10 Tips to Improve Your Maintenance Strategy

9th June 2016
9th June 2016

Years ago, when I was starting out in this business, I worked with a smart, crusty old guy named Frank.

Frank said what he meant, and he meant what he said. I’m not sure why, but Frank liked me. I took it as a compliment, because he didn’t like a lot of people. We’d eat lunch together in the breakroom, where I’d share my frustrations and he’d gruffly offer advice—including this ditty:

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

For years I’ve shared that quote (which Frank borrowed from Arthur Ashe) with maintenance managers who are researching or implementing or upgrading CMMS software. Today, CMMS software makes it easier to get started—but you still need to start.

In honor of Frank, I’ve made a list of 10 things you can do to improve your maintenance strategy, wherever you are in the process. Some you may have already done. Some you might do later. Pick one or two, and take Frank’s advice—do what you can.

CMMS Maintenance Tip #1. Document Maintenance Activities

Recording maintenance tasks, activities, repairs, and information in CMMS software is the first step when you are just starting out. You can’t measure anything until you have something to measure.

CMMS Maintenance Tip #2. Plan Ahead

Preventive maintenance tasks are a good start, but planning ahead also applies to everything from scheduling to staffing to purchasing to asset disposal. A goal without a plan is just wishful thinking.

CMMS Maintenance Tip #3. Make Resources Easily Accessible

Don’t waste time looking for stuff. To improve your maintenance strategy, keep the things your team needs (historical records, part information, vendor contact details, manuals, etc.) in easy-to-find places, like your CMMS database.

CMMS Maintenance Tip #4. Automate

Put your available tools to work for you. Use your CMMS software to automate the tedious stuff (data entry, email, request approval), so you can focus on more important things.

CMMS Maintenance Tip #5. Link Parts

Inventory is hard, but the first step is simple. Link parts with your work orders (and your assets), and you are on your way to big goals like controlling the cost of maintenance.

CMMS Maintenance Tip #6. Show Your Progress

Take a moment to remember how far you’ve come. Then share your story. If you don’t sell your program, no one else will.

CMMS Maintenance Tip #7. Get Feedback

Every time I’ve requested feedback, someone has said something that made me see things a little differently. Ask.

CMMS Maintenance Tip #8. Adjust

Maintenance is fluid. As your goals change, your team changes, and your organization changes, adjust your maintenance strategy to fit.

CMMS Maintenance Tip #9. Train Your Staff

Training is the fastest way to improve your maintenance team’s efficiency and get the best return on investment (ROI). And don’t forget about training yourself as well. The payoff is far greater than the cost.

CMMS Maintenance Tip #10. Take Stock

Look at the information you have now. You’ll likely find nuggets that will help you ask different questions and get to bigger goals.

Today’s competitive business environment has increased the pressure on maintenance teams. Yet Frank’s advice is as relevant now as it was then.

Just start.

What would you add to my list? Leave a comment or contact me.

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