I was talking to an associate recently who was telling me about a meeting for Maintenance Managers that he attended. During this meeting, the Chief Operating Officer of the company addressed the team of Maintenance Managers, saying that they had been given all the money and resources requested over the past several years, however, the results have not been delivered. The money and resources were invested in improvement programs but had not delivered the bottom line throughput and availability improvements that were promised. As a result, the business was developing a lack of confidence in what the Maintenance Managers say.
This story prompted me to think about what improvement programs we implement and the necessity to be certain that we are attacking the real problem. One example, of an incorrect assumption of the problem, that I see re-occurring is the continual review “optimisation” or change of the PM program and development of tactics. This is usually done with the promise that the changes will improve the machine availability or reliability. This is expensive for the company and it is quite rare that this is the actual problem. Most often the actual problem is the execution of the current program. Changing the sheets just means the new sheets do not get executed adequately and the problems continue.
I believe, as a maintenance manager, it is essential to be certain that the improvement projects we invest in are actually going to deliver the availability or cost outcomes promised. An availability improvement project needs to focus on whether we are trying to reduce unscheduled downtime or scheduled downtime. The improvement actions required for each of these are different. A cost reduction project needs to focus on loss and waste elimination and it is essential to find these losses prior to embarking on the improvements.
The best way to gain trust from an organisation is to deliver on promises or at least recognise the risks associated with each improvement project that may prevent the realisation of the bottom line results.