The work that is done by Maintenance managers, supervisors, planners and other staff has no value until a tradesperson has completed a job and returned the equipment back to Operations and it is making a product or, in some other way, doing what its users want it to do.
The purpose of Maintenance management is to ensure that the tradespeople have all that they need to do a job quickly and to the standard that will meet all the goals of reliability, etc,, and to make sure that all the roadblocks are out of the way.
The resources tradespeople need are fairly obvious – training, materials, tools, equipment, information, a clear scope of work and a schedule. The roadblocks are not as obvious, but just as important and typically include:
– restrictions on what each tradesperson can do. These may be imposed by the organization structure, union doctrine or just bad habits. (See “Restrictive practices“).
– inefficient business processes, such as very complex procedures for getting materials or recording hours worked,
– inefficient or dysfunctional computer systems,
– inadequate or poorly-managed tools and equipment,
– difficulty in getting the information needed to make repairs that will achieve the required reliability.
As with any other form of management, maintenance management should include a process that sets goals, measures performance against those goals and takes the appropriate action when the performance is below target. Maintenance is notoriously hard to measure, and some careful thought is needed to make performance measurements that will truly help to manage the maintenance process (see “Measuring Maintenance performance – the hazards in KPI’s“).
However, the basic purpose of maintenance management is very simple. Its to get the right materials, tools, equipment, instructions and information to the right people at the right place at the right time. This goal is constant, and independent of the type or organization, be it a manufacturing plant or a service industry, such as a university.
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Don Armstrong, P.Eng, President
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