We will focus on a few of the many areas that must be targeted in order to facilitate the transition: management support, development of the maintenance team, support and engagement by operations, and how to coordinate these efforts across the board.
Soldiers are pretty attached to their weapons, and the army is notoriously tradition-bound. Remember that during WWII there were senior officers still insisting that there was a place for horses and cavalry on the battlefield, better than those unreliable motor transports. When I joined the army, our personal weapon was the FN-C1A1 rifle. During the mid-80s, we underwent a big change of our basic personal weapons. Sure, it’s a top-down, orders-driven system, but it still takes good change management to make it happen!FabriqueNationale C1A1: Canadian version of the FN-FAL, 7.62 x 51mm NATO (.308 cal) , 2750 fps (840 m/s), 650-750 rds/min semi-auto, range 200-600mDiemaco C7: Canadian version of the M-16A2, 5.56 x 45mm NATO (.223 cal Remington), 3000 fps (900 m/s), 750-950 rds/min semi- or full-auto, effective range 400m
To help deepen our understanding, we will discuss a few of the key opportunities and main challenges associated with each target area. We will then move on to look as some of the enablers to success and how to measure that success.Along the way I’ll use examples from my experiences in various organizations to help illustrate the principles.
CHALLENGES:You need to make the time to drive the transition, and that means “managing up”. It takes time, but selling the value proposition is the ONLY way that you’ll get management support, and it’s the way you’ll enlist managers to help clear the barriers for you. OPPORTUNITIES:It’s a given that starting small, getting the early wins, is a great means of building credibility. Under-promise and over-deliver, as the sales/golf guys say.
Building management support involves a lot of homework on your part, and then doing something very non-technical: SELLING your proposal. Here are some guidelines:Match the strategy that you choose to corporate needs. Don’t do maintenance for the sake of maintenance, do it for the company! If your problem is poor product quality and customer complaints then choose to the strategy that will have a direct link to solving this problem.Understand how decisions are made. If you’re asking for money that has not been budgeted mid-year, or looking to change union roles partway through a collective agreement’s term, then you’re choosing to fight an uphill battle. Choose to leverage the system, and enlist the right decision-makers at the right time to support you. EXAMPLE: creating a new, hourly maintenance planner position in a unionized plant$peak the right ($) language. Don’t bore managers with probabilities, MTBF, and vibration-amplitude-jargon. Learn to use the language of investments and returns. Can you state how your project affects the bottom line, and thus the EBITDA of your company?Finally be prepared to SELL. You may not feel too clean doing it, but it works and that’s why sales people get to golf more than maintenance people.
Basically this role calls for you to be a salesperson, pure and simple.Understand how to explain the cost-benefit analyses to show the true value of investing in maintenance, i.e. know the cost of downtime, know the frequency and severity of your major problems, and be able to express the return on investment in simple terms.DEFINITELY build your Elevator Speech, that short, seemingly impromptu discussion that you can have with a senior leader to pitch your idea.Doing these things can help you to get the financial and leadership support that you need. You’ll know it when senior leaders know and can recite the mantra, i.e. “our proactive plant maintenance is a competitive advantage”.
The Elevator Speech is a pitch to a senior leader. It takes the form of a short, “off-the-cuff” discussion that allows you to plant your ideas in the mind of a decision maker. It must lead them to want to know more, by being enthusiastic, concise, clear (avoid tech jargon) and really targeted at the needs of the listener. It’s a lot to pack in to the 30-ish seconds that it typically takes, so practise, practise, practise.Here’s a formula: Explain the business need, then describe your solution, and then reinforce the benefit.EXAMPLE: I understand sales are sluggish during this recession, and controlling bottom-line costs are more important than ever. We can spend our maintenance dollars more effectively if we had a maintenance planner helping me organize work, chase parts, and analyze the effectiveness of our preventive maintenance. I’m willing to take a guy off the floor to be a dedicated planner since I’m confident that we will increase the wrench time of the remaining crew. With a bit of support to establish the new planning role, we will be able to decrease spending on parts and overtime, and we will definitely increase our production reliability to ensure we meet customer orders. Basically it’s about being less reactive and more proactive, and your support for this would be really appreciated.
Building a forward-thinking and engaged maintenance staff willing to follow through on new initiatives by: leveraging their experience and analytical skills to move beyond reactive methods. match the approach to your team’s skill level, and don’t attempt to push them too far too fast, so that the changes are PULLED build enthusiasmthrough vision-setting, and lead the change by example: remember that these are DOERS, not talkers
CHALLENGES:Overcoming prima donna attitude – tradespeople are typically higher paid and higher educated than the operators whom they support. They speak a technical language unfamiliar to the operators, which can easily lead to a “superior” attitude.Easing fear of change, esp. with older workers facing new technologies or new roles and responsibilities. Value their experience, demonstrate that technology can help, and remove barriers when necessary. EXAMPLE: faced with an older workforce with weak computer skills, I stopped the mechanics from using the CMMS and went back to paper work records. One skilled planner helped input the information, and what was a barrier to getting machine histories was removed.OPPORTUNITIES:Training and development to utilize predictive technologies (thermography, vibration analysis) and techniques (root cause analysis, FMECA).Providing an environment to encourage creativity can help create an engaged workforce.
