“’Pinch with pride” is a quote occasionally used in today’s business world. A better way of describing the underlying concept might be “to learn from others while respecting the original source of wisdom”. So what can industry learn from a gardener who gets his hands dirty from working with soil?
Gardening is in essence “plant management”, very similar to managing industrial equipment or machines. There are valuable insights to be had from managing plants in a garden that apply just as much to machines on a shop floor. Why? Because gardeners are experienced in managing constant change. Plants and flowers change every day. If they are not changing, they are most probably dead.
What do gardeners and plant managers have in common?
What do gardeners and plant managers have in common? A particular area of gardening which a factory plant manager should relate to is the time when a plant outgrows its surroundings. If a flower has outgrown its pot, it may grow for a little longer, but will never reach its full potential, and eventually may die once its roots have taken all the nutrients from the soil. A gardener constantly observes the plants in his or her garden and knows when work needs to be done.
Do you manage a plant, or machinery in a factory? The same applies in your case. There will come a point in time when your electrical equipment no longer fits its environment. In order for the machine to “grow” and achieve maximum productivity, action is needed. Of course, regular maintenance is a basic. Think of a gardener walking around regularly to ensure the soil (fundamental to the plant) is watered and checking that there are no pests or other outside forces endangering the plant.
A gardener’s question of timing There comes a point in time when a larger flower pot is needed and new soil. The original pot is too small and all the nutrients have been extracted from the soil. In a similar way, the electrical component on your installation, e.g. motor or drive, needs an upgrade to be “ready for growth”. It is important to determine when change is required and actions have to be taken. Gardeners have a very well-established mode of doing certain tasks at certain times, for example in spring or autumn, or on a rainy day. The seasons and weather are a guide and compass to determine which activities to pursue. Are you scheduling to stop production for a short time? Perhaps you are reducing capacity due to a slow-down in business? Perfect time for a change and retrofit. A more specific timing recommendation is directly related to your equipment. If your supplier has announced the discontinuation of one of the electrical components used, it is time to put on your boots and gardening gloves: time for some serious gardening at your plant.
A gardener’s satisfaction There is a final lesson to be learnt from a gardener’s work. After a plant has gone through the upheaval of being taken out of the familiar soil and pot, the plant draws strength from the new soil. The bigger pot allows the roots to expand beyond the previously familiar space. A gardener sees the fruit of his work when the plant grows and increases in beauty. When you are managing a machine or industrial plant, you will share a satisfaction like the one a gardener experiences. Making changes to existing equipment, upgrading and updating to latest technology will bear the fruit of increased productivity, advanced and new features, as well as an increase in the lifetime for the machine.
A gardener‘s recommendation
- Know which machine or equipment no longer fits its pot and where all nutrients have been extracted from the soil.
- Evaluate the seasons and environmental conditions to plan the timing for change
- For a short time, accept a bit of a mess in your garden and shed. A controlled level of disruption is essential to achieving improvements.
- Then, sit back and enjoy watching your revitalised plant grow your business. Perhaps you have even added digitalisation and can monitor the progress on your smart phone, while having a cup of coffee at the airport.
If you run a plant with electrical drives and motors, then put on your gardening hat and start thinking about your plan actions. Read the recommendations from your electrical parts manufacturer like Siemens on retrofit from MASTERDRIVES or MICROMASTER to SINAMICS.