Challenges faced by Maintenance Managers

Maintenance managers perform a highly complex range of tasks. Both the productivity and generation of value within asset intensive organizations depend on effective maintenance management programs (ensuring the right things are done) as well as efficient maintenance delivery (ensuring things are done right first time). As the leader of the maintenance organization, maintenance managers directly impact both aspects. As such their role is complex and diverse, requiring continuous long and short-term trade-offs of production, asset integrity, human resources, safety and commercial considerations, all of which impact on one or more functional areas across the organization. The following article discusses some of the challenges maintenance managers face in performing their day-to-day job.

Forecast and prediction

One of the challenges facing the modern maintenance manager is to increase the operational efficiency of the organization and reducing unscheduled downtime by implementing maintenance management programs that appropriately balance preventive, predictive, corrective and replacement options.Balancing these options, are required in order to maximize the productive utilization of these assets over the medium to long-term, while ensuring the integrity thereof, at optimum cost.

This requires maintenance managers to have deep knowledge of the equipment and the facilities under their care, the operational environment and load on these assets, manufacturer's recommendations, guarantees, manuals and instructions. These need to be translated into effective maintenance strategies and detailed task plans that enable forward planning of task such as cleaning, lubrication, inspection, overhaul etc., together with the associated parts, services, tools etc. as well as end of life preplacement planning and budgeting.

Contingency management

Despite the best forward planning, unplanned equipment failures are an ever-present reality, requiring maintenance managers to also be prepared for appropriate contingency management when these do happen.  While the incorporation of an effective reactive maintenance response capability forms an integral part of any well-balanced maintenance program, the challenge for maintenance managers is to identify appropriate response / execution options and strategies.

In this regard, maintenance managers need to improvise and manage the speed of response including logistical support operations (e.g. specialized equipment and services, long delivery parts etc.) necessary to solve, as quickly as possible, faults and failures that may occur unexpectedly..

Cost planning and control

While it may in theory be possible to deploy a perfect technical maintenance program, maintenance managers face the very real challenge of financial budget constraints that limit their planning options. As a result, maintenance managers continually need to balance operational expenditures on technology, labour, parts and service costs, while keeping in mind the impact of these decisions on the long-term productive value of the installed asset base. This require maintenance managers to consider all cost types, including fixed, variable, direct or indirect costs as well as the corresponding depreciation and tax implications.   In this regard it is critically important for maintenance managers to understand the business context of the assets under their care, and the commercial impact of maintenance related decisions and trade-offs, both in the short as well as over the long term.

A particularly challenging area involves the optimization of MRO parts inventory and costs.  On the one hand it is vital to have all the parts, and materials necessary to carry out maintenance tasks, without delaying urgent maintenance tasks. At the same time, it is also important not to carry unnecessary stock, as this negatively impacts operating capital, stores infrastructure and labour costs, while over the longer-term lead to unnecessary write-offs due to losses, obsolescence, or and deterioration.

Coordination of work teams

While maintenance has a primary focus on physical assets and the associated technological/ technical elements thereof, maintenance execution is a people driven process that requires the right balance between process, technology support and leadership.  The planning and coordination of maintenance tasks requires a high degree of people management, communication, negotiation and planning skills.

Knowledge, experience and preparation vary according to the profile of the maintenance organization. Thus, collaborative work is of vital importance. It is important that the maintenance manager helps facilitate communication channels and integrated work between different parts of the organization (e.g. engineering, production, procurement, stores, safety department etc.) as well as within the maintenance organization itself, including, various disciplines, support workshops, service providers etc. Maintenance managers are also expected to contribute / function as part of the senior management team, responsible for making key business, operational and financial decisions. 

Establishing a collaborative work model, in which information can be shared in real time about completed tasks, breakdowns, procedures, expiration dates, etc., is one of the essential challenges of modern maintenance management.

Effective time management

The coordination and monitoring of the maintenance work groups, the assignment of tasks, meetings with vendors and distributors, answering questions, doubts and emails, schematizing work plans and maintenance, and even reacting to all kinds of unforeseen situations, are just Some of the multiple tasks that every maintenance manager must face every day.

The organization, prioritization and execution of each of these activities involve the handling of large amounts of information, immediate access to documents, diagrams and photos, and the ability to share them with the different members of the work team, facilitating the function of each one, and guaranteeing the quality and effectiveness of the work. All this makes the efficient management of time, becomes a daily challenge for the maintenance manager.

FRACTTAL CMMS and the challenges of maintenance management

Cloud-based EAM / CMMS SaaS solutions such as FRACTTAL, has been designed to solve these challenges for maintenance managers.

Fracttal CMMS simplifies maintenance management while enabling maintenance managers to focus on the important decisions required to cost effectively increase the useful life of physical assets. From the first step to record assets in the system to detailed data driven reports on their technical and cost performance, Fracttal manages the end-to end asset life-cycle, and associated life-cycle decisions.

Fracttal CMMS allows maintenance managers to manage all asset and MRO parts related processes, easily and quickly plan and schedule work as well as analyze and report on the performance of assets, people and costs. The system allows maintenance managers to automate and customize work flows for their particular environment, as well as set-up automated alerts and notifications. 

FRACTTAL is the all-in-one solution that, in addition to the CMMS, integrates:

  • Fracttal Box: to connect maintenance technicians and managers with assets. Making use of an extensive sensor platform and the Internet of Things, it gathers all essential information to execute effective predictive maintenance programs,
  • Fracttal On Board:specially designed to monitor the real time status and operation of vehicle fleets, thus avoiding failures and accidents, while prolonging its useful life.
  • Fracttal Mobile: is Fracttal’s 100% native mobile application, which offers technicians and managers the freedom to enter data, assign and execute tasks, access relevant documentation, receive information and instructions or help at a distance, and more.

With a powerful 100% cloud-based database, FRACTTAL offers unlimited data storage capacity. Easy to organize and access, the system allows effective easy planning, integration and workflow automation. It also collects equipment readings, detect and generate automatic alerts when out of range readings are generated or predefined incidents occur that should need to be attended to.

FRACTTA provides built-in statistical analysis tools, which allows to better understand the behavior of the equipment, failure analysis, and the generation of meaningful reports on key performance indicators.

The combination of all these data collection, storage and analysis tools greatly facilitates cost control. With detailed information on the operation of the equipment, and he frequency of maintenance and repairs, FRACTTAL helps to accurately determine and project MRO part requirements, thus allowing inventory and associated cost optimization.

FRACTTAL is the digital tool that will allow organizations of any size and sector to improve productivity, while helping to avoid failures and reduce costs, becoming an element of vital importance for the correct use of resources and the effectiveness of processes.

If you're not a Fracttal CMMS user already, why not sign up for a no-obligation FREE trial account and see how Fracttal CMMS can help you?