MRO Magazine

Improve communication flow between maintenance managers and technicians

January 8, 2018 | By Bryan Christiansen

Things don’t always go as planned – and for managers, it’s understanding this unpredictability that could help them bolster growth. What do you do if a technician unexpectedly has to take a day off? Or an equipment stops working? Or anything else that comes up just to mess up your schedule?

This results in work priority changes, due date changes and work assignment changes. If you want to keep everything running smoothly, you need to have your team informed on time and with the right message.

According to a Salesforce study, 96 per cent of office executives believe that lack of proper collaboration is what leads to workplace failures. Another study by the McKinsey Global Institute found out that employees who are more connected are expected to perform better than those who are not.

What you need is clear and faster communication between maintenance managers and technicians so they are able to keep everything on track even if some things go out of alignment.


Inefficient communication

For most organizations, the communication flow among maintenance teams and technicians still remains a point of concern.

Poor communication leads to inefficient results even if you all have access to modern equipment.

Here are some things that can happen:

  • Delays in production and fall in productivity
  • Same tasks being performed twice
  • Low priority work being done before high priority work due to miscommunication
  • Deadlines getting missed
  • Work delayed because critical spare parts run out of stock without anyone knowing
  • No preventive measure set out for the team to follow
  • Machines and other equipment not available in the inventory
  • Prolonged downtimes
  • Reported problems not being resolved due to poor documentation and/or communication

Ensure better communication flow

By streamlining and centralizing maintenance communication, you can eliminate a huge amount of emails, phone calls and thus manages to save time that can be diverted to more productive activities. As a result, your company gets reduced workload, increased wrench time, better flow of information and happier employees.

Maintenance managers can look at the following to help improve the overall productivity.

1. Improved Accessibility of Records

Let there be only one point of access of data for all – from technical sheets to equipment records.

To do that, you may want to look at storing all of it online, so that both managers and technicians can get what they need, without having to really look for it.

This will help to improve the response time as well as recovery time. Additionally, it will also lower the amount of time required to diagnose the problem because you have the equipment’s work history at your fingertips.

Note that if you really want to take advantage of having all of your data in one place, you should have the ability to access these records through a mobile device. Being able to get all of the necessary information from your mobile device is a huge factor in increasing the accessibility of maintenance records.

2. Eliminate time spent on clarifications

One of the best ways to eliminate time spent on clarifications is to have a more standardized maintenance process. This is especially helpful in situations when you have multiple technicians working on the same project and when the work spans across several shifts.

There is no other way around it, CMMS and similar maintenance software is the fastest way to having more standardized maintenance processes. You just have to make sure that everyone knows how to use it properly.

For example, effective CMMS software will allow you to leave comments on each Work Order, as you would on Facebook. Whenever someone makes a new comment, you can get a notification with a link to that WO’s comments. This way, everyone is constantly in the loop.

Another way to streamline maintenance procedures and avoid unnecessary costs is by creating fixed maintenance responsibilities. Technicians need to be well aware of their responsibilities – including things like the need for daily oiling of equipment.

Last but not least, you should focus on is ensuring that your technicians get detailed problem descriptions, and troubleshooting charts from the equipment’s manufacturer. This will ensure that they don’t have to waste time on prolonged inspections whenever a critical malfunction occurs.

Sometimes, eliminating the need for communication is the way to improve it.

3. Focus on the workflow

What are the bottlenecks in your organization? Fixing a problem is great, but understanding the underlying condition that caused it is even better. Try to understand what is causing bottlenecks so you can apply the proper solution.

Here is a list of several things that could improve the workflow:

  • Having a more standardized maintenance process
  • Creating balanced maintenance schedules
  • Have a designated communication channel for both regular tasks and emergencies
  • Don’t expect technicians to multi-task; keep it simple and focused
  • Focus on dealing with the difficult work first
  • Ensure technicians have enough breaks – it could significantly affect productivity and morale

4. Make use of computerized maintenance management software

Most of the advice we covered so far works best in conjunction with a proper maintenance management system.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone as the main goal of any CMMS is to improve productivity and reduce maintenance costs.

CMMS can make the work of maintenance managers easier and allow technicians to take the day-off without driving the team crazy. Maintenance schedules can now be automated, improving productivity and predictability of inventory needs – with developments being monitored through both mobile phones or desktop computers.

With a CMMS software, maintenance managers don’t have to waste time waiting for handwritten reports any longer. All the maintenance operations can be tracked and supervised in real time.

Some additional advantages:

  1. Easy access to all the past records of intervention.
  2. Track all equipment easily online.
  3. Check and confirm scheduled interventions with other employees.
  4. Prepare automated intervention reports and deliver to those who need it.
  5. Find any information for any machine in just a few clicks
  6. Real-time reporting of equipment failures

Do more with better communication!

While technicians and maintenance managers have to work closely with each other, problems can crop up, creating barriers between the two groups.

The right communication and fast information flow can help negate it – and we hope that these tips will help you do exactly that.

Bryan Christiansen is founder and CEO at Limble CMMS. Limble is a mobile first, modern and easy-to-use CMMS software. We help take the stress and chaos out of maintenance by helping managers organize, automate and streamline their maintenance operations.




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