There once was a maintenance guru who tried to help explain the challenges of improving the performance of maintenance departments and the need for change to achieve it.
To set the scene he said that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing every day and to expect different results. He had obviously seen those organizations that continue to do the same PMs each week even though they experience failures! I wonder if he saw that the backlog list was getting longer and longer even though they planned and scheduled their work only to have the schedule blown apart by breakdowns and those ‘emotional’ jobs that take precedence – just because. What about the repeat failures that we just keep repairing without figuring out why they keep happening? Insanity – well if not completely then very close to it.Next he told us that if we couldn’t explain it simply – then we didn’t understand it well enough. How many times have we tried to explain why a problem has occurred only to find ourselves getting deeper and deeper into confusion. Have we taken the time to really investigate and understand what it is we are supposed to know about or are we taking what we know on the surface and try and explain what we need to do to resolve things. So many times people will be confused by what we say simply because we don’t really understand what the root of the issue is and yet we try and formulate a solution. Then when we add the first point and keep on doing the same things expecting different results we are in a downward spiral. The next thing this maintenance guru tells us is that you can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that caused it – but we’ve always taken that approach! Sometimes we have to –as they say- think outside the box because if we have the same paradigms that went into causing the problem we are unlikely to see the alternative approach that would solve it. Many times we look for tactical solutions where there are systemic causes – we solve one problem only for it to crop up again somewhere else in the organization. If we can’t get creative in our approach to solving problems then the likelihood is that what we’ll solve symptoms not causes of problems So has the maintenance guru got it right – if we think outside the box, get a good understanding of the problem so we can explain it easily and then do something different to solve them – will we improve the maintenance performance? Oh – who was the maintenance guru – Albert Einstein! And if you want to know what he really meant when he said E=MC2 then attend one of the presentations I make or courses I teach – you won’t believe how simple it is!