Maintenance Support


In today's competitive global economy World Class Maintenance is required for all successful industrial plants. Let us help you evaluate and upgrade your existing maintenance systems or develop new maintenance systems for your wood products plants.

Top Wood Jobs is in contact with the best in the industry and can bring to you the resources you need to successfully upgrade or develop your maintenance systems. Whether you simply need a maintenance assessment to understand how you compare to the industry or you have specific maintenance needs. We can help you with emergency support, contract or full time employment. Why would you use Top Wood Jobs? Because we have the best connections in the industry. We can team you up with exactly what you need for the least cost.

Do you need maintenance support? Contact us.

 We divide maintenance into six major maintenance programs:

1. Documentation and Data Management
2. Human Resources
3. Planning and Scheduling
4. Reliability: PM, PDM, TPM
5. Materials Management
6. Training Program

The following describes these programs and the possible opportunities available with improved maintenance systems.

1. Documentation and Data Management

Maintenance documentation and data management are critical to effectively operate a facility. Maintenance documentation includes information about machinery, manpower, and maintenance costs. System information about machinery includes drawings, machine manuals, history information, machine status details, downtime, downgrade, and production attainment information. Some opportunities of improvement may include enhancing the way downtime is tracked and used, measuring scheduled maintenance day’s performance, or determining which machines should have additional or improved PM. PM timing and follow up is as important as what PM is performed.

Computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) also known as EAM (Enterprise Asset Management), is used to track and record history and is used to efficiently manage maintenance, purchasing, and stores. It may be that the facility doesn’t have such software. We can help the plant select such a system or simply evaluate the use of the existing system to look for improvements.

Much of the data collected can be used in benchmarking maintenance to determine where to change programs or where there may be opportunities for improvement. This is often a huge opportunity for increasing plant margin through better management with better information. It is hard to manage effectively without good information.

2. Human Resources

Maintenance manpower and the management of manpower include the optimization of maintenance personnel and their job functions and responsibilities. This also includes how we manage manpower in a facility. This area is closely tied to the Training Program. Areas of improvement may include well-defined goals and budgets, job descriptions, determining staffing levels, office organizational skills, staff outsourcing, maintenance meetings, overtime management, and interaction with operations.

3. Planning and Scheduling

Over 40% of maintenance managers in North America see planning and scheduling as their top opportunity. Justifying the need for improving planning and scheduling is often a major obstacle to implementing such a program.

On average in North America, maintenance craftsman perform hands-on work activities less than four hours per day. Hands-on-time or “tool-time,” is the time when the craftsmen physically have their hands on a job in process. This includes preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance, and/or physically using tools. With better planning and scheduling, typically two to three times as much work can be accomplished in the same length of time.

The number one mistake a company will make when initiating a planning program is to try to require the current supervisors to both plan and supervise all work. One of the best decisions for maintenance organizations is to use a maintenance planner/scheduler with a work order system. This represents one of the largest opportunities in any maintenance department to save money. The optimum ratio of craft workers to planners is 15 workers for every planner. For smaller plants with only a handful of maintenance craftsman, the planning and scheduling management is less and will not require a dedicated planner/scheduler. Regardless of the plant size, the planning and scheduling process is still the same and will pay back in a short time.

Work requests and work orders are used to plan and schedule work. They are used to improve maintenance efficiencies and reduce cost. It is very common for facilities that use work orders to use them for only part of the maintenance work performed. Typically they are used for PM or repetitive tasks only. It is impossible to measure or manage maintenance activity effectively without using work orders for all maintenance work. Work orders are also used to track craft backlog to determine manpower and overtime requirements. By using work orders, costs can be reduced, and additional work can be performed with the same work force.

Overtime on average constitutes 14% of the total time worked by maintenance organizations in the United States; this is almost three times what it should be. Four or five percent is more reasonable. The majority of this overtime is due to reactive vs. proactive maintenance. “Plan the work, then work the plan.” This is what job planners can do for you when using work orders effectively.

The benefits of planning and scheduling maintenance activities using a planner and a work order system are:
1) Improved maintenance productivity and thus machine reliability through more craft hands-on time.
2) Cost savings and thus margin increases.
3) Better machine histories and documentation.
4) Better materials supply and tools management.

