are together in my mind and explained to him what I did. I love the whiteboard. I’d be drawing a lot of things on the whiteboard. I’d be showing him best practice through the global maintenance that was picking up. I really educated him and that was one of the biggest learnings I had was to educate them from the beginning.

Yes, as you go along and the piece of equipment fails and the question comes of how did the planning not pick that up? Well, some things happen. That what we did tell him was or what I did tell him was that any failure that we have is that we continuously improve. We ascertain what the cause was and get right back to the root cause and I said to him, “In most cases, the root cause is not to do with the actual equipment. It’s the way we used it and the way we operated it.” I said it’s easy for the maintenance person to pass the ball over but we can demonstrate on some areas where this has actually happened. Sometimes that can be taken as a strategy that we’re going to run it to destruction, that’s fine but be aware that you’re going to wreck this stuff and you’re going to have downtime.

Gerard: I like that, Ian. Educate from the beginning.

Ian: Absolutely.

Gerard: The other thing you mentioned in that was about planning and scheduling in your mind being the same thing. Maybe you can expand on that a little bit more. I know a lot of people have tried to separate planning and scheduling to two different roles. Can you talk a bit more about your experience there?

Ian: I guess if I jump ahead and say why do people think that they are two separate roles? I think whether this is a tick, planning, and scheduling and you look at the main plan and the main schedule and you look at a production plan and a schedule and then you look at maintenance planning and scheduling. With maintenance planning and scheduling, the maintenance planner has got most definite all the knowledge on when this piece of equipment is going to get serviced or come in for a premature fail, whatever the case is. He knows that pretty well in advance. The missing link is that he or she has then to operate and work with the production people. If they can do that, then the planner can do the scheduling function.

The scheduler can’t do the planning function because he doesn’t have the skill set that a planner has. A planner is typically a good tradesperson. It doesn’t necessarily need to be an engineer. The person needs to have a really sound knowledge of the equipment so knows what it looks like, knows the size of it, knows how many hours within reason or how to go about finding how many hours it will to take that job and build up a platform, I guess database for the actual planning function.

Whereas a scheduler just looking at where they can slot in given the hours it’s going to take and where they can slot in given the production. I think that’s where people are trying to come from is trying to the whole scheduling function from main planning, production planning, maintenance planning as one and it doesn’t work. Maintenance planning and scheduling has to be kept separate. Yes, they have to tie in for production needs but they can’t be scheduled at the same time.

Gerard: Can you tell me about your views on work quality, how do you ensure the quality of the work is great and that rework is minimized?

Ian: This is a real point. Quality is dear to my heart because you can have all the systems in the world, you can have all the planning, you can have all the scheduling, you can have all whatever else but if you don’t have quality in the shop floor, none of that means anything. I use the aircraft industry a lot. I get criticized because perception is that the airline industry has got a lot of money, they go and spend a lot of money on maintenance and planning and they have quadruplet redundancy et cetera.

That may be right. However, if you come back to your basics, if you have somebody that knows what they’re doing, knows how to troubleshoot and can do a job well, then you will get a quality product. An example would be and again I will use the aircraft industry. If you take, let’s just call him a fitter. A fitter on a Boeing 737. That fitter is endorsed to work on a Boeing 737. Not only is he endorsed to work on a 737 but under particular hydraulics and another fitter will be on the engine and another will be on the airframe and another will be on tires or the undercarriage et cetera.

What I’m saying is that they are very specific. Trained very specific. They have a general apprenticeship and then they become trained. It’s the same with the pilots. The same with an operator. The pilot that’s trained on a 737 they can’t just jump in a 747 the next day and then hop back to the 737. It doesn’t work that way. We should be thinking that way with our operators but getting back to quality, have a look at your own car again. Another good analogy.

If you go back 10, 15 years ago, almost any bush mechanic could go and carburetor parts or distributor or change plugs points, change the oil, not a problem. Today’s car, he can’t do that. Today’s car you need to be a technician qualified to plug in a computer and understand the cords. Heavy equipment, whether it’s mobile or whether it’s plant, fixed plant, is exactly the same and it’s getting more and more technical. The mining industry hasn’t moved forward and that we still have shifters, we still have sledgehammers and we still have chisels.

