Maintenance teams do a lot of great things. There’s no debate about that. But what happens when no one hears about it? The answer: Nothing good.
When maintenance teams don’t measure their success and promote their wins, it leads to everything from low morale to layoffs as the budget gets sliced and diced.
How do you stop this from happening? Show the impact of maintenance. But how do you do that? And what if no one cares? We talked to three Fiixers to answer these questions. You can watch the full conversation below, download and listen to the audio version, or skip down a bit to read a summary of the discussion (with time stamps next to each question in case you want to fast forward and hear the full response).
Five big tips for telling your maintenance team success story
Why is it important to talk about the things your maintenance team does well (1:18)?
It’s all about building a great culture, says Jason Afara, a solutions engineer at Fiix. Celebrating these successes creates a culture of collaboration. Because the entire team is recognized, it promotes team success over individual success and improves conversations about troubleshooting and brainstorming to solve problems. Jason talks more about how he created this sort of culture as a maintenance manager in this article.
What should you do when other departments aren’t aware of the impact of maintenance (2:38)?
The key is breaking out of the “What have you done for me lately” relationship between maintenance and the rest of the organization, says Jason. Metrics like work order completions or health and safety data highlight where maintenance is spending their time and the impact this has.
What can go wrong if you don’t talk about your maintenance team’s success (4:11)?
When the maintenance team isn’t vocal about its wins, it can come back and bite the department at budget time, says Scott Deckers, Fiix’s customer success manager. When maintenance doesn’t share its successes on a regular basis, business leaders can’t see the return on investment. Maintenance is then one of the first things on the chopping block when budgets are cut.
How should maintenance teams be defining success (7:02)?
Stuart Fergusson, Fiix’s lead solutions engineer, suggests starting with metrics that connect maintenance to operational success. Some of the numbers to track include clean startups and failed inspections. Both of those measurements showcase how the maintenance team prevents loss and increases production capacity.
How do you create a culture where maintenance successes are shared and celebrated by everyone in an organization (10:31)?
Every conversation you have with someone outside of maintenance, whether it’s in the lunchroom or boardroom, is a chance to create that culture, says Scott. Spread the word about maintenance and its importance to the company every chance you get. Look for opportunities to tie maintenance to the goals of other departments or the goals of the company.
What are some strategies for sharing maintenance wins with business leaders (12:11)?
It all starts with cold, hard facts, says Jason. You always have to be prepared with numbers to back up the story of your maintenance team’s success. Show why spending time and money on maintenance is worth it. One example is being able to connect the actions of maintenance to increased throughput.
What happens if no one cares about your maintenance team’s success story or if it doesn’t get a positive response (14:09)?
If you’re not getting the reaction you’re expecting, you’re not presenting the information the right way, says Stuart. To ace the delivery, you have to know your audience. Find out how they’re being evaluated and what long-term and short-term success means to them. Then, tell that person how maintenance helps them achieve their goals.
How do you tell your maintenance success stories to those outside your company (19:19)?
Scott points to three avenues for promoting your maintenance team’s wins outside your organization: Professional associations (like PEMAC or SMRP), industry podcasts (who are always looking for both listeners and guests), and networking opportunities offered by vendors.
How can maintenance professionals tell their own success stories (21:03)?
If you want to talk about what you’ve done well, talk about what your team has done well, says Jason. Some examples of that include:
- Talking about a time you lead a big project and the impact it had
- Explaining how you set up your team to be successful after you’ve moved on
- Identifying the steps you took to improve communication between departments
How do you tell the story about a loss (24:38)?
No team wins all the time. But embracing those failures is a sign of maturity for maintenance teams, says Stuart. It allows you to properly analyze and prevent them from happening again. Then, you can tell the story of a solution, not a problem. When building this story, ask yourself, how can I use what I learned to systematically eliminate the cause of failure?
Bonus footage: Fiix customer Tom Dufton talked about how he was able to hire an extra team member by identifying gaps in his maintenance program. You can check out the clip here (skip to 20:26 for the details).
When the maintenance team wins, everyone wins
Scoring wins is important for the maintenance team. But becoming an all-star operation means going the extra step and talking about those successes across your organization. And don’t stop there. Create a culture of winning by celebrating every team’s accomplishments. When production has the perfect shift, celebrate. When you ace an audit, celebrate. And when the inevitable losses put a stumbling block in your way, celebrate it as an opportunity. You can always learn something from the things that go wrong and turn that into a win down the line.