Time to lift your game
Is your maintenance management performance a product of your environment or of your team genetics? Are the quality, strategy and effectiveness of your maintenance function driven by contemporary engineering wisdom, or a response to the quirks of your business and process. Nature or nurture?
The question is prompted by a recent Maintenance Society network evening visit to Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (FPH) in Auckland.
While the manufacturing facility is stunning in its cleanliness and attention to detail, engineers were impressed by the underlying maintenance performance; 2000 assets, 100 per cent asset maintenance strategies, 10,000 work orders per year, ~15-20 per cent reactive workload, 0.2 per cent overdue rate, <1 day average overdue span, 99.8 spare parts stock accuracy.
Strip the f lashy healthcare bits aside and focus purely on what the FPH team is achieving; it has a maintenance management process that encompasses every activity, the team accommodate reactivity and improvements, it documents, captures learnings, leverage that learning and its members plan.
Team members set high standards for cleanliness and quality. They have pride. They are respected by their peers. Their function is driven by the FPH genetics.
There is nothing preventing any maintenance management team from achieving these same standards.
“Yeah right,” I hear you retort. “But our process is dirty and we have no budget and management treat us like dirt and the production staff only have one eye and…”
Ask yourself what the FPH team would do if they were thrown on a bus and dumped in your workshop? Would they dumb down to your environment or would they apply those same genetics to lift the maintenance management game?
I venture they would evolve a maintenance function that led the operation with its proactivity and pride. And they would probably do it with the same staff you have.
It doesn’t have to look pretty at the shop front window to achieve these standards, Tegel has achieved similar at its Takanini feed mill. Behind a dirty and dusty manufacturing environment, the Tegel maintenance team achieve the same processes and quality ethics displayed by the FPH team.
Take a moment for your own maintenance management litmus test: Do you experience a high level of breakdown? Do you ‘manage” from crisis to crisis? Do you work to a forward plan? Is the plan in someone’s head, common knowledge or systemised? Is your daily workload dictated by unplanned or planned events? Is your workshop cleaner than the canteen? Do your tradesmen lack responsibility for the plant? Do your tradesmen know from one day to the next what they’ll be working on? Is your workload about maintenance, improvements or audit requirements? Do you communicate your plan with the business? Do you record what actually happened? Do you capture your learnings every day? Do you analyse your data? Do you leverage your learning and data into future plans? Are you in control of your own budget? There is no score for this test. You will know the answers yourself.
If you are not entirely happy with your self analysis, then it is time to think about how much your current maintenance function is driven by the environment you operate in, as opposed to being driven by your engineering ethos.
It is imminently easy for maintenance functions to devolve to the lowest common denominator, focused on reactive or non-maintenance work, and achieving just enough to stay out of trouble.
It takes more effort to reassess and set the bar higher (altitude requires attitude), but effective maintenance management is achievable by any company, regardless of the situation.
You can spend as much or as little as you like, but attitude is free.
So who is driving your maintenance management function, environment or genetics?