Today’s Industry Person of the Week is Andy Gailey, founding Director of UPTIME Consultant Ltd®.
Q: How did you get started working in your field?
Andy: I’m a Mechanical Production Engineer, apprentice indentured when I left school at sixteen. My first twenty years were spent in prototype environments machining everything from Gas Turbines, Motorsport Transmissions, Submarines, along with jigs, fixtures and tools used in press shops. In the mid 1990s I applied for a position that asked for ‘Time Served Engineers’ that were up for a new challenge!
During the three month selection process we all speculated if it would be Automotive or Aerospace, the two main industries my hometown of Coventry is known for worldwide.
It turned out to be the first PepsiCo Doritos Plant in the UK (it still is) we spent the next few years transferring our manufacturing skills to become installation, production and maintenance engineers. In the mid 2000’s the growth had been rapid, like many plants the unplanned downtime was becoming a big problem, the Maintenance and Engineering managers were open to change and asked me to set up a Condition Monitoring and Lubrication strategy.
PepsiCo is good at giving room for trial and succeed (not fail!) so I came up with a plan, developed it and had a part in turning the conversation around from major disruptive interventions to low single digits of unplanned events.
That was my introduction to reliability and asset care, I spent the next nine years refining the strategy.
Q: What do you love the most about your job, and what are you most proud of?
Andy: I had the opportunity in 2015 of starting my very own company, I had planned this for some time so it felt great when I formed the entity at UK Companies House, business wise the company has been built with minimal outside help is what I’m most proud of, although I would never describe myself as “proud”! It’s been an interesting journey from the formative years of struggle to having customers that now search me out through recommendation. I’m fortunate I don’t have to ‘work’ everyday so I put time aside to think about and connect with people across industry to develop the next steps in proactive, predictive, maintenance, strategy, those interactions and writing about those ideas is what I love the most, it’s the people part, especially when I see the ‘penny drop’ sharing a different way of looking at asset care and maintenance.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
Andy: Perseverance is a good attribute, if you are an evangelist in this area as I am you will get push back, tenacious is also a good word.
I spent nine years carrying out manual inspections of different Snack Food platforms, that can be tedious when you are constantly inspecting your ‘babies’ to identify future problems.
Whilst I was doing this I would constantly study other business models, read books on the aspects, taught myself thermography, reached out, and engaged with other professionals, if I had my time again I would’ve done more of it.
If you’re not involved yet then start thinking deeply about your assets, use an evidence-based approach to identify what works, and more importantly what doesn’t.
Asking Why? is what engineers do, if you are involved in Condition Monitoring or Predictive techniques then times this by ten, driving to the root cause to identify the benefit is very important. Oh, and get in touch with me, many have via LinkedIn, I’m open to a conversation and always share the truth. It’s not easy, if anyone says it is they are either lying or never tried it themselves!
Q: Can you talk about a project you recently worked on?
Andy: Not any recent ones due to existing NDAs. I can talk about Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK, they’ve been a repeat client for the past 3-4 years. A superintendent manager at Nissan reached out via LinkedIn, we exchanged a few messages about how to monitor a reciprocating drop lift that had some interesting challenges.
I thought of a way to help but it was difficult for him to financially justify, until I suggested I could train his Maintenance Technicians for a day, then work on the application as an added extra for ‘free’. This worked out because he had a training budget but no consultant budget, I took six of his team, trained them in Condition Monitoring techniques, introducing Vibration, Ultrasound, Thermal Imaging, Acoustic Emission and Tribology.
During that first days training they told me about a new ‘Predictive’ platform that I had heard of but not yet seen, we spent an hour at the end of the session walking around the dashboard with them sharing some of their concerns, which were valid, as engineers they were coming up with different solutions already.
I took this away and arranged a visit with the software platform provider, we agreed we had a synergy, I could support their platform on subsequent visits and Nissan’s Technicians would feel more ownership as they had been heard, some of the feedback was integrated into subsequent versions of the dashboard.
We have to remind ourselves that technology does not operate in a vacuum, it’s built by people for other people to make their lives easier… if it gets in the way, or doesn’t deliver a great user experience then that’s a barrier to adoption.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
Andy: Well I couldn’t do what I do at UPTIME Consultant without my co-director and partner Jen, she’s also a PepsiCo veteran of eighteen years as a technical operator, we get to work together occasionally on the front line as we handle some of PepsiCo’s inventory management within global R&D sites. She’s an excellent sounding board for business decisions and keeps the finances in check, we are able to move fast because if you chose us you get us, there’s a reason for the ‘Consultant’ not having an ’s’ on the end!
Finally many thanks for selecting me as your ‘Industry Person of the Week’ it’s been cathartic to think about and answer your questions.
I would like to end with my favorite quote from Joe Strummer that I always keep in mind.. “Without people you’re nothing.. that’s my spiel”
THANK YOU, ANDY! WE LOOK FORWARD TO KEEPING UP WITH YOU THROUGH THE #PUMPTALK COMMUNITY!
KNOW AN AMAZING PERSON WHO IS MAKING VALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS WITHIN INDUSTRY? NOMINATE THEM TO BE AN “INDUSTRY PERSON OF THE WEEK”!