Leadership, Asset Integrity and Engagement: Addressing the gap in the middle

06 March 2019

Today we are welcoming delegates to the two-day EEMUA 2019 Conference. This is EEMUA’s flagship biennial event and is focused purely on the users of engineering equipment and materials; the owners and operators who depend on the safe, reliable, and efficient operation of industrial plant. Often costly, often hazardous, and always closely regulated; ensuring such sites do what they are supposed to, when they are supposed to, whenever they are supposed to is not a task to be taken lightly.

This year EEMUA’s Conference Committee, made up of representatives from Members and Associates within the Association, selected a theme of pressing importance to them; “Leadership, Asset Integrity and Engagement: Addressing the gap in the middle.” It can be too easy to focus on the engineering aspects to the exclusion of everything else. When you have sites to run, the mechanical integrity of equipment must be preserved at all stages of its lifecycle. Electrical safety must be considered. Control systems protected from new threats. Yet leaders must recognise that people are key to these processes. It is their job to ensure the right skills are in place, and that they are kept up to date with the rapid pace of change, and that their team are aware of the importance of what they do.

Thus, this year’s conference not only has technical streams covering mechanical and electrical engineering topics, including pressure testing, robotic inspection, working in explosive atmospheres, and protecting against arc flash, but also has a stream examining the role of leadership in protecting sites. How can competency be instilled, managed and motivated?

The Conference Committee has curated an impressive line-up of speakers, ranging from the UK Health and Safety Executive, a key regulator, through to major international industrial companies such as Tata Steel, SABIC, and Costain, as well as organisations able to bring a useful perspective to common problems, such as the UK Ministry of Defence speaking on how to establish reliable supply chain management.

There are also our Gold, Silver, and Bronze sponsors, as well as the exhibitors, on hand to provide an overview of the services they can offer.

EEMUA’s founding members came together in 1949 with one simple vision; there were common aspects of engineering across different industries that they all could learn from. Identify the experience, not the industry, that is of interest. This is what we would encourage all those attending over the next two days to remember. There is something for everyone to learn from; how to implement a competency management system in a high hazard industry from a standing start, through to the technical aspects of modern control room design. Two very different problems, but both applicable to a wide variety of sites.

Another key tip is to talk to as many people as you can. EEMUA Conferences are an invaluable opportunity to talk to some of the leading lights in a wide range of fields, and there is a friendly atmosphere that encourages conversation. Ask questions, give a few answers, and delegates will benefit both their employer and themselves.