Operations and Maintenance = Production – Parts 1 through 5
Christer Idhammar, Founder IDCON INC
In this and following columns, I will elaborate concerning the vital relationship between operations, engineering, and maintenance. In this first column, I will focus on the relationship between operations and maintenance. I have written about this before, but the question has come up very frequently in the last year, so it is worth repeating some of the information.
From my experience, it is more common than not to find that the working relationship between operations and maintenance is one of adversity instead of a relationship of close and productive cooperation. Operations often sees itself as the customer of maintenance, and, consequently, maintenance is viewed as a service provider. In such a relationship, it should be obvious that operations is responsible for the cost of the maintenance work it requests and gets delivered. However, in a bad relationship, this is not the case. As long as maintenance work requests are performed, operations views maintenance as the good guys. But, if at the end of the year it shows that the maintenance budget is exceeded, it is not unusual to find the maintenance manager in the hot seat having to explain why more money than budgeted was spent.
ESTABLISH THE RIGHT FOCUS. If you agree with the ideas presented in the August column—that the relationship between operations and maintenance should be a partnership, not a customer/supplier relationship—the next step in promoting this partnership is to establish the right focus in your joint improvement effort.
A JOINT VENTURE. One thing is to agree that operations and maintenance are equal partners in a joint venture resulting in reliable production. Another thing is to make it happen, and, to make it happen, you need to do things differently than you have done in a customer-supplier relationship. For example, you should:
PROMOTING PARTNERSHIPS. To make a partnership between maintenance and operations successful, you need to do things differently than you have done in a customer-supplier relationship. For example, you should:
VISION AND MISSION STATEMENTS.
As most of us know, vision and mission statements do not always exist, and, if they do exist, they are seldom well-communicated or understood. Not long ago, I sat in a meeting to discuss these statements with a group of operations and maintenance managers from a large international company, along with their vice president of manufacturing. After presenting the many different statements used in different plants, it all became very confusing. “Do we all understand the difference between vision and mission?” a frustrated manager asked. It showed that most people in the meeting could not clearly define the difference, yet they all had documented statements.
Christer Idhammar started his career in operations and maintenance 1961. Shortly after, in 1985, he founded IDCON INC in Raleigh North Carolina, USA. IDCON INC is now a TRM company. Today he is a frequent key note and presenter at conferences around the world. Several hundred successful companies around the world have engaged Mr. Idhammar in their reliability improvement initiatives.