There are some actions which must be taken at any plant if the maintenance contribution is to be improved. Indeed, some of the recommendations which follow should be implemented even in the absence of any corporate or top management directives! That is, they are well within the span of control and the organizational charter of the maintenance department as it currently exists, and ought to be pursued as a natural consequence of the responsibility and authority vested in the organization already.
There are at least six areas needing improvement that are fundamental to improved management and control of the maintenance function in general:
- General administrative practices, procedures, policies
- Equipment data
- Work Order Control
- Preventive Maintenance (PM) practices
- Materials control (maintenance stores)
- Planning & Scheduling
If you are performing poorly in any or all of these areas, your first step should be to establish a foundation of good maintenance management practices immediately.
As an individual - within the maintenance organization - there is a lot you can do to improve current process and practices; even if there is little directive for improvement. As a single passionate person you can act as the catalyst for real change. In order to do this you must be the champion for continuous maintenance and reliability improvement.
Attain buy-in from your colleagues to gain momentum. This can be achieved by clearly communicating how they will benefit on a personal level from the improvement effort: remember everyone's favorite radio station WII FM (What's In It For Me). For example, talk about the work/life improvements that will take place; help them to envision a more efficient, productive and less stressful work week. Gain support from management by talking about the financial benefits and the positive impact to the organization. This process is not easy, however it is very possible.
Do not undervalue your ability to bring about real change and improvement. After all, every snowball starts with a single snowflake (that's a bit corny I admit).
Be the change you desire.