Let’s talk about the elephant in the room…
If you’re a maintenance professional, I’m sure you’ve felt the tense atmosphere between maintenance and operations.
When I speak to maintenance teams, these are some of the common complaints about their Operations colleagues…
- They won’t give us access to the equipment. How can we maintain it and ensure reliability if we can’t get access?
- They refuse to do very basic frontline maintenance and expect our maintenance technicians to do it for them. They’re wasting our time!
- They want everything fixed tomorrow! Why is something so urgent if we have a perfectly good standby machine running?!
- Or… they simply don’t look after the equipment. Don’t they see and hear?!
Now, when I speak to the Operations team and hear what they say about us maintenance folks…
I’ll spare you from that!
But look, in this line of work, these squabbles are normal.
But we have to make sure it stays at the level of squabbles and doesn’t become engrained in the organisation and culture.
No matter how much we argue… remember that maintenance and operations are both working towards the same goal…
To make the plant as safe and profitable as it should be.
That’s why it’s important that we work together. We need to realise that we simply approach that common goal from different directions.
Sadly, in a highly reactive maintenance environment, communication becomes a lot harder than it should be.
Here’s what often happens:
Since maintenance is so busy fighting fires, it takes time before they can fix the equipment that the operations team needs.
And operations wants their equipment fixed ASAP.
This is partly because they don’t trust maintenance. Things take too long. And they don’t get answers fast because maintenance is ‘so busy’.
And since the equipment isn’t getting fixed as fast as they want it to be, they scream louder and louder until someone jumps and gets it fixed.
Sure, that’s one way to prioritise…
But the problem is… that often makes the reactive environment worse. It stops maintenance from properly preparing the work and increases waste in the organisation.
In my experience, if you want a space where the two teams can communicate clearly and build a professional working relationship… you first need to create a stable working environment.
One that nurtures teamwork, builds trust, establishes shared priorities, and allows you to demonstrate to operations that the work is getting done.
And you can’t have that when you’re still running around fighting fires and chasing missing parts.
That’s why the first step is improving your productivity through Maintenance Planning & Scheduling.
If you want to learn how to create a more stable working environment in your plant through Maintenance Planning & Scheduling, then you can check out our online course.
Inside the course, you’ll learn how to increase your team’s productivity by up to 35% WIHOUT hiring new people.