Creating a Culture Change in a Maintenance Department

Creating a Culture Change in a Maintenance Department

 Creating a Culture Change in a Maintenance Department
Does your maintenance crew operate with a reactive mindset? My crew did and here is what I found.
It’s difficult to manage a maintenance crew effectively in a reactive environment. We’re either unaware we’re in a reactive mode or we don’t know how to get out of it. The following is a list of qualifiers determines if your crew is reactive:
-PM labor hours stay the same (or increase) as emergency labor hours trend upward.
-PM work orders lack specifications, step by step instructions, and addressing specific failure modes       -Yesterday’s maintenance problems and reliability issues consume 90% of daily maintenance/production meetings.
-The maintenance supervisor is a hero one day, a no good the next
-The maintenance supervisor must work late at least twice a week
-Maintenance crews don’t know what equipment they’ll be working on tomorrow
-The maintenance supervisor routinely expedites parts for emergency work
-Equipment reliability issues prevent the plant from operating at targeted capacity. 
If these points seem too close to home then you are probably operating in a reactive maintenance environment. The challenges and obstacles you face are a daily occurrence.
I know, I was there and faced these issues on a daily basis. The toughest challenge is a cultural one – I managed a maintenance crew and they were resistant to change and yet they truly wanted for the equipment to run "better" (image that). Now, having worked in of only 3 plants in the world ever certified as having " World Class Maintenance" I am disappointed in what I see in most plants around the world today. I find that in many plants neither Production nor Maintenance feel responsible or accountable for equipment reliability. Instead, the maintenance department focuses its effort on time-based PMs that don’t work anyway, doing too much too soon and doing too little too late.

Remember these words of wisdom: You know you’re in reactive mode when you continue to perform preventive maintenance on equipment that continues to fail.
This you may find interesting, I’ve found a large number of production facilities never meet capacity projections or cost (unless they fudge the numbers). In fact, I’ve seen management reduce production projections and even change the name from “projections” to “stretch goals.” Shouldn’t we admit that if we have a "stretch goal" it truly means we don’t believe we’ll ever meet the goal? Nevertheless, as maintenance and manufacturing costs continue to rise for no apparent reason maintenance comes under pressure to do something quickly.

I am always have said:
You know you are in Reactive Maintenance when the equipment continues to run when it wants to and to what capacity it desires to produce. Monday morning everyone is waiting in line at the maintenance storeroom waiting on parts .PM Compliance only means we satisfied corporate (but equipment continues to break down)
Understand, quick fixes have been tried but will never really work when trying to improve equipment and process reliability. (option: why not write a work order on all quick fixes and come back later to repair to specifications with a repeatable work order)
So how do you get out of a downward spiral and move your crew from reactive to proactive? I changed my crew’s behavior by convincing and proving to them that there was a better way – and that was proactive maintenance, in addition I had to convince them there was an easy way to get there, and they would benefit personally from the change. 

However, before I began this culture change initiative, I had to gain support and sponsorship from plant management. The only way to get that prerequisite was to develop a compelling business case. Believe me, "it will be compelling – a reactive environment leaves big dollars sitting on the table". (do not worry about the reactivity of production, focus on what you can control)
Moving from reactive to proactive will reduce maintenance costs by at least 20%, depending on the severity of the problem it could be much higher. In addition, capacity will increase because you’re improving reliability. I’ve seen capacity increase by as much as 30% to 60%. What do you think happens to total cost? It decreases of course.
Back to my crew, armed with management support, I needed true believers. I had to prove to my crew that life was better in a proactive environment. To make the biggest impact quickly, we identified our worst performing asset and focused on changing our process and measuring the right thing to improve the reliability on that specific asset (we had to restore the equipment to specifications or like new, write procedures for all PM and CM work we performed on the equipment. In addition, we changed the day-to-day activities and behaviors of the people in Maintenance and Operations and ensured that people understood what to do and how to them. 

The people who operated and maintained the assets began conducting inspections at set frequencies and requested an outside expert help in developing a proactive asset reliability program (there are many work identification methodologies available but use them one that provides early identification of failure modes and/or prevents them from occurring ). We didn’t invest in heavy statistical analyses at first, because we were out of control nor did we use an abundance of additional predictive technologies, but we validated those we had in place when we developed the asset reliability program to ensure we were focused on the right work at the right time.

Within six months, we had tuned up the reliability and performance of that asset. We put leading and lagging key performance indicators in place to manage the process and kept it going. The team knew they were successful and they felt great. The change had occurred. Sure, it was only one asset, but now others wanted a ride on our success train.
You don’t have to tolerate managing maintenance in a reactive mode. Developing a proactive asset reliability program means creating a proactive process to implement, receive production buy-in, and manage with Leading and Lagging KPIs (which are tracked daily and posted for everyone to see), reward those who contribute it success, are all critical to success in changing from a reactive organization to a proactive one.

In conclusion, a maintenance organization must take the first steps in moving toward pro-activity and as a result production will follow.

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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