Sustainable improvements to the maintenance function can be achieved the same way as any other successful change in an organization.
For change to be successful, all the people who will be affected by the change and will have to change the way that they work must be committed to the new work processes, standards and procedures.
To gain the necessary commitment, these key people must be in agreement (or at the bare minimum have acceptance) that the proposed changes are the right thing to do.
Before they will agree that the changes are really going to improve their organization, they must understand the scope of the changes, the impact on their jobs, the benefits and the possible risks. To achieve real understanding of the changes, all those affected need to be involved in the change process. This does not mean that everyone needs to be involved in all changes, but all the people whose jobs will be affected should either be truly involved or have a meaningful opportunity to provide input, which must, of course, be acknowledged.
These four key steps in the change process must be followed in the correct sequence. To expect commitment without first gaining involvement, understanding and agreement may result in some apparent change, but it is most unlikely that the change will last or that it will be anywhere close to managers’ expectations.
This principle applies at all levels, from the improvement of a planning and scheduling process to the installation of a new maintenance computer system to the construction of a new workshop, and even to the assignment of a work order to a group of hourly people.