Diving into the maintenance ecosystem and highlighting talents and opportunities: this is Mobility Work's mission! For this second episode of "Job Fact Sheet", Eric François tells us about his experience, from his early beginnings to his current position as a maintenance manager at Peugeot Japy Technologies, a subsidiary of French material transformation specialist Farinia Group, specialized in automotive equipment. We discussed with him about the particularities of maintenance interventions in a fleet of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines.
Mobility Work: Can you tell us about your background?
I have been working for 24 years in the industry, but I haven’t always worked in the maintenance field strictly speaking. After a degree in industrial maintenance, I got my first job as a repair-man. Thanks to this first experience, I was able to evolve within several teams and functions of the company I was working for at the time.
This is how I joined the Maintenance methods department, where I was in charge of setting up preventive maintenance plans and strategies, coding spare parts, etc. I then moved on to a position of maintenance coordinator and managed a team of ten people.
Later, I joined the methods department as an assistant downstream project manager. At that time there were major infrastructure operations in the factory where I worked: buildings were being destroyed to rebuild others, assembly lines were being changed, etc.
After that I was assigned to the New Works department, responsible for the entire electrical and high-voltage infrastructure of the plant. Then, still within the new works team, I specialized in the masonry infrastructure part.
My career later led me to the General Methods department, where I could work on new vehicle projects. I represented the industrial management on the project team. In other words, I was involved in the industrialization of new vehicles, in the implementation of the operations necessary for the production of the new vehicles.
I then moved on to industrial maintenance as head of a maintenance unit where I managed a team of about twenty people. After that, I became team manager. I then took care of the machining department, the coating department, the general maintenance of the site, as well as New Works.
Two months ago, I reached a turning point in my career as I joined the French company Peugeot Japy Technologies as maintenance manager. It is a great opportunity because there is a restructuration to be done.
What does the position of maintenance manager entail?
The first goal of a maintenance manager is to ensure the availability of production means and infrastructure on site, in order to meet our clients’ needs while enforcing safety rules. In this regard, our role is essentially to coordinate maintenance teams but the maintenance manager may also operate with them. On a daily basis, I monitor the organization and planning of industrial maintenance interventions: preventive or curative maintenance, as well as resources management.
However, my role here at Peugeot Japy Technologies is somehow different. The production system on site is divided in “profit centers”: one profit center equals to a workshop dedicated to one given client. Each profit center manages its industrial maintenance interventions independently. As the manager of the General Maintenance department, I am mostly responsible for the infrastructure and the maintenance methods: from the implementation of preventive maintenance programs to spare parts management, to name a few.
What are the qualities of a maintenance manager?
As part of my educational background and my professional experience in industrial maintenance, I was given several trainings on communication and management basics. The natural course of my career led me to the position of maintenance manager that I currently have at Peugeot Japy Technologies; in order to reach this point, I had to learn progressively, to learn “on the job”.
In addition to these trainings in management and communication, I think that a maintenance manager has to demonstrate some natural abilities. According to me, every maintenance manager should be reactive, able to analyze and manage priorities in maintenance, as well as to handle pressure (either from a breakdown at the workshop or else), turnover and employees training.
What are the specificities of a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines fleet?
An increasing number of organizations are turning to Industry 4.0. Computer Numerical Control machines allow them to ensure digital continuity throughout the production chain, and thus meet their will to modernize their industrial production fleet.
In other words, CNC offers a solution to the automation of equipment operations within a production chain. A numerical control is made of one or several microprocessors which allow operators to program the equipment: tool and table axes, tool changing systems, power connection, parts unloading, etc. By controlling the various features of the equipment, we thus are able to adapt the production to our client’s needs.
CNC machines are a true asset for organizations in many ways. First in terms of machining: they facilitate the production of complex patterns - which are difficult to make with traditional manual control - but they also offer greater flexibility in production processes and higher precision in machining. Then, in terms of industrial maintenance, CNC enable operators to gain in efficiency and control several machines at the same time (thanks to the automation of a production unit). Numerical controls are also provided with a digital display through which maintenance technicians can easily analyze the state of the equipment and monitor diagnosis as well as maintenance interventions.
However, it is essential to train maintenance teams so they can learn how to adapt to new technologies and numerical controls, and master their particularities and automatisms.
What challenges do CNC machines present to a maintenance manager?
We have a large fleet of CNC machines at Peugeot Japy Technologies. For the most part, we own machining resources: cylinders, broaching machines, hardening machines, reamers, cambering machine… Our equipment are diverse depending on the task to be performed.
At the general maintenance department, we do not operate on these machines on a daily basis. We have experts in the team whose role is to help the people in the workshop if they face any difficulties during their maintenance operations. The profit centers, which we mentioned earlier, manage breakdowns and maintenance tasks with their respective teams.
We are currently working with service providers who help us deploy preventive maintenance plans and achieve the site's production targets. During the production process, the operator checks the production of parts, the proper functioning of the machine, makes the necessary adjustments to correct any defects and operates manually on the machine, if necessary.
The operator must therefore be able to read and understand plans, know the materials used and their transformation during cutting process, master control tools, know the basics of computer programming (hence the growing need for training), and meet productivity and quality standards.
How do you use CMMS (computerized maintenance management system) tools on a daily basis?
The person in charge of deploying Mobility Work CMMS on our site is a member of my team. I, personally, currently participate in meetings organized in the workshops, during which I ask the production teams to create tasks in Mobility Work CMMS.
In my previous experiences, I was already using a CMMS tool. The adaptation to Mobility Work next-gen CMMS is going well. I think it's a very interesting tool. I especially appreciate the visual aspect of this CMMS; the fact that I can see pictures and drawings of the equipment is very practical when you are new to a site. The same applies to downloading documents from Mobility Work. It's something I wasn’t used to before. It is a real plus to be able to download electrical diagrams or plans, for example, when you are in front of the machine.
To make the most of it, however, it is necessary for everyone to make the best use of it. The production teams has to create a task to report failures, so that the maintenance technicians can create their activities and report their interventions via Mobility Work CMMS. Then, it allows us to track the evolution of failures through the dashboard, analyze Pareto heads (i.e. the first causes of incidents) and work on the machines that have the most issues.
We are currently trying to optimize the use of Mobility Work CMMS and implement a new process to link all spare parts in stock to the machine. But it is a long-term work. For the moment, we are working on adding the documentation linked to the machine, but to move further we would need to add all the spare parts available on the machine. Thus, maintenance technicians who are operating on a piece of equipment would have direct access to it, thanks to the store's item code, and could even supply it directly with Mobility Work CMMS.
With the rise of new technologies, do you think that the industrial maintenance careers will have to evolve in the coming years?
Yes, I think they will. Especially with Industry 4.0. We see things emerging little by little. In my previous company, new technologies were not as present as they are here, at Peugeot Japy Technologies, which is committed to connect equipment in a network. In my opinion, this can lead to an interesting evolution.
Our business will also change and experience an evolution towards complementary skills. I think everyone will have to master the different automatisms, that the maintenance teams will have to have a good knowledge of the networks, which was not their responsibility before, if I am not mistaken.
What advice would you give to young people who wish to follow this path?
I would advise them to take some time to grow their interest, to be curious and to follow different topics.
There is a lot to learn in the field of industrial maintenance, there are many different technologies for those who want to learn. In practice, on the field, when a breakdown occurs, it is necessary to take the time to analyze it, to study and to know the means of production. I find it enriching.
Lastly, I would also advise them to be very interested in new technologies that are the future of our industry.
Thank you to Mr. François for his testimony. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to be notified of our next Job Sheet and find out more on maintenance jobs and experiences!