51 highly motivated participants made fourth edition WCM Summer School a great success

Early august 2015, a group of over 50 young professionals followed the five-day program of the fourth edition of the WCM Summer School of which the program is composed by professors from seven Dutch universities. Glenn Ackermans, maintenance engineer at Sabic, looks back on an inspiring edition: “Participating in this summer school has taught me that maintenance is needed everywhere and is becoming increasingly important. Dutch installations are generally quite old and should last longer. Innovative maintenance involving multiple disciplines that work together is therefore a must.” 

Multidisciplinary character of maintenance

Ackermans says: “The first two days I thought I was in the wrong place. There were colleagues from different technical disciplines present, not all maintenance engineers. From the second day I worked with my group on the business case NedTrain had provided. I found out that we actually all had the same issues at work and that we could all make a valuable contribution to the solution. That was the moment I realized the value of the Summer School.” NedTrain provided a case on a smooth introduction of new trains. NS is working on large-scale modernization of the existing fleet. In the coming years the double-decker will be fully modernized, 118 new Sprinters will be introduced and also NS is working on new intercity trains. Cock Liefting, NedTrain: “We want to smoothly introduce all the new trains. So all phases of the journey between purchases until delivery and drive trains are to be seamlessly connected. We call this a smooth introduction.”

Mix of maintainability, data monitoring and communication

The group Ackermans wins the prize for the best case solution with an approach in which three teams are needed: a maintainability team, a data-monitoring team and a communications team. All three are evenly important for a smooth introduction of new trains according Ackermans. “When dealing with these three teams we see three important key points: communication and training, data management and the dedication and commitment of all levels within an organization. We were trying to look a lot broader than the technologic aspects such as having your spares in place. That makes maintenance as a profession really interesting, maintenance is always part of a greater whole. But very important, after all, an investment in an installation that cannot be maintained, it is a lost investment.” Leo van Dongen, NedTrain, adds to this: “In several cases solutions I see maintenance is not just about technology but also about processes, human factors and communications. That made the solutions very valuable to us. “ 

New Challenge for a next edition?

Young professional Ackermans thinks the aging of assets is the biggest challenge for the maintenance sector in the coming years. He is not talking about the knowledge in education, but “I mean the experience, the common sense that evolves in working years, I see this experience leaking away. There is not automatically room within organizations to handle this. While we as youths can learn a lot from experienced maintenance engineers. Maybe this is a good idea for the WCM Summer school next year?


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