15 Oct 2018

Be prepared!

Michelle Bulless Site Planning Engineer

If you were ever a Brownie, Guide, Scout or Beaver, you’ll be familiar with the motto from Baden Powell – be prepared!

How true this is! I’m sure we’ve all been in situations where we could have been more prepared or where we’ve thought to ourselves this wasn’t planned very well.

As a Unit Helper at 1st Crosby Rainbows in Scunthorpe, it’s important for us to be prepared each week with fun activities that are educational, enjoyable, cost effective and achievable with 5 to 6 year-old girls. If we’re not prepared we’d have a night of either chaos or bored young girls who wouldn’t want to come back.

Each term, we set a plan. Then we need to think through each activity in detail and consider the following:

  • What are the steps involved to complete the activity/badge?
  • What materials do we need?
  • How long will it take? (We only meet for an hour)
  • If it’s glue/paint, will it dry in time?
  • Are they likely to do something similar at school?
  • How much will it cost? (We have limited funds)
  • Which leader is responsible for preparing each element?

Is this any different to when we’re planning an engineering task at work?

Planning is more than just a list of jobs for the week and keeping records up-to-date. Planning is about ensuring we’re prepared to execute our work as efficiently as possible and that we utilise the resources available to us in the most cost-effective way.

When planning an engineering task, the approach is like what I’ve described above, only the questions will differ depending on the task and location. Here are some examples of what you might consider when planning a task:

  • What are the risks involved?
  • What safety control measures do we need to put in place?
  • What is the full scope of the task?
  • How would the task be executed? What are the steps involved?
  • Who would do the task? How long would it take them?
  • What materials are required?
  • Will any additional services be required? Scaffolding, hire, labour etc?
  • Will some production downtime be required to execute this task?
  • When is it expected this task will be completed by?

Our engineering teams execute hundreds of jobs every week; some of these have been done before, some haven’t. However, all engineering tasks come at a cost to the business so planning them well to prevent added disruption to our organisation or wasted resources can only bring positive results and ensure engineering productivity is at its best.

Every week we need to have a schedule of engineering work that’s achievable. Therefore, all tasks on that schedule should be planned and ready to go! It’s understood everything doesn’t always go to plan, life is just not like that. However, it’s better to at least have a plan to begin with than to have no plan at all. Even better have a Plan A and a Plan B!

As Site Planning Engineer, my role is to help the engineering teams across site plan their work, this could be day-to-day maintenance or outages. In addition, I need to understand the business operating model to identify potential changes that would allow us to plan maintenance better and maximise our resources. It’s also part of my role to ensure our agreements with key contractors allow us to execute our maintenance in the most efficient and cost-effective way.

To conclude, and a reminder to everyone, being efficient helps us make best use of our resources, we can all contribute to this, therefore – Be Prepared!

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