Maintenance management getting a lot of complaints?
If you are a maintenance planner or maintenance manager you may be getting a lot of criticism because of the performance of your maintenance team. Are other departments dissatisfied with your maintenance management program? If this is something that you face a lot, you need to find a way to identify causes and fixes since left as it is, this dissatisfaction will end up in drastic solutions being imposed on you or your team – layoffs, new managers, reorganizations and more. Often this criticism could be completely unjustified since your team may be doing the best it can with the resources that have been provided. However, unless you have identified causes and solutions and have a plan of action you are not going to be able to change impressions. In this two part posting we will explore some of the common criticisms and possible solutions to these problems.
Too many equipment breakdowns or equipment not working properly:
Frequently failing equipment can cause a lot of trouble for operations. It can cause delays and inability to meet targets. Besides this equipment that is working but not working well causes its own problems. You need to identify why these are happening. Use information from complaints or by querying your maintenance management software to find equipment subject to frequent breakdowns or complaints. Once you locate them go through work order data to find what was the cause and feedback. This can help you decide if the equipment needs replacement, technicians need better training or you need better maintenance scheduling.
Maintenance taking too much time to complete or not completed at all:
This is another source of friction with other departments. Identify complaints and find which tasks do not seem to be getting done. Check your maintenance management software reports on work order status to see if these complaints seem justified. It is possible that your maintenance team is skipping less important maintenance work due to time constraints. While this may not cause major problems it could be leading to the impression that work is being dropped. In such cases user education can be helpful. More seriously you may notice large work order backlogs and cancellation of important maintenance work – typically preventive maintenance. You will need to review your maintenance plan and see whether enough time has been budgeted for tasks. Check for schedule clashes and inadequate technician training (flagged by problems in work orders done mainly by specific technicians).
Maintenance costing too much (in labor costs or material):
This is an issue you usually will face with management especially at budget time. Occasionally it may become an issue with other departments who feel too much is being spent on maintenance with inadequate returns. Here having work order reports showing time and expenses can be very useful. You can analyze them to see if there is too much rework or waste. Jobs could be combined or skipped if some are not that important. You could also identify if maintenance technicians may need more training or task estimates need to be fixed if you see work orders taking much longer to complete then estimated. You may need to hire more people if you see too much overtime on a regular basis.
Other complaints & issues:
We cover a few more of these in the second part of this post – “Maintenance Management – Sources Of Failure (Part 2)“.
Using CMMS software to collect & analyze data:
Solving problems as mentioned above requires you to be able to collect and analyze a lot of maintenance data. Having a good CMMS software system is essential to be able to collect such data and do further analysis. If you are looking for a CMMS software package you may find our free maintenance software selection guide useful. It provides a checklist of criteria that can help you identify the right product for your needs.Free CMMS Software Selection Guide