bEst PracticEs Mike Johnson / Contributing Editor The human element: labor and skills management key concePTs • Too often plant labor divides its time between working part-time on mechanical repairs/inspections and part-time on lubrication activities. • In this scenario, the tyranny of the urgent supplants the value of the important, and lubrication tasks go unattended. • The solution is hiring a full-time lube tech with the right combination of general business and communication skills plus an aptitude to develop lubrication-specifi c knowledge. Why it’s well worth the investment to hire dedicated lubrication personnel. HOw Many tiMEs HavE yOu sEEn a cOMPany MissiOn statEMEnt proclaiming that its most important asset is its people? Of course, that’s not entirely true. A manufacturing company’s most important asset is its productive capacity. That derives from a combination of people, machines and infrastructure. Peo-ple are a part but only a part. That notwithstanding, certainly people are im-portant. In the machine reliability world, one of the most important groups of people is also one of the most overlooked. Carl P. Owens, Jr., a former boss and exceptional mentor, used to tell his audience during training activities that the most important person in the man-ufacturing plant was the oiler, now referred to as the lube tech. Not the me-chanic. Not the maintenance manager (who was typically paying for the train-20 Reserve booth space: Exhibit booth application forms available for STLE’s 2012 annual meeting in St. Louis. Details at www.stle.org.