New Year’s Eve 2018 at the location in Antwerp, Belgium. Sam Van Hekken from Technical Services (TS) is on call. He is requested to come to the sewage treatment plant, where a pump has failed. After taking out the defective unit, Van Hekken completes his task by installing a replacement pump from the storeroom. Sam Van Hekken can now return home to his family, accompanied by the gratitude and respect of his colleagues. The prompt repair prevented production from shutting down throughout the entire location.
Technical Services ensures that the facilities at Evonik and selected external customers in the chemical parks operate flawlessly. This includes the prompt fixing of any malfunctions. And it does this around the clock on 365 days a year. To make this possible, the experts also work at night, on weekends, and during holidays to provide emergency services so that plants can start up again after a disruption.
One of these experts is Andreas Kuss at the location in Rheinfelden, Germany. Kuss is an electrical, measurement, and standard job controller, who, like his Belgian colleague Van Hekken, loves technology and is interested in machines and production facilities. But whereas on-call duty runs from Wednesday to Wednesday in Antwerp, Kuss is on call for 24 hours at a time—twice a week per month and also on weekends every two months. At these times, Kuss always keeps an eye on his cell phone and sleeps less soundly at night.
Like his work schedule, Kuss’ equipment is adapted to the respective requirements. After he gets a call, Kuss estimates what he will need while he is still driving to the plant. “Half of the time, I only need measuring equipment and a screwdriver, both of which I always have with me in my private car,” he says. Other colleagues head to the plant with a workshop vehicle so that they are prepared for any eventuality. “Each case is basically unique, and we never know what we will be confronted with,” says Van Hekken.
The customers’ wishes and requirements are also very specific, says Götz Lauschke, who headed TS until the end of May 2019. “On-call duty is a very important and valuable part of our portfolio and is greatly appreciated at the plants,” he says. “We give them the assurance that their facilities will run without a hitch.” One of the success factors is the team’s close cooperation with the production workers and the lessons that are learned from the various incidents. That’s why Lauschke wants the framework conditions for on-call duty to be checked as regularly as the on-call employees evaluate their work so that the facilities can get up and running again as quickly as possible.