Plant & Maintenance
This is a very specialized career
in the engineering portfolio. In the past, this is considered
to be very much the mainline
engineering career. This was because industry was not very
well established in the country at that time. In today’s
environment, engineers have a much more variety of choices,
and as such, plant and maintenance is now a specialized field.
In general, engineers who decide to embark upon this area
as a career path will normally pick it as a life long career.
Of course, some may choose it as an entry-level job with
the hope of getting to different fields when opportunities
However, the majority will stay on in this category and
progress to become managers or consultants in their own companies
or working for others.
As the name implies, the fundamental
responsibility of this job is to keep plant and machinery
fashion. When I say “plant and machinery” I do
not only mean factories. For example, maintainingg a feel
of aircraft, within a ship, a construction site etc. will
also fit here. This is a very important point. Plant and
machinery normally consume a very large portion of a business’s
invested capital, and to get an attractive return on this
capital, it will be expected that these assets be kept running
for as long as possible between shutdowns.
In order to achieve this objective,
the engineer will need to apply a lot of hands on experience
machinery they are trained to maintain. To be a great plant
and maintenance engineer require as many years of apprenticeship
as formal education. By apprenticeship I mean under studying
more experienced seniors for many years to gain exposure
to the various aspects and “tricks” of the trade.
There is also the added complexity of regulatory requirements
that the engineer must ensure that company complies with.
For example, safety regulations must be complied with. Also,
in many cases, the engineer will need to obtain further certification
in order to be able to maintain certain critical equipment
such as switch gear, boilers etc.
Like all other engineers, as
the career progresses, there will be need to lead lower
level technical staff
technicians, workmen etc. The maintenance engineer’s
job here will require a different leadership skills compared
to their other counterparts. In the maintenance environment,
the subordinates are generally more “field” orientated
and are used to heavy and harsh environments. These tend
to be “tougher” people and will require appropriate
behavior to effectively manage. Just imagine the challenges
of managing a team of people on a construction site, and
oilrig or at a shipyard and you will understand the difference.
In general, engineers in this career path will aspire to
be consultants. In a growing economy, there will be no shortage
of opportunities here. It is a very specialized field with
lots of knowledge of regulatory requirements that only the
well-apprenticed engineer can do.
Here are some successful characteristics for a plant and
A high degree of interest in hands on work. Normally can
do the work as well as subordinates.
Passion to get further regulatory certifications in
order to be allowed to work in specialize areas.
(e.g. High-tension certification etc).
Ability to schedule maintenance work in a way that
cost is optimized without compromising equipment
integrity and operational life.
Ability to work well with external regulatory bodies.
Able to lead a wide spectrum of people behaviors.
Able to negotiate contracts well and follow up to ensure
project quality and timeliness.