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Management Side
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This is maintenance month at Paperitalo Publications and this is PaperMoney, our publication for senior executives. Hence the title to this column.

I have seen more directives from on high to reduce maintenance costs than I have ever seen further down in the organization. And, many, many times I have pointed out that this works for a while--about two years in a well maintained mill. Then, almost like clockwork, things start falling apart all at once. When this happens, it takes a herculean effort to "right the ship."

Maintenance is not fun. Maintenance is boring. Maintenance appears expensive (in the short term). In the long term, maintenance is the most economical path to smooth operations.

In the end, one can say maintenance is everything (given there is a decent market for your products and your margins are acceptable).

When we look for the root cause of poor maintenance, we often find it is the senior leadership. There is seldom a directive that focuses on reducing maintenance costs, but your directives to reduce costs often land in the maintenance department. Maintenance should be as important to you as is your safety program. Get your act together on maintenance and watch the profits roll in.

Jim Thompson is CEO of Paperitalo Publications.
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