Q & A With Timothy Goshert, Chairman, Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals

Timothy Goshert, Chairman, Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals

"I believe that recruiting and retaining qualified M&R professionals requires several success competencies of the employer." - Timothy Goshert

Timothy Goshert has 28 years of experience working in the food processing industry. He has extensive experience in plant operations management, project engineering, construction management, and maintenance & reliability management. Tim holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Penn State University. Tim earned his CMRP (Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional) designation from the Society of Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP) in 2001. Tim’s current role is the Worldwide Reliability and Maintenance Manager with Cargill, a position held since 2000, and is chairman of the company’s Worldwide Reliability and Maintenance Steering Committee. He is also an active member of SMRP and has served on its Board of Directors for the past four years. Presently he is serving as Chairman. He has served as Past Chairman of SMRP’s Certification Organization (SMRPCO). He also represents Cargill, Inc., as a founding sponsor of ICML (International Council of Machinery Lubrication).

Q: What do you see as the most pressing concerns relating to industrial maintenance today?

A: We see several pressing concerns today and in the future in the industrial maintenance area. The concerns can be categorized in at least three major areas:

  • Global competition in most industries today has resulted in the search for companies to find areas for competitive advantage. Business leaders today are being enlightened to the financial benefits of what a maintenance and reliability improvement process can deliver. This in turn has led to increased pressure and scrutiny on the maintenance and reliability teams to deliver this value.
  • Current and future equipment designs are more complex, with added capabilities, yet in a smaller, more power dense packages. This leads to equipment possibly being less forgiving and requiring more specialized care, as well as an increasing reliance on sophisticated diagnostic tools and a need for a precision work technique, maintenance mindsets and activities.
  • Additionally, in the next decade much of the existing workforce will exit the industry due to the baby boomer retirement demographics. Experienced people will leave the industry. This will spawn an exponentially increasing need for maintenance and reliability talent. There will be an increasing shortage of well-educated maintenance and reliability leaders, reliability engineers, maintenance engineers, planners, schedulers and craftspeople.

Goshert Selected As Ultrasound World IV Keynote Speaker The fourth annual Ultrasound World conference from UE Systems, scheduled from January 27th through the 30th, 2008, offers lectures and workshops for maintenance and plant operations professionals. Presented by qualified international plant operation experts involved in all aspects of predictive maintenance, this year’s conference, held at the Hilton Beach Resort in Clearwater Beach Florida, will focus on topics such as energy conservation, bearing monitoring techniques, lubrication inspection and condition-based monitoring. Timothy Goshert is set to bring his expertise in plant operations management, project engineering and construction management to the 2008 event as the keynote speaker.

Q: How does SMRP, as an organization, attempt to address some of these issues?

A: SMRP was founded as a non-profit organization in 1992 as an avenue for maintenance and reliability professionals to network, benchmark and learn from each other. Many of SMRP’s programs and processes can address the above issues. The organization’s tagline is “By Practitioners For Practitioners,” and it’s vision is to become the global organization known for providing competitive advantage through improved physical asset management.

SMRP activities and programs include:
  • Define and articulate the Maintenance and Reliability Body of Knowledge (M&R BOK).
  • Develop educational programs and tools on the M&R BOK.
  • Certify individuals’ knowledge and application of the M&R BOK.
  • Set standards on the M&R BOK.
  • Provide M&R practitioner member services.

The Society of Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP)

The Society of Maintenance & Reliability Professionals was founded as a non-profit organization in 1992 as an avenue for maintenance and reliability professionals to network, benchmark and learn from each other.

Many of the above activities are directed to help a person meet challenges in the maintenance industry today.

The challenge of the M&R role to create value for the organization is addressed in SMRP by allowing the company or individual to know about best practices in the M&R BOK. Additionally, SMRP’s standards identification and the standards development processes will allow one to have access to many of the worldwide standards used in the M&R industry today.

This allows people to learn and use processes from the best in the world. Equipment complexity requires best practices techniques to maintain the functionality the user needs and expects. The M&R BOK includes standards, specifications and processes to allow reliable operation of these types of equipment. The SMRP educational programs and tools directly address the required need to develop talent in many of the needed M&R industry roles.

Q: SMRP is a major proponent/provider of certification exams. What are the biggest reasons maintenance professionals should consider a CMRP?

A: SMRP’s Certification Organization, SMRPCO, provides a certification process for the maintenance and reliability professional. It’s ANSI-accredited process examines a professional’s knowledge and ability to apply SMRP’s Body of Knowledge to real life situations through a thorough exam. A successful candidate becomes a CMRP (Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional).

Professionals should consider a CMRP for several reasons.

M&R Knowledge Assessment: The CMRP exam is a comprehensive integrated knowledge assessment tool. It accesses an individual’s knowledge within five major pillars of the M&R BOK: people skills, business management, manufacturing processes, equipment reliability, and work management. Upon completion of the exam, an individual is given a keen sense of areas of strength and areas for improvement.

Continued learning direction: The results of the exam provide an individual with areas they should concentrate on in further education. The individual can then develop a personal knowledge enhancement plan.

Recognition: Being recognized as a CMRP by SMRP is a prestigious event. It signifies that the individual has attained the level of knowledge to be successful in a reliability career.

Career Enhancing: Attaining the CMRP certification signals to the employer the desire of the individual to continually learn about M&R Best Practices. This may result in enhanced job satisfaction, rewards, and possibly new opportunities within the present company, or even other possible employers.

Q: What type of advice could you offer a manufacturer who is having trouble recruiting and/or retaining qualified maintenance professionals?

A: I believe that recruiting and retaining qualified M&R professionals requires several success competencies of the employer:

  • Companies need to believe and demonstrate that M&R processes do provide a strategic and competitive advantage within their organization. Highly qualified professionals want to make a difference. They want to be listened to and have the ability to contribute. They want to be on a winning team. Companies that demonstrate this behavior will magnetically attract M&R talent. Companies that don’t demonstrate this quality will continue to lose talented people.
  • Companies that have clearly defined a career path for M&R professionals will attract and sustain talent. It is important to demonstrate to people that success in today’s role can lead to more responsibility and new opportunities.
  • A continued focus on training and skill enhancement is important. People want to see that the company is interested in investing in their people’s knowledge and skill development. Actions, not words, are important even when the market or profits are not what is desired. Training budget cuts on a whim or when times are tough sends the wrong signal to talented employees.
  • Providing the proper tools for the job and creating the environment for the person to succeed and thrive.

We would highly suggest manufacturers become involved in the SMRP organization. Involvement provides education, benchmarking and networking benefits. Additionally, SMRP has recently created a job board that allows employers to post available M&R positions. Individuals can post a resume, listing their availability, career goals and desire for new positions. Please see for details.

For more information about Ultrasound World IV’s line-up of featured speakers or to register, click here to visit the Ultrasound World IV website.