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How do you successfully manage maintenance; what is the connection between workflow, people and technology?

by Owe Forsberg

Management’s responsibility is to develop a process that the organization can follow in their daily job to execute or perform their work. The process can, in short, be described in the following way:

Develop a workflow that line up resources with work that needs to be accomplished. In IDCON’s Current Best Practices (CBP’s) the work order flow is normally the way you manage resources and match resources to the work that needs to be executed. The key steps in the work order flow is:

    1. Identify work
    2. Prioritize and approve work
    3. Plan work
    4. Manage backlog
    5. Schedule work
    6. Execute work
    7. Record work completed
    8. Improve and trigger Root Cause Problem Elimination (RCPE)

Second, clarify roles and responsibilities for each step in the workflow. An effective way to clarify roles and responsibilities is to make a RACI Chart. RACI stand for:

    1. R = responsible
    2. A = accountable
    3. C = consulted
    4. I = informed

The RACI chart is used to identify each positions role in the workflow. A clear workflow process takes away the confusion and tension that might happen when people are not sure of what to do. Each task in the RACI chart is then transferred to the Job Description for each position.

Next is to get your people to follow the workflow and execute their role. This may sound easy but anyone who’s supervised a group of people knows that it can be challenge. From IDCON’s basic beliefs:

“To improve reliability through better maintenance is 90%
about people and processes and 10% about technology”

People need to have the right ability, skills and motivation to execute according to your workflow. In the best case you hire the right people, provide the correct training and development and treat/support your people in the way that they are motivated.

To stay competitive and optimize cost over time you need to use latest technology to improve efficiency. Technology can be anything from a new and process equipment, condition monitoring tool or a new CMMS with less administration or automation like using an I-pad instead of paper based condition monitoring routes.

The last major step is to know what is going on in your business on a daily to monthly basis. You need to select and implement Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you can monitor to make sure that you are improving and reaching your targets or goals. The leading indicators are used to drive the right behavior in your organization and to follow your workflow.

Example of leading indicators are:

Safety incident rate and safety observations

Work order initiated from PM or condition monitoring routes

PM or condition monitoring routes completed on time

% of planned maintenance hours vs. available hours

Backlog hours

Scheduled compliance

Shutdowns completed on time

Work order information filled out correctly

RCPE’s initiated

Employees development plan compliance

Training targets met

 Lagging indicators are usually measuring business outcome, to make sure that you are competitive are running a successful business.

Example of lagging indicators:

Safety record or lost time

Breakdown rate of equipment

OEE – uptime, rate of production and on quality product

Maintenance cost per ton or product output

On time deliveries or customer lost due to missed delivery deadline

Environmental performance

 So as a manager or supervisor of maintenance your job is to:

  • Implement workflow (business process) that employee can follow and understand.
  • Motivate and train your people to follow/execute according to the workflow.
  • Implement the latest technology where it makes economical sense.

 You should spend 90% of your effort on the first two items