Off-loading of menial/low-skill tasks. EXAMPLE: we trained operators in basic lubrication knowledge (oil vs. grease, what’s in a bearing, how to lubricate). The mechanics and the oiler became coaches and a resource for the operators. It was a great lead-in to moving more “care and feeding” tasks to the operators. Constant selling of the “service attitude” is critical. Reduced MTTR on critical processes as trades get engaged in improving their own work. Less overtime: does it make sense to have your highest-paid workers getting overtime to change filters or pump grease?
This is truly where you must wear the hat of the LEADER.EXAMPLE: getting mechanics in a department to list their top three most frustrating jobs, then together prioritizing them by risk and opportunity (safety, production loss, etc.) Allowing each tradesman in turn to run his own small project to improve his top choice. I had one guy pull a STACK of legal-sized paper full of ideas out of his toolbox where he’d been collecting them for years.
Leadership should be SITUATIONAL. Remember that you have people with varying levels of competence, and ALSO with varying levels of motivation. Here is a simple matrix to help you categorize your approach to leading different people.Quadrant I – low skills and unmotivated is dangerous in our field. Take an autocratic approach, set expectations and use a clearly-defined performance management method. These people may be 5% or less of your workforce, but the others will all be watching how you handle them, and their motivation may move up or down the scale based on their impressions of how you treat the slackers.Quadrant II – low skills but an eager beaver, can develop the skills if given the coaching. Use a democratic approach to solicit their ideas, keep them on-side, and watch them grow. If the competence is never going to develop, then you’re back to a more prescriptive leadership style.Quadrant III – one of the toughest ones with which to deal is the competent, experienced maintainer whose heart just isn’t in it any more. While a collaborative, democratic leadership style may work, the emphasis must be on setting and meeting clear expectations. They need to understand that you want all of that horsepower put to use, no “coasting to retirement” allowed!Quadrant IV – these are your superstars, who can be lead with a “hands-off” approach. Set the direction and pace, and ensure that they don’t slip back to Quadrant III if they feel they are not being valued (remember maintainers are prima donnas).
One common method of engaging operations: maintenance forges ahead, damn the torpedoes.
Another common method, not really recommended.Building management support involved focusing on SELLING.Engaging the maintenance team demands LEADERSHIP.Now you may guess that my next suggestion, for engaging Operations, entails: COMBAT.
Instead of the traditional, confrontational or competitive method, let me recommend one more hat: MARKETING. We need to truly understanding that the operators are our customers and partners in success.
Take the initiative (i.e. implementing a CMMS) without being too far out of step (i.e. demanding low-skill operators fill out electronic work requests).Lead by example, so that operators want to come along for the ride.Build a Common Vision: What does proactive maintenance offer operations, and how can they be a part of the process?
The Marketing Approach:First: Meet the basic expectations, by executing the basics with excellence. Second: Delight your customers by exceeding their expectations – being proactive!Third: Connect emotionally – helping build operator ownership.
CHALLENGES:Easing fear of change, esp. with unskilled workers. Help them understand that it’s not offloading, rather it’s increasing trust in them.Overcoming complacency or frustrationOPPORTUNITIES:More eyes and ears on the equipment – earlier response to failureOwnership of “care and feeding” to free up skilled maintenance time
Basic training (eg. Autonomous Maintenance tech skills).Increasing proportion of tasks accomplished by operators will result in reduced MTTR.EXAMPLE: RED TAGS – try a “Blue Tag Program” for deficiency identification, which will drive ownership of the condition of equipment and help operators take action EARLY.
Resistance to change – technology gets in the way of the actual process (eg. Kraft CMMS, Central Desktop) Proactive maintenance efforts can have a lag to the results, i.e. predictive technologies must build a history in order to analyze trends Coordinating the efforts of different levels and departments through a thorough CMMS process Finance, operations and mtce all have the same info on the assets Having solid data to sell further efforts
Use the CMMS as the “source of all knowledge”, i.e. scheduling non-mtce tasks (eg: company events, sanitation, operations care and feeding)Put your KPIs out in the open: let people know the average response time of your team when they put in work requests. Show them the volume of PMs being generated (and completed), the hours spent on emergency repairs, etc.Alignment on mtce work priorities
Dover PMAR 2011 - Transition to Proactive Maintanance
Making the Transition<br />Reactive to Proactive Maintenance Strategies at the Management, Technician, and Operator Level<br />