28 Oct 2019

Maintec Quick Fire Questions... with Louis Tuttle

  • What do you love about engineering? 

I’m not an Engineer but have been working in the sector for over 20 years. I believe - Problem Solving: An Engineer’s role typically involves building something to resolve an issue – a system or something physical 

  • How did you get into the sector?

I ended up working for a Large Engineering Concern, and have remained in the sector ever since.

  • What was your first job? 

Working for a Statistical Software company as a Consultant. 

  • What is the biggest challenge for the UK’s engineering industry?

Remaining relevant in a competitive environment where global reach means traditional barriers are eroded either by cost or by imitation. 

  • What do you think is going to make the most impact on the UK engineering industry over the next five years?

Obviously charting a new direction in terms of future economic relationships. How can the UK create something unique that’s valuable worldwide; Does that innovation come from engineering or another sector that provides a competitive advantage as well as building a knowledge base that can’t be eroded by a cheaper economy.   

  • What’s your one piece of advice you would give to young people who might be considering engineering as a career?

Ask themselves one question - Do you like problem-solving? 

  • What do you think is the biggest ‘knowledge gap’ in the industry? 

There are lots of disruptive technologies impacting on traditional industry. It’s imperative to understand how technology can help or hurt your business or industry. Also, managing global opinions and trends such as the negative publicity in the plastics industry for example. How do you innovate here? Or the impact of AI – How do humans remain valuable?  

  • What do you see as the key trend in the maintenance arena?

Integrating machinery into systems like your Maintenance application to create a holistic view of performance. The ease of integration, the spread of Wifi and the requirement to visualise data and understand what’s happening is driving IOT and Industry 4.0 innovations. 

  • What do you see as the biggest challenge(s) facing the maintenance function? 

Having a seat at the senior table, providing valuable input into creating a sustainable competitive advantage and supporting innovation in the organisation. It’s not about fixing equipment but specifying what equipment should have been purchased to begin with.  It’s not about being reactive. It’s about leveraging data to provide predictive intelligence, eradicating recurring problems and impacting on efficiency and cost. 

  • Do you think the SME community is lagging behind blue-chip companies in its approach to maintenance; if so, how would you aim to remedy this?

Unfortunately yes. 

Larger companies can afford to spend more money on on-going training and they are more likely to be implementing best practice. They can fund investment in new equipment so their productivity per employee will be higher. Where they are weaker is their ability to be agile, to pivot and change.  So while large companies seek Economies of Scale by standardising, SME’s need to think Economies of scope. 

Knowledge transfer or the ability to experiment and learn will keep SME relevant, whether it’s servicing a certain customer segment that values fast turnaround time or the level of customisation offered. 

Thank you to Louis for taking part in our Quick Fire Series. Don't miss at his session  on Wednesday 30th October at Maintec 2019 and visit PEMAC on stand 124 to find out more about their latest technology and services. 

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