We haven’t gone forward enough with computer technology and with fault finding in particular. With quality, we need good people that can fault find. We waste a lot of time trying to find out what the problem is and we do change-outs. We change out the pump or we change out a carb or we change whatever the case is and we still haven’t fixed the problem. Downtime is precious to us. That decreases our reliability. To get the quality in the shop floor, I believe that we really have to spend a lot in training on the specific equipment that we have and that means that putting the onus onto the manufacturers to provide that for us and continuously audit it to make sure that we are up to scratch. Audit the quality of the work, audit the quality of the training and audit the quality of the person. No different from the aircraft industry.

Gerard: One quote I’ll take away from that is with all the planning systems in the world, without quality of our work, none of that means anything.

Ian: Absolutely correct.

Gerard: If you went into a reactive workplace tomorrow as the manager for assets or maintenance. You reviewed the plant performance, checked all the key aspects of managing assets. You looked at how all the planning was being done, what the equipment strategies were, the work execution, the improvement process, the people. You’ve looked at all of that and you decided that all of those needed improvement, there was problems across the board, but you can only make one change to one of those areas. What would you change first in order to have the most impact on the equipment performance in the shortest possible time?

Ian: The one that springs straight to mind and I’ll do it exactly what you said there, have a look at all of the facts, whether it’s through the systems, whether it’s talking to people, whether it’s even just doing a kick the tire test on the equipment, and I come back, almost all the cases that there is poor planning. When I mean poor planning, I don’t just mean that they haven’t planned the job correctly or haven’t planned the proper equipment for the proper day, whatever. I mean that they haven’t properly assessed what needs to be done in that particularly PM and executed the plan. Planning is fine, but the plan to be completed has to be executed. If that hasn’t been done, then I’ll almost guarantee that you’ll have premature failures and you’ll have service breakdowns.

Gerard: You focus on the planning and the execution of the plan?

Ian: Planning and the execution, they go hand-in-hand. If you focus on both of these, you very quickly get the feedback as to the condition of the equipment and which equipment and which particular area in planning and execution you have to address. We ever only talked about quality. It could well be the quality because we’ve planned it correctly, but we’ve had to do some rework because it’s come back in again. For me, if I was going to build from scratch, I’d build a strong planning group, very experienced, very thorough in what they do. I would also have a strong execution group. You plan and you execute.

Gerard: Planning and execution go hand-in-hand?

Ian: Correct. Absolutely.

Gerard: Can’t have one without the other.

Ian: No. You can have one without the other, but you won’t achieve much.

Gerard: You’ll have one or the other, but you don’t get the results.

Ian: One will be fixing breakdowns all the time, continuously. The other one will plan and nothing gets done.


Gerard: What advice would you give to new aspiring asset managers?

Ian: We always learn. Doesn’t matter how old you are. I’ll be grey here and I’m always learning. I like to learn. The most important thing for a new aspiring maintenance manager is to understand people. Through people, you can get the job done. It’s about creating a team. You can use a football analogy for that one. You can have 15 good players in their own right, but the team doesn’t go anywhere. You can have 15 average players and they’re world-beaters. That’s done through their manager pulling the team together, having the right people on the bus, as we always talk about, and having them clearly defined as to what their role is.

The manager’s role, he has to articulate what the objectives are, he has to articulate what their goals are, and then he has to assist and help the people to achieve these goals for him. If he doesn’t have a cohesive team to pull that together, then he’s not going to achieve his goals. I think for a new manager is they really have to understand the people that’s working for him and the people that’s needed for gaps there and help and assist and drive that team. The manager is only as good as a team that’s working with him, not for him, working with them.

Gerard: Excellent. Thank you, Ian, for sharing your vast experience. I hope that others can take this and apply the learning which is relevant to their situation and their equipment in order to get more from their assets.

Ian: Thanks, Gerard. I appreciate the opportunity. I’ve probably learned a little bit myself today. Thank you.

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