How Sub-Zero And Wolf Decreased Maintenance Downtime

Eighty-five percent planning, 15 percent emergencies. That’s how Mark Long and Dave Burgette at Sub-Zero and Wolf in Madison, Wisconsin, would ideally like to spend their afternoons.

Long, Maintenance Supervisor at Sub-Zero and Burgette, General Manager, have seen a significant decrease in equipment downtime from new programs they’ve implemented, thanks to training they received in the Maintenance and Reliability Management Certificate (MRMC) program at UW–Madison.


UW: What’s changed at work since you took courses in the MMC?

SZ: “The biggest change since we took those courses is that insight—not just knowing that equipment broke down but how it broke down. You can’t get there by just chasing emergencies, you have to buckle down and plan and encourage others to do the same. You can’t just be a firefighter, but a fire preventer.”


UW: What were the courses like?

SZ: “It wasn’t just an instructor teaching a program. There were real-world people who were out there living it every day—they were part of the curriculum, talking about their experiences. It wasn’t talking about theory—it was a group session, and you get to hear others’ experiences.”

“The teachers you bring in generally are people who are doing our role or a similar role currently. All the students bring different perspectives from different companies all over the country, and sometimes outside of the country. We get a blend of real-world experience with real-world problems.”


UW: What parts of the MMC training helped you the most?

SZ: “We’ve really embraced the Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) and the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) portion. Those have been really huge, successful projects for us.”


UW: What would you tell someone who was considering MMC training?

SZ: “People don’t realize it, but as you advance your career, you only know what you know from that company. You may be learning from someone who’s been around for a number of years—but when you go to those settings, you get a group of people who are very diverse—and you get to see a lot of ‘aha’ moments.”

Without MMC, “We would have still been in reactive mode—not looking at how to prevent equipment from breaking down later.”