Managing Maintenance Resources Productively

Peter Drucker, "guru" of modern management, says that the task of a business, any business, is to make resources—labor, material, capital—productive. The work of management, he says, is to manage those resources through planning, organizing, integrating, measuring, and controlling activities appropriate to that purpose.

The most significant deficiency associated with the maintenance process at many plants is a "systemic" one: that is, there are insufficient administrative principles, practices, and procedures currently in place for adequate control of maintenance resources.

This is not usually a question of management competence, ability, or oversight, but simply a lack of management systems with which to do the job.

Maintenance improvement must start with good management processes.  Establishing at least the rudiments of good maintenance practices is the foundation of any improvement effort.

To make maintenance resources more productive requires the implementation of appropriate planning methods, organizational structures, and measurement and control techniques so as optimally manage and control the maintenance process with respect to:

  • its direction; that is, its role in relation to explicit corporate strategic goals and objectives;
  • its quality;
  • the quantity it turns out in given time and with a given input of resources;
  • its standards of performance;
  • its economy; that is, the efficiency with which it utilizes its resources.

There are at least five areas (usually needing improvement) that are fundamental to management and control of the maintenance function in general:

  • General administrative practices, procedures, policies
  • Equipment data
  • Work Order Control
  • Preventive (and Predictive) Maintenance (PPM) practices
  • Materials control (parts and materials)

If you are performing in any or all of these areas poorly, your first step should be to establish good maintenance management practices in (at least) these five areas.  If your job is to manage the maintenance function, these five areas are well within your span of control.  In other words, it’s your job; you don’t need permission!

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