Trumpet your Maintenance Successes

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Posted on May 09

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Trumpet your Maintenance Successes

Here’s the thing: you’ve got to be willing to tell people when you do a great job. This is especially true for maintenance teams: it can be a bit of a thankless task, and people tend to notice when something goes wrong and not question it when things are going right. It’s human nature; we all know it, so we have to work around it.

The OTHER thing is that it sometimes feels a little weird to walk around bragging. That’s something you’ve got to get over. If you have an internal sales team, I can say with a great deal of certainty that every successful goal met is trumpeted far and wide. A goal exceeded sometimes involves a blimp and a parade.

But those sexy sales numbers are not possible if production grinds to a halt. So why do maintenance teams tend to keep a low profile? Probably because they are busy doing maintenance, but we can no longer remain strong and silent. Maintenance teams should brag about their successes and remind everyone they are a critical part of delivering value.

Work small to big

If you’re a maintenance leader, be sure and point out the teams that are crushing it. If you’re a team member and your team does something great, make sure your boss (and your boss’s boss if you’re brave) is aware it happened. If you manage to repair the dilithium crystals by crawling through the Jefferies tube (OK, that’s from Star Trek, but you know what we mean), it’s important you actually tell people: “Otherwise, they’ll never call you the Miracleworker.” And that’s a direct quote from Scotty, a fictional character who knows how to brand himself.

Spreading successes, be it within the maintenance department or without, builds a culture of positivity. That is an attitude worth working for: it benefits everyone. Maintenance teams see their hard work getting noticed. Operational teams know that maintenance is on the job, working towards allowing them to meet their goals—and up the ladder it goes. Perhaps it becomes a site-wide ritual to reward positive results. That sounds pretty good to us.

Be your own PR department

When Rhianna sells a ton of records or her single hits X metric, you can be sure there is a team of flaks ready to hit send on that press release (we’d show an example from her Insta, but it might be seen as a questionable work-related link). Unfortunately, we don’t all have Rhianna’s resources. As such, we must be our own PR team.

Be ready to brag about your team’s successes in meetings or on a person-to-person level. If you know what you’ve done lately and tell people, they will never have to ask “What have you done for me lately.” They will know all about the dilithium crystals (OK, last Star Trek reference, we promise).

However, it’s equally important that you have some facts and figures at your disposal. Which sounds better? “We fixed the drive quickly” or “We fixed the drive 20% faster than normal, increasing uptime without sacrificing safety.” Obviously, the one with a number in it: this is especially true if you’re talking to engineers. The only thing an engineer loves more than a complicated problem to solve is a statement backed with evidence. Which leads us to:

Use the right metric for the right audience

It’s critical to know your audience. Specifically, it’s critical to know what they care about. Information without context is noise. A plant manager might love to hear how much uptime you enabled, or how much unplanned downtime you mitigated. An operations VP would love to know how you ensured productivity remained unaffected by maintenance issues.

This is one of the main reasons HUVR does what it does: putting the right information in front of the right people. Knowing a few key metrics for conversations is fantastic. Being able to send a detailed report with precise numbers, tailored for that audience, is beyond fantastic. It’s literally HUVR’s raison d’être: gather the data, combine and collate the data, get the data to stakeholders.

A maintenance success is an operational success

We’ve nibbled around the edges of this, but here is an important thing to keep in mind: a maintenance success is an operational success. We are certain you already knew this. However, does everyone? Do you think, “Hey, getting my car’s oil changed allowed me to go to the store today. Way to go!” Let’s assume you don’t, because most people think about maintenance as a sunk cost, when in reality it’s a profit center.

There are many ways to accomplish this. You can talk about successful, incident-free start ups; everyone loves those. Another winner is detrimental inspection findings that were addressed with no downtime. If downtime was required, how much? Less than predicted? Get that out into the universe. We are certain you know exactly what talking points work best for your industry or operation.

A word of caution: this kind of thing is all about setting realistic expectations and then meeting or exceeding them. Don’t treat an anomalous quick turnover as the norm. That being said, if you’re clear it won’t always work that way, be sure and let people know.

ABM: Always Be Marketing

Look for non-obvious ways to improve maintenance workflows; or, more likely, be sure and point out the ones you’ve already accomplished. If you have a successful project, create a small write up, clearly explaining the goals and how you met or exceeded them. This will give you something to share and help clarify the narrative. These can also be the stories of failures: how you identified the issue and ensured it will never happen again. A failure is just the first paragraph of a success story. Not only are you capturing excellent lessons learned, you are generating a great story about your team

Either way these stories need to be captured and documented as lessons learned so as to make them repeatable through updated work instructions to deliver continuous improvement.

This all amounts to marketing: We’ll thank you to not throw any rotten veggies. Marketing is nothing more than bragging with graphics. If you can tell the tale of how you restarted the engines so the Enterprise could make Warp 3 (we lied about there being no more Star Trek references), you’re marketing your team. And all teams need good marketing.

Conclusion: Maintenance is a heroic profit-center

Doesn’t that sound good? We think so. We also think that someone would be wary of cutting its budget, especially with all those successes they are producing. Are you picking up what we’re putting down?

Ensuring you are spreading the good work of the maintenance teams is a great way to raise your profile and create a culture of positivity. It also keeps your value top-of-mind, especially when you ensure the right info is delivered to the right eyes. Don’t be shy about demonstrating the essential value your team delivers.

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