Welcome to part two of my 10-part series of blogs called “Uptime Insights”, where we explore a journey of excellence in maintenance. To stay on top, managers must implement strategies that keep operations performing at high levels. In these articles, I will show you how to achieve excellence in maintenance – a critical business process in any capital intensive industry.
Uptime Insights Part Two:
Building a Highly Successful Team Model
Any organization is nothing more than an extension of the people who make it up. It stands to reason that we need to focus on people if we want our organizations to thrive and change. Without your people nothing happens. They are the most important part of your business. If you want excellence your people need to choose it with you.
When you choose excellence you are choosing to make changes. Remember that managing the changes is critical to success. Managing change should not be a separate project work stream running in parallel with your improvement efforts. It is an integral part of all you do. Excellence is journey and change will be constant so managing that change will also become a constant.
Purely technical approaches, long time favorites of engineers and technical people, no longer work well on their own. The effective manager of today is unlikely to be a purely technical person who’s risen through the ranks on the basis of technical merit alone. He or she needs a balance of technical, managerial and human skills to improve operations. Your managers, superintendents and supervisors will be most effective if they are true “people persons”.
Organizational designs continue to evolve. We’ve seen centralized, military style organizations, give way to more responsive de-centralized structures. To deliver maximum business benefits today, traditional maintenance, engineering and operations departments are working together. Increasingly they are becoming single delivery organizations. Traditional departmental boundaries are blurring and focus is shifting to the delivery of business results, away from achieving purely departmental results.
The “self organizing team” that combines disciplines is emerging as a highly successful model. We are seeing it on small scales already but it will grow as its merits become fully appreciated. It requires less management and supervision than conventional “industrial age” command and control organizational designs. Indeed those command and control organizations have long stifled initiative and improvements, holding you back from excellence. Although self organizing teams outperform other structures and deliver high levels of employee and team productivity, they require managers to give up control – something that many find extremely difficult to do.
Multi-skilling continues to grow in popularity as a means of developing workforce flexibility and enabling more efficient deployment of maintenance resources. Learning, training and development are critical to companies that strive to excellence. Our educational systems are no longer geared towards industrial careers and the onus is shifting to companies to foster their own talent. Without a focus on developing people, companies will become victims of the demographic realities of our times. Of course attracting, retaining and rewarding talent is equally critical. There’s no point spending a great deal on recruiting and developing people in house if you don’t retain them through a competitive and attractive compensation program that recognizes their individual contributions as well as team success.
In our next blog we’ll explore part three of our 10 part series “Uptime Insights: The Importance of Work Management in the Maintenance Process”