Making Maintenance a Priority in Your Organisation
Author : Paradigm Business Systems
In many cases management do not speak the same language as the maintenance department and vise versa. This indicates that there is a requirement to understand how they view the world so that you can frame it within their language and conceptual models. Learn how your management think and talk. For example financial managers are always looking for the bottom line.
Uptime is more critical to plant profitability in economic downturns. Yet there is commercial tension about maintaining equipment in these poorer times.
Maintenance has an economic balancing effect. When the economic times are good maintenance staff are working on strategic maintenance and new systems for new equipment or Greenfield sites. When economic times are less optimal business wants increased production from the current equipment, which leads to equipment redesigns, higher defensive and tactical maintenance. Options for large expenditure are lower so the maintenance department must make decisions that require less money. Ultimately when there is no money, there are no strategic decisions.
Perception has a great deal to with the way management reacts to downsizing and upsizing. So if maintenance items are presented properly they can lead to increased perception of the maintenance department and increased economic returns. In an economic downturn all members of society are affected and it is the businesses capacity to do more with less that determines success. Change needs to occur that is clearly visible to management with new projects that increase the return, production, reliability or feedback to management - if management can see the effects of work done by maintenance then they are more likely to consider it a priority.
If these items are kept in mind then the maintenance staff can plan their strategies around the economic conditions to increase their acceptance with management and consequently lower their risk.
Under an economic downturn priorities change, there is less capital expenditure, but there must be a corresponding increase in the actions that maintain the plant in an effective manner. Establishment of key performance indicators, computerized maintenance management systems, increased interaction with management are critical to the successful perception of the maintenance department in good and bad times.
When economic times are running high business is more liable to invest in items such as large capital equipment and training. Business can afford to increase the caliber of staff and use money to keep technologically abreast with the competition. As a matter of a fact the good times must be the time when equipment is upgraded to be a long-term investment that will out compete other offerings when times are not so good. An example of wise investment would be to buy aircraft in the high times, which are more efficient, and maintaining them over the poorer times when investment dollars are harder to get.
It is sometimes hard to understand when the business is doing well or poorly. In many circumstances the economy can be doing poorly yet business can be doing well. For example a lower Australian dollar means exports should be higher and domestic spending more likely to be on an Australian product.
Most companies are driven by financial results, which if executed poorly for the short-term, can sometimes lead to disastrous results. To influence the financial, business management and marketing departments, maintenance must be presented to these other departments in their own terms of risk and reward. A poor maintenance or OH&S record can lead to horrific results for all these departments. If they are aware of production uptime, the reward and the risks, these departments are apt to be more supportive. The production of management reports to these departments and an accompanying explanation on a regular basis could go a long way to establishing a mutually beneficial relationship.
The perception of maintenance does rely on internal marketing. Forms of internal marketing are management reports, maintenance strategies and any method that will increase communication between the maintenance department and other departments within the organization. In some cases this might mean showing a weakness, such as poor uptime, which will lead to further investment in the maintenance sector.
Increasing communication, internal publicity and understanding the investment cycle will lead to an increased perception and priority for maintenance in the organization.
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Revised: Thursday, 08-Oct-2015 11:53:48 AEDT