Episode 31: Helping and Sharing to Support Those on Their Maintenance and Reliability Journey with Andy Gailey
On this week’s episode of Masterminds in Maintenance, we have Andy Gailey on the show! Andy shares with us his journey in the maintenance and reliability industry, as well as how he helps and support those on their own journey in the same industry. Andy and Ryan also discuss how COVID-19 will change the course of the maintenance world, the use of IoT during these times, and more! Listen today!
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00:06 Ryan Chan: Welcome to Masterminds in Maintenance, a podcast for those with new ideas in maintenance. I’m your host Ryan. I’m the CEO and founder of UpKeep. Each week, I’ll be meeting with a guest who’s had an idea for how to shake things up in the maintenance and reliability industry. Sometimes the idea failed, sometimes it made their business more successful, and other times, their idea revolutionized an entire industry. Today I’m super excited, we’ve got Andy Gailey here on the show. Andy Gailey is a mechanical production engineer by trade. He started his career in aerospace, and then automotive, before working in the food and beverage sector through PepsiCo. Big company. [chuckle] Now, Andy is the founding director of Uptime Consultant, a reliability consultancy focused on helping clients increase their uptime with proven productivity strategies. He formed Uptime Consultant in 2015 to share his 40 years of experience with clients, including Nissan, National Grid, Severn Trent, PepsiCo, and more. Welcome Andy to the show.
01:02 Andy Gailey: Thanks very much. Thanks for having us Ryan, and UpKeep.
01:05 RC: The way that I love to start this off, could you start us off by sharing a little bit more about yourself and your background?
01:12 AG: Yeah, yeah. So I always start with I was quite fortunate as a child, because by the time I was about seven, I knew I wanted to be an engineer. I think I’m fortunate I’m in the generation that grew up with Lego and Meccano as probably the only things we had to play with. There’s so many choices now. I would think even at secondary school, by the time I was 11 or 12, I was focused on achieving enough for me to get a four year apprenticeship in mechanical engineering. And then I got an offer to go into a motor sport company, again in prototypes. So they were four wheel drive, and they were doing things like world rally championship winning cars with Audi and Lancia and Ford Motor Sports.
02:03 AG: Five years ago, PepsiCo had this thing where they do shed workforce on a global scale, and they were looking for people to leave the business. And I’d been there nearly 21 years. My partner Jenny, had been there 18 years. She was a technical operator. And we both got out with a parachute of a redundancy package, that enabled me to carry out the plan that I’d had for a few years, of forming my own engineering reliability consultancy. And what I wanted to do, I wanted to take a holistic approach. So yeah, that’s where we are now. So we’re still surviving, and we’ve got some really good clients. Re-engaged 18 months ago now with PepsiCo R&D, globally. So I help them and run their criticality process here in the UK. And I’ve also been out to Mexico last year for a week to help the Monterrey people.
03:05 RC: Alright.
03:06 AG: Yeah.
03:07 RC: Well, cool. What an amazing story. What an amazing journey that you’ve had Andy throughout… It sounds like starting your journey at five, six years old, counting cars that pass through you on the highway. I would love to dig in a little bit deeper, and really how and why you got started, and why you chose the maintenance and reliability small little niche? [chuckle]
03:32 AG: Yeah, well, I think a lot of people say this, I kind of fell into it. So I’m always at heart, and I’ll always will be, I’m a mechanical production engineer. When I went to PepsiCo, it was kind of a big shift in what I was gonna do, because they said, “Well, we wanna take your skills and we want you to be a commissioning engineer.” ‘Cause we had an empty factory, and one line had been installed, and they said, “In two years time, there’s gonna be four platforms. And in six years time, there’s gonna be seven platforms.” So, there was a plan put in place where we were gonna introduce some proactive and predictive stuff. And I had the engineering and the maintenance manager approach me and say, “We think you would be the best guy to invent the lubrication and condition monitoring strategy. Get on with it.”
04:26 AG: And PepsiCo’s a really good place to broaden your horizons in being challenged, going outside of your comfort zone, being allowed to fail and to learn and to reinvent something and get the best out of it. So, I spent about three months inventing what I thought would be a good predictive and lubrication strategy, then I screwed it up and threw it in the bin and started again. And at that time I started… So that was in 2006, I started to pick up books and articles, and started to really drill down. That’s when I first heard about RCM. So I didn’t know about reliability centered maintenance. I hate reactive work, and so that the maintenance technician label I had on me always felt uncomfortable, because my colleagues like to fix things, and I hated it. So my production engineering background said, “We can stop this. We need to find a methodology where we can put all these things to bed.” Yeah, I fell into it, and I enjoy it so much because I’m always learning.
05:44 RC: Absolutely.
05:44 AG: You don’t stop learning.
