AKWIRE for Maximo User Group

What If Your CMMS Scheduling Software Was As Functional As Your Smartphone?

by Mariah Patterson on October 13, 2016

Jeremy Vossen knows a thing or two about managing a busy life, balancing work with a home life two hours away, while also helping his son and daughter achieve their dreams.

A facilities supervisor with DTE Energy in East China, Michigan, Jeremy knew he was in for some long hours on the road when he fell in love with his wife, Becky. “We met 10 years ago and she lived an hour and a half away from where I was working at the time,” he recalled. “So instead of taking the kids out of school to move them closer, we decided I would commute.”

Jeremy began his tenure with DTE Energy as a power plant operator and stationary engineer. Later transitioning into a work management role in maintenance where he was working with IBM Maximo software to develop the maintenance and planning schedule.More recently, he took on the role of facilities supervisor and the change in responsibilities became apparent almost immediately. “When I currently got my position, a lot of the PMs and routines hadn’t been getting done,” he said.

New opportunities bring new challenges

JeremyVoosen.jpgUndaunted, he started to get a feel for what he would need to take care of immediately, he decided that one step was to make sure all the furnaces were running before winter and had his team begin inspections. Nine of the major furnaces—4 ½ million BTU units—had failures in the heat exchangers. With the failures of the 4 ½ million BTU units, Jeremy knew his work was cut out for him.

He and his team worked to get temporary units up and running, and a capital project was initiated but wasn’t completed when, in August, a fire broke out in one of the plants and it caused extensive damage throughout the power plant. Since then they have been able to get one of the six units in the plant up and running and are in the process of getting the cranes, elevators and air conditioners in the other ones repaired.

Amazingly (and with the help of energy drinks) he has maintained a positive attitude. “You can always get through it. Nothing’s a complete failure.”

With the long commute home, he has opted to stay at a hotel during the work week, allowing him to pull an average of 100-hour weeks after the fire.

Balancing the long days is his desire to be home with his family as much as possible. His son, Scott, is studying  Criminal Justice in college and his daughter, Carlee, is a senior in high school. “She is heavily into softball,” he said. “And I don’t miss one event.”

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During one recent weekend, Carlee’s team played in Chicago and Jeremy took the weekend off from work to see her play. At the end of the weekend, they returned home past midnight and he was up at 3:45 a.m. to drive back to work.

It’s clear that Jeremy doesn’t back down from a challenge, be it at work or at home. He just finds a way to manage it. And this never-give-up attitude has earned him respect in whatever role he is in.

Learning about highly engaged employees

One thing that Jeremy has learned as a supervisor is to make sure that the people he works with are engaged and has their concerns heard. “In my work management role, I came into a situation where there was little employee engagement.”

So he had meetings with the people he managed and asked them, “What are your concerns? What are your issues that I can help fix; the roadblocks that I can remove for you?”

Interestingly, he learned that the employees with the worst (perceived) attitudes were actually very highly engaged but they felt like their concerns weren’t being heard. “They feel like they’re handcuffed so they can’t do their job properly.” By helping to address their issues, “instead of working against you all the time, they’re now working with you.”

One of the biggest issues his team had was that they felt that they were waiting each day for work to be assigned. Either they wouldn’t get their assignments until noon or they would be assigned work early in the morning only to find out they couldn’t complete the project because the equipment was in use.

By changing the structure of the assignments, “At our 6:30 meeting, I could hand them a work package and they could go right to work. That’s what they expected.”

Value of the right planning and scheduling solution for the Maximo CMMS

However, in order to have the work prepared, Jeremy was pulling late hours to get the projects lined up for the next morning. “That’s how I got into wanting AKWIRE. I got the demo and I said, ‘This would make my life so much easier.’

“I’ve compared AKWIRE to the iPhone,” he said. “Almost anybody can pick up an iPhone and without knowing anything how to use it, they can learn it within a short amount of time and pretty much be efficient at it. AKWIRE is like that.”

“Maximo is very, very difficult to use and it’s cumbersome. It’s like taking Maximo and saying ‘Here’s your iPhone.’ AKWIRE is very intuitive. With Maximo, it might take me hours or days—in some cases, I haven’t even found the ability to do some things. With AKWIRE, I can do the same things in minutes… seconds, in some cases.”

He recalled a meeting where Gerry Lamarche conducted a presentation. “I was shocked at the ease,” Jeremy said. “Everything that he was showing us, scheduling-wise, it was so easy. I told them what takes me hours, with this, I could do in no time. And it all writes back to Maximo. The other programs that we were using in the past… nothing wrote back to Maximo so you would change things but it wouldn’t get back to Maximo.”

Coping with an incomplete scheduling software toolset

Jeremy has been able to benefit from a strong support system in his team. Due to his strong work ethic, when his current post opened, he was approached by several people about applying for the position - before he even knew it was available. He is also supported by his supervisors who have given him the leeway to work when he needs to, which keeps him very busy. 

Ironically, in his current position, Jeremy does not have access to AKWIRE, although the work management specialists in his company are able to reap the benefits of the software. Knowing the power of the software, he can see the benefits if it is integrated into his department in the future.

It’s a waiting game as he works with his company to get access to AKWIRE again.

“AKWIRE does everything. It would save me days, if not weeks’ time if I could schedule all my work through AKWIRE.”

In the meantime, he puts in long hours when he has to and gets home when he can to watch his daughter on the field, whose team travels across the US. “She was ranked the fifth best catcher in high school and an All American as a sophomore.”

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In upcoming weeks, they are travelling to Indiana and Florida and will have local scrimmages through the school year until the season ramps up again in spring. “Then she has games in Colorado, California, Texas, Georgia, and Florida. I spend all my vacations on softball.”

If only he could schedule his time off with AKWIRE.

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Mariah Patterson

Mariah Patterson began writing as a child as a way to fill her time when her family moved to an isolated region in Maine. With no close friendships, developing cabin fever from intense snowstorms and only one fuzzy Canadian channel on TV, she created her own world through writing.

She began her

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