What is Accountability in Maintenance Management?
When you hear the word accountability, what do you feel? Fear? Stress? Usually when we hear this word, it’s in reaction to a negative situation – something went wrong and someone will be blamed for the event. You might say that a person must be held accountable for his/her actions, suggesting that there should be some punishment. Due to this association, moving towards a culture of accountability can be challenging.
With that said, it is important to remember that “accountability” is not the same as “blame.” Accountability is being responsible for one’s own actions and the results of those actions, both good and bad. For maintenance managers, the goal of creating a culture of accountability is to improve maintenance processes, not to assign blame. Accountability is a forward-thinking strategy. Your team is made up of problem solvers. Every failure is an opportunity to learn from what went wrong and what could be done to improve the situation or to prevent it from happening in the future.
Creating a Culture of Accountability
Accountability starts with communication. Maintenance managers must help technicians understand what is expected of them, to what standard work will be held, and what deadlines must be met. They also have an obligation to monitor the processes put in place and ensure that procedures are being followed. Being able to express concerns and accept feedback also plays an important role in strengthening communication and maintaining accountability.
The idea of accountability sounds really good on paper, but how does it play out on the plant floor? After all, there’s only one of you – you can’t watch what every person is doing every minute of every day. How can you ensure that your staff members are personally invested in developing and maintaining a culture of accountability? How can you make sure that maintenance is being performed correctly? How can you make sure that employees are staying productive? How will technicians know the specifications for each asset?
One thing you can do is provide tools, like computerized maintenance management software (CMMS), for you and your staff that documents, tracks, and communicates your maintenance process along with detailed feedback on the maintenance performance of your staff.
How a CMMS Improves Accountability
Without a system in place for communicating maintenance requirements and performance expectations, it is difficult for anyone to be accountable for their work. There is no record that can be referenced when there are miscommunications and misunderstandings about a particular job or task. A CMMS helps foster communication by documenting and storing information about your maintenance assets. The following are a few ways in which a CMMS can help improve accountability.
Work Order Tracking
A CMMS helps you create detail-rich work orders and provides you with full visibility of work being done. Using work order software to generate work orders makes it easy to communicate necessary details such as who is responsible for the work, what materials are needed to complete the job, and when the work must be completed. You can also use the CMMS to quickly check the status of work orders and follow up on any tasks that are incomplete or overdue. The work order itself then becomes the reference point for both maintenance manager and technician to discuss.
Preventive maintenance (PM) procedures must be closely followed in order to keep equipment functioning. Because the consequences that may occur from skipped or missed preventive maintenance can be quite serious, it is important that all team members are held accountable for their timely and accurate completion. Preventive maintenance software, like CMMS, can be just the tool you need to keep your team accountable.
Scheduling PMs for a handful of assets may not be much of a problem, but most companies maintain hundreds – if not thousands – of pieces of equipment. Without CMMS, keeping track of these schedules is nearly impossible. Automated work order generation, distribution, and notification ensure that preventive maintenance assignments are not missed or forgotten.
CMMS also helps you standardize PM activities through the use of tasks. Detailed tasks lists communicate your expectations for the work while also serving the purpose of providing step-by-step instructions for technicians to follow. In general, task lists will spell out what must be done, how it should be done, what guidelines or specifications must be met, and approximately how long a task should take. Because they follow the same procedure each and every time, it becomes easy to tell when PMs fall below expectations and where additional training might be needed. This performance evaluation data is most clearly revealed in reports, which are discussed later.
Notifications automate communication about the status of your maintenance activities, helping to ensure that work is not forgotten, lost, or miscommunicated. When a maintenance request or work order is created in CMMS software, notifications can be sent to the right people, letting them know that a new job is waiting.
A CMMS can also be used to implement an approval process for work order closure. As part of this process, notifications can inform a superior that a work order is ready for approval or let someone else know that approval has been given. Securing the approval of others helps facilitate a system of checks and balances that ensures maintenance work is meeting expectations.
A mobile CMMS empowers your staff to use maintenance software from the field. With more access to your maintenance management software, technicians are more likely to report issues on the spot, track tasks and time as they go, and stay productive. CMMS software that includes GPS or GIS functionality can also help you keep track of where employees and assets are located.
Reports and Dashboards
Maintenance reports and dashboards are vital tools for holding your team accountable for its performance. Maintenance management reports help you track productivity, work completion rates, maintenance costs, and more. Dashboards graphically display key performance indicators (KPIs), allowing you to monitor operations at a glance. Analyzing the metrics provided by a CMMS helps you identify areas of improvement, which can be reviewed with your team.
Improve Accountability at Your Facility
Accountability should not be considered a bad word. It is a shared responsibility between team members that can foster more collaboration and accuracy, thereby improving maintenance operations and morale. But creating a culture of accountability requires the right tools. FTMaintenance provides a single platform for managing, documenting, and tracking maintenance activities. Request a demo of FTMaintenance to discover how our maintenance management software can help improve accountability.