Focus on Reliability

Creating Partnerships


One of the biggest challenges that I find most organizations struggling with is the creation of real partnerships with shared common goals as opposed to competing objectives. Most organizations function with the illusion of partnerships. A better term to use and one that most would recognize is "silos".  

When you hear maintenance people making comments like “I never have the materials, information, or time to do my job right.”, you should question if real partnerships exist. The same goes when an operator comments that “Maintenance never responds when we call" or In the last three hour changeover, maintenance was nowhere to be found. Why did they not use that time to do so PM's and corrective work?". 

Recognize that as Maintenance and Operations, together you control total roughly two-thirds to three-quarters of the site population. While a site leadership team exists to implement corporate strategy and other items, Maintenance and Operations need to partner to talk about how you run the day-to-day operations of the plant.

Create a team, meeting twice a month with Maintenance and Operations stakeholders. That gives each of you an opportunity to educate each other on each function's wants and needs as related to best practices. Engage people at the lowest levels on the plant floor to get buy-in. This is one more approach to end the blame game and move the total site reliability forward.

The One-Two Punch

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Realize that leading people is a contact sport. I recently participated in a podcast and was asked a question on how the company name of People and Processes came to be. Across multiple sites, I either directly or indirectly reported to an engineer that ultimately became a plant manager. Ken was very much a people person, and over the years, I learned a tremendous amount from him. He taught me the value of leading others and seeing things from their perspective. Ken used a phase called “ways of working” related to the business processes and roles. When things did not go as planned, he always went back to the process, the way of working. The business name fit the solutions that we provide. It is about the people and the processes.

Back to the contact sport statement, I visit organizations almost every week that struggle with the basics. While business processes may exist, people aren’t leveraging them for a lot of different reasons. It’s not uncommon to find duplication of efforts. It seems every day is a new day as the struggles repeat themselves. Most sites don’t audit their processes to see what is not working and to determine improvements. Getting your processes right is the first step, the first impact. To do that, you need to involve people as they buy-in to what they help create.

The second punch is defining your people’s roles and responsibilities. These duties come from business processes. When determining the roles, there are specific spans of control or ratios. For example, a planner scheduler may plan for 20-30 technicians depending on the maturity of the processes in action. These roles, combined with the spans of control, determine the organizational structure.

Once you get people in the roles, don’t forget the training aspect. Funny how some people believe that if you train people, they might leave. I always like to counter with “what if they stay?”. Coaching people in their role is the next logical step in their development, beginning about thirty days after the initial training. It typically takes two to three coaching sessions to demonstrate a level of competency. In our coaching activities, we have developed competency evaluation forms for each position, and we review those with the people being coached. I find that most people are eager to improve their knowledge and abilities. Each coaching visit enables the opportunity for increased understanding and more importantly, ownership and pride. Accountability brings clarity.

Don’t allow every day to be a new day. Employ the one-two punch to bring that clarity.

Need help? All of these concepts and much more are integrated into our award-winning Maintenance and Reliability for Managers 4-Part Series. Get started soon, either at a public course or bring it onsite.

Feed Your Mind to Drive Creativity

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When I visit organizations, I often ask people what they are doing with respect to continuous improvement.  Depending on the organization and the level of the person I ask, the answers vary widely.  Since the idea of continuous improvement has long been pushed for managers and others as buzz words, they are quick to provide the answer they think I want to hear.  Smiling, they are smug in thinking they have pulled the wool over my eyes only to be confronted with more probing questions.  The deeper the questions, the more truthful the answers become.

Planner Competencies

Maintenance Planners, who are tasked with improving the efficiency of the Technicians working time, are often placed in the role without the benefit of formal training and coaching.

Topics: Planning and Scheduling Maintenance Planning Scheduling maintenance planner competencies

When can a metal fastener become “plastic”?

Topics: Maintenance and Reliability maintenance skills maintenance skills training maintenance CMRT RCM3 Training technicians reliability technician maintenance technician

Fundamentals of Leadership

Leadership 1120 720 72Still the most challenging topic most companies face in maintenance and reliability is one of leadership. Many organizations feel that they are not achieving the effectiveness and efficiency they believe they should due to a lack of understanding of leadership. The one thing that has stood out in my recent visits to organizations to help with this challenge has been the lack of a fundamental of leadership – managing. The interesting part is that each organization recognized they needed work on things like motivation, inspiration, involvement, engagement etc. but none recognized that their structure and systems for managing were broken. If we don’t have the systems in place to manage and control how do we expect to demonstrate those afore-mentioned traits of leaders? We need to remember that a good manager may be a good leader, but good leaders MUST be good managers. Too often we think of leadership in the philosophical terms that were mentioned but as the leadership guru Peter Drucker’s “Effective leadership is not about making speeches and being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.”

Having Leadership and Supervision issues at your site?  Want to make a change ? Let us bring our Maintenance Leadership and Supervision Course to you.   

Topics: Maintenance Management Maintenance and Reliability Leadership and Supervision Maintenance training Key Performance Indicators or Metrics Change Management

Is Maintenance Planning instinctive?


Topics: Planning and Scheduling Maintenance Planning Scheduling maintenance criticality efficiency job plans technicians

Doing Things Better or Doing The Better Things?

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A couple of months ago, I visited an organization that had just started an initiative to reduce their spend on spare parts. The odd thing about this initiative was that it was driven by finance and procurement. The focus was on cutting the price they paid for these spare parts. When I asked why this initiative had started, I was told that someone in finance felt that their procurement practices weren’t what they should be. They believed that there was opportunity to cut costs through better management of the process.

Topics: Planning and Scheduling Maintenance Planning Scheduling Maintenance and Reliability Reliability Centered Maintenance Key Performance Indicators or Metrics Inventory management materials management training RCM3 Training purchasing

Moving Storeroom Measures Forward


Topics: Maintenance Storeroom Stockroom Storeroom/ Materials Management Key Performance Indicators or Metrics storeroom training Inventory management materials management training

The Hidden Gem

sm-mro-shutterstock_509974087How many times have you walked around a hardware store or a kitchen store and seen a tool or implement that just made you shake your head and say to yourself ‘Wow if I’d had that when I tried to do…………………………….. life would have been so much easier!’

Topics: CMMS/ EAM Systems Maintenance Management Maintenance Storeroom Stockroom