05:47 RC: Well, I’m glad that you did fall into this wonderful world of maintenance and reliability, Andy. The world has learned so much through a lot of the things that you’ve done, especially with Uptime Consulting. Obviously you created this consulting group and what I’ve also noticed that you did was, you created Uptime Academy, which is especially a big resource that I think a lot of people could use during this time with the Coronavirus Pandemic. Would love to just learn a little bit more about what Uptime Academy is. What it is that you teach? And also why you decided to make it completely free as well?
06:28 AG: Yes, Uptime Consultant Academy is a registered trademark here in the UK. So, what I decided, part of the plan that I had five years ago was, the idea this is a lifestyle business. So what I do is, I talk about money as a lubricant. So if you have enough money in life things slide along really nice. You have too much, you slip all over the place. You don’t have enough it’s sticky, so you get stuck. So the idea was to drive our lifestyle but not go and make a million pounds or dollars. But part of that was, was to go more digital online, and the reason that is the business model I have, it being called Uptime Consultant with no “S”, singular, means it’s me. So if anybody employs Uptime Consultant to go do work for them, you get me. You get my input, my experience. I don’t outsource it. So I need to leverage what I did. I needed to duplicate some of what I was offering. Within months of starting the business I was getting people from Asia and Africa, and Australia, and the Middle East send me emails and say, “Can you come and do two or three-day course in Dubai,” or whatever. And the one thing I value above everything else is time.
07:56 RC: Yeah.
07:57 AG: It’s the one resource I can’t buy. I was diplomatic and I had say to him, “Look, I’m not going to because two or three days training takes me seven days to travel here and there. And it takes me away from my client base in the UK.” So the only way I could do it was by digitizing it, by going on an online platform. And I searched around for the last two years and I couldn’t find anything that was… They were are all too big and they were full-time platforms, and they cost thousands of dollars to even interact with. And there were pieces missing that I didn’t like. And then about a year ago, I came across Thinkific which is a Canadian-based application company. And they have a front-end dashboard. They have a really intuitive way of building their short course. And also the interface between the person taking the course and the content is really intuitive and good. So I started last February, or probably about a year ago, I started writing some of the things I was already sharing with my clients into courses that I could put out that would be based on an hour long, so they’d be short and they’d be segmented into five-minute pieces.
09:21 AG: It was based on nothing you find in books. So I didn’t want to regurgitate other people’s books or IP or any of that. I wanted to take what I learned and said, “Well, at least if you take some of these tips it will give you a shortcut”. Because I had to spend a lot of time try and reinvent the wheel type of thing. Just about generating. And it’s nothing at all about, “I’m not interested in money,” which people find funny. But I’m not interested in making money out of any of that. It’s all about giving.
10:00 RC: That’s awesome Andy. Yeah, no, I really appreciate the generosity in the way that you approach your business, where it really comes from a place of wanting to help others. I love the idea of taking all the material that you’ve created and basically giving it away for free. I think that’s a great, great resource to all of our listeners. I’m curious as well. Did a specific person or an event inspire you to help others this way? Was there a specific moment, a specific memory that helped you… That helped keep you on track to say, “This is my purpose and this is why I do the things that I do?”
10:38 AG: I kind of thought about it a bit and I didn’t have to think about it very long. And the person is called Joe Strummer. So he was a lead singer of The Clash. Again, I grew up in a time that was really great for a 15, 16-year-old because we had a whole wave of new music that was mainly based in the UK. And The Clash then were probably the only band that mattered to me, and probably still are. Their politics and their sense of one worldliness and giving was something that resonated with me. And so I always kind of quote some people there’s a thing that Joe Strummer says about, “Without people you’re nothing.” And it’s a part of a kind of a two-minute kind of speech you can find on YouTube by Joe Strummer that lets you understand that it’s the humanity that matters.
11:31 AG: When I started this business up, these kind of networking events where you’re thinking about joining or making a business, you don’t know whether the idea is gonna work, I went and I networked with some people. And there was one particular guy who had a marketing and branding company. He said to me very generously, he said, “Come and visit me in my office. I’ll give you a couple of hours and we’ll sit down and you can tell me about your business, what you’re gonna do. And I’ll critique it if you want, I’ll give you some feedback.” So I went over to his office out in the countryside and it was the first time I’d pitched. That was it. It was the first time I’d gone, “Right. This is what I’m gonna give you”. And he sat back and he said, “I think you’ve got something. You’ve got something that I think will resonate and I think the way you approach it you sound… You sounded… ” He said, “You sound guru like”. I said, “Well, I’m really switched on by this.” So it’s not like, there’s nobody forcing me to do it.
12:35 RC: Was something really important during this time, to switch gears a little bit is, obviously almost every single industry is being impacted by the coronavirus. I guess the question here is how do you think the maintenance and reliability world is gonna change? Do you think that there’s gonna be more interest with IoT 4.0, Industry 4.0 technologies? And where do you see technology going post this whole COVID-19 disease?
