Welcome to the final blog in my 10-part series 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 Ten:
Whenever you are following a set of steps to achieve some goal you are following a process.
Your people do their jobs through day to day implementation of those processes in order to deliver results. If the processes are ill-conceived or inefficient things move slowly and results are more expensive to obtain than they need to be.
Well designed, efficient processes that integrate with other related business processes keep things running smoothly, costs down and help to keep people motivated.
Over time our natural tendency to want to do things “better” causes us to re-design our business processes.
We streamline here, add something there, etc., all in an effort to deal with changing circumstances or situations that have arisen or disappeared. Unfortunately, it’s far more common to add complexity to our processes than to take it away.
That’s how bureaucracy grows and becomes bloated.
Maintenance is a business process.
For best performance, it is tightly integrated with materials management, supply chain, human resources and engineering.
If those various “departments” operate independently of each other, they will tend to optimize their own results sometimes at the expense of others’. If they work together the result is optimization of the entire business.
From time to time it makes sense to take a hard look at your maintenance processes, how they integrate with other business processes and evaluate whether or not you really need them and all the steps they entail.
Sometimes dramatic changes can arise from what is learned in those reviews. If the changes are dramatic they are often called “re-engineering,” but more often the changes are fairly minor – more of a continuous improvement process.
There are a variety of tools used in analyzing process flows: process mapping, process analysis, value stream mapping, visioning, and redesign are all used to help wring more value from business processes.
In organizations where corporate wide management systems have been installed, there is a tendency to impose consistent business processes on all parts of the company.
In theory, this is great but it fails to take account of the unique circumstances that exist at each location and business unit. Local thinking and methods are often more effective than ideas from elsewhere.
For large scale corporate transformations across multiple sites it is best to lay out standards and expectations but leave the decisions about execution to the local levels.