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Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz, June 12, 2012

Early last year, the new CEO initiated a cost-cutting program

Early last year, the new CEO initiated a cost-cutting program. With across-the-board cuts, your (large) maintenance department lost eight people and had to reduce maintenance work. The CEO received a nice bonus for last year, but it's not looking so good for him now. Downtime numbers and repair costs are up, while revenue numbers are down.

Your plant manager will be having a lunch with the CEO three weeks hence and asked for data supporting the restoration of four of those lost jobs. You counter-proposed restoring the number of jobs that will restore the uptime and revenue.

Where do you begin your analysis?

First, identify the changes arising from staffing deductions. Typical "suspended/deferred" victims include:

  • Cable testing. Consequences: "surprise" cable failures; energy waste.
  • Infrared testing. Consequences: loose connections and power quality problems; failures of connections, conductors, transformers, and motors.
  • Lubrication. Consequences: failures in bearings, gear assemblies, and motors; energy waste.
  • Breaker maintenance. Consequences range from nuisance trips to catastrophic loss due to not tripping on fault.

Next, identify the personnel requirements for putting that work back on the regular schedule. Then look for other holes in maintenance and submit a solid downtime prevention plan.


  • Quantify the previous failures in terms of lost revenue and dollars "saved" by skipping the necessary maintenance. Include this as background information.
  • Identify the maintenance tasks that cost-effectively protect uptime, regardless of previous consequences. Otherwise, you'll still get failures and lose those jobs you just worked hard to restore.
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