Why Define Roles and Responsibilities

Why Define Roles and Responsibilities

 Why Define Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and Responsibilities in most organizations are fluid at best and many times changes are made based on the day, situation or person. Because organizations thrive and survive based on structure and organization defining roles and responsibilities using a methodical and well thought out approach should be a requirement.  
Having learned many years ago people in a reactive environment dodge true responsibility for their actions and use excuses such as:
-It is not my problem, it is their problem. (whoever “their” is) 
-Production is the problem, not maintenance. (production is always at fault) 
-Maintenance is the problem, not production. (maintenance is always at fault) 
-When equipment breaks down no maintenance person can be found. 
-When equipment breaks down no operator can be found. 
-We never have the parts in the storeroom when we need them. How come it takes so long to get parts in here? 
-Why can’t we hire a consultant to solve our problems? 
-I remember because we do not have the money to invest in one.

In addition, you may hear these statements:
-Why can’t we ever make our production goals established by corporate? 
-Where are the maintenance personnel when you need them? 
-Where are the operators when you need them? 
-If only maintenance did their job
These type problems do not occur in proactive organizations however out of all the reactive organizations in the world I have visited all used some if not all the excuses I stated and many more that I dare not to use. I must say some sites used their wording more eloquently than I did. 

Let me provide an example:
Let’s say we were to approach two maintenance techs or operators and tell them they are responsible for the PM program on their production line, would they both understand what tasks must be accomplished, in what order, and to what specifications are required of a successful PM Program, I would say 100% they would not. Heck at most sites they do not truly understand the definition of Preventive Maintenance.

Roles and Responsibilities are difficult at best in any workplace environment. Think about a person who knew specifically what they truly were responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed for, how much more efficient and effective would they become?
When people work in synchronization with others stress is reduced, the work environment becomes enjoyable, errors (whether production or maintenance) are reduced, total cost go down and life becomes “good”. Let’s look at a situation where the outcomes would be different if everyone truly understood their roles and responsibilities.

Plant A: “Roles and Responsibilities are fluid at best” or “just a statement people use when they want to shift blame to someone else”. Plant production issues were costing the company untold amount of money due to overtime, product waste, and lost capacity and business.

What you find:

People always blaming someone else for the plant problems. The plant manager accusing maintenance for the equipment not meeting the requirements of production through unplanned breakdowns, which may be true or not. PM’s not completed on time because production needed to meet the expectations of their customers.

Maintenance cost is out of control and all the plant manager can say is stop working overtime and parts are shipped overnight on a regular basis. Maintenance Manager or Plant Manager position is often replaced like a revolving door. All of the above are great excuses and maybe should not be discussed (at least not for 3-4 days). Understand an “Excuse List” is a document posted in the plant meeting room, on the plant’s share drive, or wherever people can see it daily so they can see how silly and unproductive excuses can be. I have used this method to get my point across at number of sites around the world and it works.
Plant B: “Roles and Responsibilities” are well defined for most tasks and developed by maintenance, production, purchasing, plant leadership, maintenance storeroom, etc. (it is hard to hold someone accountable for something they did not understand). Roles and responsibilities must be defined, to include who (specific title or position, ie. Mechanic, Plant Manager, Operator, etc.), specific task (Perform Maintenance PM or Perform Operator PM) along with who is Responsible (R) two-way communication, Accountable (A) the buck stops here, Consulted (C) two way communication and Informed (I) no need to reply.

If you have questions or comments please share them with everyone. I may not have the best answer, someone else may.
An Example of a RACI Chart
Once a RACI Chart is developed by key players from operators, mechanics/electricians to the plant manager things will change creating an environment which breeds success resulting in capacity yields beyond expectations, breakdowns become a rare occurrence, turn over of personnel becomes near “0”, cost dropping below what one believes is achievable and Corporate visits wanting to know what is happening at your site.
None of this is rocket science jut a proven approach that works. Your comments or suggestions/ideas are always appreciated.

To all my friends, The Maintenance Community on Slack is an incredible free space where over 1,500 maintenance and reliability professionals like myself share real life experiences with each other.   
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