Tools for Tomorrow’s Maintenance Technicians

The maintenance department and its activities are expected to support business goals and operating strategies. Business leaders see a successful maintenance program as one that delivers returns on investments, supports revenue generation, and complies with industry regulations. These are achieved by proper goal-setting, planning, and performance monitoring at the plant level, departmental level, and individual level.

Maintenance technicians are charged with performing general maintenance on company assets and are responsible for upkeep of a facility. Their goals are centered around keeping assets reliable, accurate and timely completion of assigned work orders, and maintaining a safe environment for all workers. Organizational strategies that enable technicians to perform their functions effectively to meet these goals include training, personnel development programs, and tools.

In a time where technology is rapidly evolving, our ability to learn and adapt to the changing environment and technological tools available to us will determine our relevance at work as individuals and in the marketplace as a business. It is as much the technician’s role as it is management’s role to proactively keep an eye on emerging technologies.

Below are some tools available for tomorrow’s technician categorized in the areas of productivity and safety, technology and software, and education.

Productivity and safety

  1. Klein 32807 MAG 7-in-1 Nut Driver takes your conventional 7-piece nut driver set and packs it into one tool. The presence of rare earth magnets and a spring coil in the tool allow for secure holding of nuts and bolts in place. These features help minimize the amount of tools technicians haul around from job to job.
  2. Just like the 7-in-1 Nut Driver, the Klein 44216 Electrician’s Hybrid Plier Multi-Tool minimizes tool handling and transportation. This all-in-one incorporates the seven most-used functions an electrician needs.
  3. Little Giant HyperLite SumoStance Ladder has a leveling outrigger system that more than doubles the ladders base width. From its highly visible green color to its side-to-side bubble level and front and back angle indicator, the ladder’s intuitive features help ensure a safe and stable setup for any job.
  4. Milwaukee heated gloves and jackets use either battery technology or USB charging to generate heat. This gear eliminates the need for bulky layers of clothing in the toughest cold weather conditions.

Technology and software

  1. Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) maintains a database of information about an organization’s maintenance operations. CMMS provides a centralized source for things like maintenance activities, scheduling, tooling inventory, and others to enable more efficient task completion. Available CMMS options are designed to cater to different business needs like simple task tracking, mobile accessibility of information, data analysis, and KPI dashboards. UpKeep is a mobile-first platform that enables technicians to be more agile and maintenance teams to more productive.
  2. Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of of devices such as software, environmental monitoring sensors, and vibrations sensors that allow these devices to connect and interact with each other. Think of IoT as the human brain which sensory organs transmit information to for processing and self-regulation to maintain balance. IoT plays a significant role in predictive maintenance but it is perhaps the most complex of current available technologies with its heavy requirement for sensing devices, sophisticated programming, and infrastructure to support potentially massive amounts of data.
  3. Drones bring tremendous opportunities to improve efficiency and reduce workplace accidents. These unmanned vehicles can be used for the exterior inspection of facilities and specially rooftops, eliminating the need for workers to climb ladders with all the equipment they need to conduct their work.

Education and Training

  1. Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application intended for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of educational courses, specific trade training programs, or learning and development programs. Technicians can access information directly from training companies like TPC Training or industry service providers like us that have our own learning center resource.
  2. Professional Certifications ensure and provide proof of competence of maintenance workers. It is through these programs that skills and knowledge are measured. In some cases, certificates for specialized training result in increased demand and income. Organizations also benefit from having technicians certified. Some examples of certifications for maintenance workers are:
    • CMRT - Certified Maintenance and Reliability Technician assesses the knowledge and skills for those responsible for preventive, predictive, and corrective maintenance
    • CAMT - Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technicians validates the wide array of knowledge and skills required to maintain a residential building and interact with residents, contractors, and vendors
    • CBO - Certified Building Operator validates the skills and knowledge of facility personnel to handle HVAC and electrical systems, lighting, environmental regulations and code compliance