4. Reliability: PM, PDM, TPM

Preventive (PM), Predictive (PDM), and Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) are the key ingredients to a successful maintenance program. Preventive Maintenance is planned maintenance that prevents equipment from breaking down unexpectedly, and maximizing how long a piece of equipment will last. Through PM, components are replaced when required to reduce cost. Some facilities think of PM as simply “parts changers” programs. Though some parts must be replaced, they should be replaced when the need is there under scheduled conditions. PM will reduce unscheduled downtime and “firefighting,” going from one emergency to the next.

Predictive Maintenance (PDM) is used to predict when failures may occur and schedule the required maintenance. This program includes both instrumentation and data collection. There are many PDM programs that can be implemented. One element PDM can include is vibration analysis to determine rotating equipment (bearings, fans, etc.) failure or improper installation. Other programs include infrared scanning, oil analysis, laser alignment, motor condition monitoring, water and condensate testing, and wall pipe thickness, among others.

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), is the function of using operators to conduct both PM and PDM. This allows the operators to better understand their machines. The machines will run better when the operator is properly trained and given the right tools to help maintain his equipment.

Developing good PM, PDM, and TPM takes a lot of effort, and is a constantly changing process. It’s hard to improve things when the alligators are biting at your haunches; yet with good plant data and documentation, the frequency and work accomplished can be adjusted properly. As machines run better, solutions to modifying machines may become apparent and reduce the required maintenance.

5. Materials Management

For maintenance to maintain and improve equipment they need tools, machinery parts, and supplies. How many times has maintenance spent hours looking for something, while the plant was shut down? Once they locate a part, if they do, it needs to be the right part or tool for the job and in the best condition.

No one can afford to have every tool ever made or a spare for everything at the plant. It is important to have only what is needed at the best possible cost. We have seen parts rooms that contain millions of dollars of inventory where no one could find the right item or parts; or where many parts or tools would never be used. Inventory is very expensive. It is important to have the right parts and tools and to have them properly taken care of, tracked, and located.

It is important that the plant equipment is documented well. Each time a work request is generated, the planner should not have to spend hours researching the required parts, simply because he does not have the right operating equipment part data. Maintenance must know what plant equipment they have, to understand what spares need to be stocked.

Just in time (JIT) delivery of parts for maintenance work is important. Again, there is no sense having every part on site. Through good PM, PDM, TPM, and scheduling the proper parts can be on site when required. Using the wrong part or tool can be dangerous. Having the right part or tool for the job is essential.

6. Training Program

Maintenance training is critical for an efficient operation. Ongoing training is typically required for the plant manager through the maintenance craftsmen. The plant manager must understand “World Class Maintenance” to properly manage the maintenance superintendent. The maintenance superintendent must understand completely these concepts to manage his staff and for them to manage the craftsmen. The craftsmen must have the proper training to work safely, efficiently, and effectively.

Training must be ongoing. So many times we have asked the plant management if they have a training program and the comments back are, “yes we had training once,” or, “yes, the maintenance folks were required to be trained before they came to work here.” It is good that they had some previous training, but unless they have continued training, with machine specific training, they will never improve and will not hold on to those technical skills they use infrequently.

To develop a training program one must first identify the skills required and then develop a training program based on those skills. The plant needs to identify who should be trained and set priorities for what training is required and when. Proper training will allow all other maintenance programs to be successful. The craftsmen will work safer and produce more quality work professionally.

Local, state, and federal funding in some locations can cover training programs and even our fees for maintenance assessment and training. We can help our clients identify funding to reduce the cost of these programs and further maintenance training and consulting. As an example, the state of South Carolina can reimburse as much as 75% of all training cost.

Our forest products industry is aging, and unfortunately many plants that have a retiring maintenance work force have not documented procedures or developed an ongoing training program. The knowledge and skills will be lost with these retiring employees unless maintenance procedures are documented before they leave.

Top Wood Jobs does not provide for all maintenance training, but we can help the plant identify the needs, develop the plan, and point plants to successful training suppliers.

Industries Include:

  • All Wood Products and Forest Industry
  • Biomass Energy
  • Cabinets
  • Furniture
  • Flooring
  • Hardboard
  • I-Joist
  • Laminating
  • LVL
  • Pulp & Paper
  • OSB
  • OSL
  • MDF
  • Particleboard
  • Plywood
  • Sawmills and Lumber
  • Wood Pellets
  • WPC - Wood Plastic Composites