People Need Maintenance Too!

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Published: 29 June 2016


​Why is it that we can plan and implement effective Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) for RACHP equipment and systems, but we seem to struggle with the concept that ‘People Need Maintenance Too?’
Integral's Industrial Refrigeration Director, Dave Bostock explains the impact that developing their employees has on their business.
​Our most valuable asset, our people, often receive the least proactive (planned, preventative) attention!

I say proactive on purpose, because most RACHP companies have lots of processes and procedures to manage reactive (breakdown) situations when something goes wrong with our people.

A lack of maintenance, whether it is people or equipment will inevitably lead to more breakdowns. It delays the inevitable.

Good service begins with good people

Richard Branson
​At Integral Refrigeration we believe that people need maintenance too.

Whether you are a contractor and service provider, or a product developer and manufacturer; it all starts with people. Without good people we cannot develop good products and make them to a high quality. As a contractor/service provider, where you really only have people as your product; unsurprisingly you cannot provide a good service without good people.

PPM with people is really just investing in their training and development to ensure smooth, efficient, reliable running following an agreed plan. This is Planned, Preventative (Proactive) and Maintaining (Retaining) them.

One service company I know had a rule-of-thumb that equated the cost of replacing a lost Field Service Engineer to one full year’s revenue (revenue and not just salary).

If we can persuade a customer that PPM has long-term financial benefits so it is worth the investment, we should also believe the same is true for our people.

Do it better

​At Integral Refrigeration we aim to recruit, train and develop staff primarily based on the right attitude; those who want to learn and grow. We can teach them all the technical information they need or want to know then guide their real world experiences to add practice to the theory. These behavioural skills are finally being recognised as not only important, but essential to the development of good people. These are the people who can, and want to, grow with us and our customers.

As a leading RACHP organisation we want to be constantly challenging ourselves, our suppliers and our customers to do it better. This is a mission, not just a job.

As a truly independent solution provider, at Integral we are free to choose the optimum system designs and equipment selections to achieve the best result across all capacities and applications. We can choose from all manufacturers and product ranges. This is a powerful advantage for our customers, also a great opportunity for our staff to learn and experience a complete range of refrigerants and technologies.

Developing young people

I spend a lot of time involved with various trade associations and institutes discussing training and development within the RACHP industry and it is quite common for the primary concern to be attracting new, young, bright people.

In recent discussions about new Engineering Technician Trailblazer Apprenticeships, I have discovered that very few apprentices were taken through to Level 3. I was told that ‘we will not be able to retain them, keep them satisfied, or meet their ambitions’. I was a little surprised at this.

To keep customers happy and engaged with us as their provider we need to show not only good service, but continuous improvement. Of course this needs continuous improvement in our own thinking and perhaps being challenged a bit by our juniors!

The strength of our industry lies in the grass roots, customer-facing elements. This is the area, in my opinion, that we need to further develop as a priority and then implement continuous improvement in the form of professional development.

Shaping the RACHP industry

​That is why at Integral we play a proactive role in Industry Trade Associations, Institutions and work groups, and we are currently active as stakeholders in the Engineering Technician and new Higher Level Apprenticeship for Design and Applications Engineers Trailblazer Apprentice Schemes. We also have staff members active in the BESA, BIFM, BRA, ACRIB and IoR to name just a few of the industry bodies we engage with. We want help shape our industry, not just follow. We share the passion and commitment to raising standards and continuous improvement.

In my perfect world everyone who touches or has an influence over the specification, design, installation, commissioning, maintenance and service of RACHP equipment should be a professional. In our industry one definition or measure of professional competence can be registration with the Engineering Council. This measure also embodies the principle of continuous improvement through Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

The learning and the growing should never stop. Job satisfaction and staff retention have been linked to realistic and practical learning and development opportunities. Stretching ourselves just a little on a regular basis keeps us fresh and engaged. CPD is just a structured (Planned) method to ensure that people get sufficient attention (Maintenance), and this ‘People PPM’ provides continuous payback in retaining a company’s investment.

Get involved

​At Integral Refrigeration we encourage and support our people to apply for Engineering Council registration so that we, and this really means them personally, and our customers, can recognise their competence and professionalism – and take pride in it.

Why would bright young people want to join our industry, and what career path can we offer them? Can we show and inspire them to forge a route from apprenticeship to being a senior Director of a £500M business with challenging, rewarding and ultimately satisfying roles all along the way?
"Why would bright young people want to join our industry, and what career path can we offer them?"
Integral logo
We see Integral Refrigeration as a team of professionals with innovative solutions to help you stand out and advance your career.

Personally, I have been on a more than 30 year fantastic journey in our industry along just such a route and, at Integral, I believe I have found a place where anyone with the right attitude and determination will find guidance, encouragement, investment, support and opportunities to blaze their own trail to job satisfaction and professional fulfilment.

Every journey starts with a single step, so if you are looking for something more then contact us and we can search together. At Integral we want to put passion and professional pride back alongside procedures and enjoy the journey refrigeration@integral.co.uk