A Dozen Maintenance Operations Questions You Should Be Asking

I could tell you a story and hope that somewhere an alarm goes off and you take a closer look at your maintenance operations but you may not like the story and stop reading. Instead, I have come up with a dozen questions about your operations and maintenance functions that only take a few seconds to read and answer in your head.

Does your maintenance operations run like clockwork?

Maintenance and Operations Opportunities for Improvement

  1. Have poor maintenance practices ever come back to haunt your organization?
  2. Has your operating budget ever been blown up by unexpected capital replacements?
  3. How many times a year does your organization experience major unplanned repairs?
  4. Do you have difficulty hitting your budget numbers because of unplanned overtime?
  5. Do you actually know what your maintenance staff is doing when you are not watching?
  6. Do you face any legal or liability claims as a result of a preventable accident?
  7. How much time does your maintenance staff waste filling out paperwork?
  8. How much productive time do you lose when your maintenance team can’t locate needed asset documents such as blueprints, schematics or photos?
  9. Do you know if your maintenance staff has actually done the work assigned to them?
  10. After a work order is completed, do you receive information describing how the job was done, what materials were used or any notes that could be used to prevent future problems?
  11. Is all your know-how locked up in just a few people?
  12. Do you have difficulty recruiting new maintenance staff because they view your organization as too low-tech?

How many of the preceding questions were you able to answer yes to? 1? 2? 6? All of them? Unless you have perfectly trained, organized and efficient staff utilizing a CMMS your organization is going to remain at risk.

Whether you have 1,000 assets or 100,000,000 assets; the operational opportunities for improvement are pretty much the same. To have a solid maintenance operation your organization must be able to manage work efficiently, effectively and with accountability.

Maintenance Accountability with CMMS

Just having a maintenance plan is not enough. A maintenance plan is only as good as the people who manage it. There is a sleeping airline mechanics video that is a perfect example of what your maintenance staff could be doing if you do not hold them accountable for their work.

You can hold your team accountable for the work assigned to them a number of ways. The easiest way is to ensure they complete work orders and inspections as directed. The proper completion of work orders and inspections is a matter of training and requirement.

For example, when a completed work order is returned to the manager, it is the manager’s responsibility to make sure that staff completed a description of the work performed, the tools or parts needed and the result with comments.

The information from the completed work order is then recorded by the CMMS so that know-how can be used by others. Creating a knowledge base using CMMS makes maintenance more attractive to a generation of potential maintenance staff that grew up with a mobile device in their hands.

A signed work order also does something else. If it is later discovered that work wasn’t done as reported the maintenance employee is accountable for any deception.

Proof of Presence

Another way CMMS software helps with accountability is that maintenance management can require a Proof of Presence using a mobile device. A Proof of Presence is accomplished by having the assigned maintenance staff scan the asset being worked upon or inspected.

Proof of Presence will verify that maintenance staff are where they are supposed to be and at what time. Proof of Presence does not guarantee the work was done properly. Reviewing the quality of work done is still a supervisor’s responsibility.

Quality CMMS

As for all the other maintenance opportunities for improvement, your organization only needs to look at the general capabilities of a best in class CMMS.

A good CMMS solution handles document management, automated work scheduling and an automated work order process. CMMS helps an organization establish a proactive maintenance plan that will reduce labor, repairs and energy costs.

Most importantly, CMMS gives maintenance management the control and the tools they need to improve maintenance operations. When implemented properly, CMMS can help transform wounded operations into a star performer.

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