World Grain - October 2021 - 56

MILLING OPERATIONS
Expert advice
Milling panel discusses maintenance, challenges for the next generation of millers
by Susan Reidy
Transferring knowledge to the next generation of millers and
training maintenance workers are two of the major challenges
facing the milling industry in the future, said industry veterans
during a panel discussion at the 125th anniversary of the International
Association of Operative Millers' (IAOM) Conference
and Expo in Little Rock, Arkansas, US.
The panel of five experts, which included millers and equipment
and service providers, shared their insights during the
Millers' Panel discussion and offered advice to the younger
millers in the audience.
" Career changes and surprises happen to anyone, " said Ed
LaPreze, Pepper Maintenance, who wanted to be a computer
programmer until the PC put him out of a job before he graduated
college. " Change is the one thing you can surely count
on. Just accept and be aware of it. "
In the near future, a critical need for the milling industry
will be skilled maintenance workers, he said.
" Our skilled maintenance people have left and retired and
taken all of their skills with them, " LaPreze said. " We're not developing
any programs in any facilities to apprentice and train. "
He suggested starting in local regions and finding people
who want to work in maintenance, because the desire has to
be there first. While there are companies training maintenance
to millwrights, more is needed in terms of general maintenance
training.
" That's a big problem that we need to try to address, " LaPreze
said. " For years and years, we've taken the new guy
and put a grease gun in his hand and said go grease. We can't
do that anymore. Lubrication is an actual science. We have
multiple applications and that's a science to understand what
lubricant needs to go where. "
LaPreze said he sees a diminishing capacity of maintenance
workers everywhere, not just in flour milling.
" A lot of programs are too big for local maintenance people;
it's too much training, " he said. " Local maintenance workers
don't have to train to be professional millwrights. "
With workers retiring, there is a growing potential for safety
concerns with inexperienced workers, said Anthony Yount,
Ardent Mills.
56
" Those older people have a history of close calls and near
misses, " he said. " But new people coming in, they're great,
smart, ambitious but they don't have the experience to say,
'Hey, I'm uncomfortable with that,' or the willingness to raise
a hand and say, 'I don't like this.' "
LaPreze suggested mentorship programs could be started
where new maintenance hires apprentice with the most experienced
worker for a certain period of time.
" We've got to get this knowledge passed, " he said. " We
need to establish that culture where we can pass on information.
Experience is worth a lot of money if we can keep passing
it down. "
Connecting with the next generation
Passing on milling knowledge to the next generation also will
be a challenge in the next five to 10 years because the upcoming
generation learns differently, said Jeff Seeger, Great
Western Manufacturing.
" I get hit up every day for a video on how to do something, "
he said. " We're starting to try to do the videos, but
we're worried we're not professionals. But if you look at
YouTube, they're not professionals, and sometimes that's all
they need. "
Cell phones are another common method for finding answers
for the younger generation, said Tom Byrnes, Blower
Engineering, much like they used to look in a book.
" Their experience is looking at the phone or a video, " he
said. " We need to come up with a way to transfer our knowledge
to the younger generation that they can absorb easily,
and they like. "
Seeger noted that when he was a miller, he was challenged
to try to improve the mill every day. But now, as
milling companies have gotten larger, young millers are
told to keep their hands off and not change anything without
checking first.
" You would learn more about the process and you would
learn from your mistakes, " he said.
Experienced millers need to do a better job of explaining the
why, Yount said. When a young person is asked to do someOctober
2021 / World Grain / World-Grain.com
http://www.World-Grain.com

World Grain - October 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of World Grain - October 2021

World Grain - October 2021 - Intro
World Grain - October 2021 - 1
World Grain - October 2021 - 2
World Grain - October 2021 - 3
World Grain - October 2021 - 4
World Grain - October 2021 - 5
World Grain - October 2021 - 6
World Grain - October 2021 - 7
World Grain - October 2021 - 8
World Grain - October 2021 - 9
World Grain - October 2021 - 10
World Grain - October 2021 - 11
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World Grain - October 2021 - 14
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