Managed Downtime As A Profit Center

by Robert Ober, CEO & Principal, Robert Ober & Associates, LLC


Preventative maintenance and scheduled-managed-downtime, are terms that the Frac Sand industry hasn’t necessarily had time to define for itself during the last few years. While such terminology is commonplace in many production/manufacturing settings, the Frac Sand niche, especially in terminal operation and transload facilities is severely lacking. World-class maintenance befits a world-class operation. Much like this, and the adage: it takes high-performance machinery to produce a high-performance product; the Frac Sand industry needs to apply these to its production and distribution operations to discover the hidden profit potential that a world-class maintenance program can provide.

All machinery fails–sooner or later. Be it aircraft or a belt conveyor, all machines have a finite life. Understanding this is the key to managing downtime, or as some prefer: qualifying uptime. To an aircraft operator it is a matter of life and death, and so the predisposition is one of planned downtime and managed flight time, with zero errors to afford guaranteed uptime–everyone seems to get this. But for a terminal or transloading operator, the vision is not always clear where managed uptime is concerned–“run it until it breaks” is often the modus operandi.

To a manufacturer and/or distributor of a product sold by the ton, the investor or owner needs to qualify their costs. Downtime is a huge cost that should be managed and budgeted for–since everything breaks, know what it is that needs to be repaired before it actually does break. Scheduling of real knowledgeable inspections, and development of exchange, rotation, and renewal of wearing parts and machinery pieces is like a separate profit center. Unscheduled downtime is the nemesis of any production facility. Running around patching and repairing as needed is not a maintenance program—it’s a circus and it wont win you any points with your clientele–or for that matter with your operations personnel either!

Defining a scheduled maintenance program with a professional millwright provider can open up many opportunities for the hidden profits awaiting the Frac Sand terminal or plant operator to reveal themselves in budgets kept and uptime ensured.

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