I never could quite figure out what the band Manfred Mann was saying after the lyrics in the hit song “Blinded by the Light” until I looked up the song for this article. But wow what a song it is! It sounds great and it is an amazing song despite my inability to understand the words rolling off the lead singer’s tongue. In the same way,
organizations love the idea of a disciplined maintenance system, yet they don’t quite realize the relationship it has to leadership. I have determined that your approach to maintenance is a telling sign of the leadership provided to your organization. The relationship between the two concepts is quite interesting.
Maintenance is a discipline in the purest sense of the word. Some refer to it as a process or a system however I beg
to differ. True maintenance is a philosophy that is rooted in organizational discipline. Struggling organizations are often very poor at maintenance, while successful organizations are often very good at keeping the gears of commerce going. For this read, I will focus on manufacturing maintenance, however you can apply theconcepts to personal and other aspects of business.
First, let me preface by saying that extremely successful manufacturing organizations still struggle with this paradox. Please don’t take these observations personally. They are merely to help you continue the journey toward “world class”. Think of it like a dial rather than a switch. You cannot simply flip a switch and have a successful maintenance
discipline. So let’s dive in and take a gander.
"If you actually achieve greater than 50% preventive maintenance work orders, you are far ahead of your peers."
In manufacturing, maintenance often reflects two realities; run it until it breaks or turn it off and maintain it. There are infinite realities in between. The challenge comes when we try to maximize asset utilization. We build a factory to make units. The more units we can make, the more money we make in theory. To simplify, we will look at this through 3 portals including reactive, preventive, and predictive
Reactive maintenance is running the machine until it fails. Most organizations still lean toward this reality. It is a dirty little secret that management hates to admit, but it is absolutely true. They hate to shut down production to properly maintain equipment and they simply do not do it very well. An attempt is made to squeeze every drop of production from a machine until it fails and
maintenance must hustlein a patch the machine inorder to get production going again. This practice is legitimized by meeting quotas and promising to repair the problem properly during the next planned shutdown, if that ever occurs. Oh and by the way, if they are behind in production, the shutdown is delayed until the machine fails once again. Does this sound familiar? Of course the intent is present and smart managers know it is necessary, but they simply lack the will or the discipline to make
it happen. There are often no work orders to measure and track their true reality. They simply employ a team of skilled crafts that charge in like fire fighters to fix a problem.