12:41 AG: It’s gonna be very, very interesting because if this… The speculation obviously about the longevity of this, whether it lasts months or whether it lasts a year, I have a feeling it’s gonna last 12 months or more. And then we’re not gonna be out of the woods even then. We’re gonna have lockdowns of certain types that will go on probably for a few years. So that being the case, if you think about assets we’ve just seen on the television yesterday, British Airways grounded their fleet, and photographs drone footage of the fleet grounded at Heathrow and Gatwick. And around the world this is happening to fleet in the aero industry. So straight away you go, well me as an engineer, I’ll go, “These things are meant to fly. They’re built to fly. Assets are built to run, they’re built to be used.” And degradation takes place when you put things in mothballs. So I think at the moment I would say to… If there’s engineers in that position that have got major assets they may have to mothball.
14:17 AG: You should be looking really deeply on how you’re going to preserve those assets in a fit state to bring them back online. Cause it could be six or 12 months. So there’s gonna have to be a bit of a switch in mindset towards the continuous maintenance practices to what happens when we have to shut this down for months or a year and then make sure it’ll work when we bring it back up. Car factories are gonna be really heavily hit by this. In the food sector, some of friends in the food sector and the Dorito factory is just down the road from where I live, they are full speed ahead. They are ramping up still.
15:00 RC: So how do you feel like the industry 4.0 relates to some of the industries that are getting hit hard and some of the industries that are booming right now?
15:10 AG: A year ago if I’d have mentioned industry fall they’d have been blank and they wouldn’t wanna enter the conversation. Now they’re entering the conversation. So all of a sudden now they’re saying, “Well hang on a minute.” We’ve got the demographic bubble of the end of the boomer generation. There’s less people in the workforce. These guys are leaving on mass and technology is gonna be the only thing we’re gonna fill the hole with, cause there aren’t any people. So now these companies, I wouldn’t have even talked about it three or four years ago are interested. All of a sudden they’re going, “Well yeah, well maybe a cloud based platform that does CMS works now for us.” Tragically this pandemic, I think we may look back and see this as the trigger that accelerated industry fall.
16:03 RC: Yeah.
16:04 AG: We’ve had periods, and if you look at the periods in the past, we came out of two world wars 1918, we had automation boomed out of that world war. We came out of 1945 and we had transistors, solid state systems, computerization, radar. There was technologies that were generated by global conflict. I think that the industry for connected technologies will be accelerated by this global pandemic.
16:34 RC: Yeah, no I definitely agree. I think that difficult times like these are, like you mentioned the catalyst for a lot of change in a positive way that comes out of something very negative actually. So I’m hopeful. I’m glad that we see that there is a positive at the end of this tunnel, once we get there, which we will. So Andy, I’m also curious, you’ve been in the industry over 40 years. You’ve seen some of the most difficult times and also you’ve seen some industries that are absolutely booming right now, like PepsiCo and food and beverage. I’m curious, as you look back, what’s one thing that you wish more people knew about in the maintenance and reliability industry?
17:19 AG: Yeah, well this is really easy to answer this one. So for a start, operations. We need to talk to operations people more. So if we sit in a maintenance department or engineering department, it’s almost like yin and yang. You’ve got operations and engineering seen here and here, and never the two shall come together. Well, we need to share with operations that we enable their productivity. We, as maintenance and engineering, we’re enabling the OE.
17:52 RC: Andy, I’ve learned so much through this short conversation with you and I’m sure there’s still so much that we could also continue to learn from you and your experiences and your journey. Can you share with our listeners a few ways that they can connect with you and continue learning from you and watch you on your journey as well?
18:10 AG: Yeah. Well, obviously I have a website called uptime consultant. So that’s www.uptimeconsultant.co.uk. So it’s got a UK name on it. You’ll find a call to action button on there on the front page if you wanna go to uptime consultant Academy, it’ll take you directly to the Thinkific site in the front page. If you wanna go and have a look at YouTube, we’ve got a YouTube channel that I’ve just started to look after and populate with some videos. If you don’t feel you wanna sign up to the Academy straight away, if you go to YouTube, there’s some introductory videos there. You can see, Cole Shudra, it is what he says it is. So yeah, those are the kinds of things you can do. My LinkedIn profile, I’m very active on LinkedIn and so I’m sure people can go and find me at just Andy Gailey, or look for Uptime Consultant. And I share my email freely. So again, it’s [email protected] And anybody can come and have a chat.
19:22 RC: Alright. Well, thank you so much Andy for joining us. Thank you to all of our listeners for tuning into today’s Masterminds of Maintenance. My name is Ryan Chan, I’m the CEO and founder of UpKeep. You can also connect with me. I’m very active on LinkedIn, or you can also email me directly at [email protected] Until next time, thanks again Andy.
19:31 AG: Cheers, see you again.