It may look simple but sometimes we continue to insist on doing things that we don’t understand. We can see that we don’t understand a topic or a situation when the results come in random patterns. Sometimes the results are satisfactory, sometimes not, why? We don’t know. To cut this random chaos pattern, we need to chose to stop and revert back on what we missed. You might not reform all the maintenance problems and performance with a one silver bullet. At least, you need to mark a start point, and draw a line that you will follow consistently to achieve results.
Refusing to admit that we are at square zero and we have some missing foundations will keep our structure shaky. We need extra efforts to sustain it but it is still unstable. After the extra efforts and much sweat, the problem is solved. If we didn’t start to reform our foundation supposing that we won’t face the same problem again, this usually won’t work. We shall face the same problem disguised under other name. One day, it the problem was in the water supply pumps. However the problem that came a month later was in the hydraulic system. Three or four months later it was the wastes discharge pump. Still, we are refusing to question the basics. How good are the skills of the team repairing the motors or the pumps? How was the alignment? Why the inspection rounds brings no early alarms? and so on….
What type of help you can ask for?
There are three main categories of the support you might need. The physical support i.e. a helping hand. A logistic support i.e. in most planning support that can come from other business units or external consultants. A mentor i.e. a second eye.
The physical support
It can be temporary i.e. upon need., permanent or scheduled
Temporary support, It is needed upon the emergence of a sudden situation. Those sudden situation are not every time a failure or a big problem. It might be a simply a presentation for the board, an article on the company online magazine, or using sheets to prepare the budget. If you are not skilled or at least comfortable with any of those needs it is better to ask for support. The failures, sudden troubles, new equipment might need extra manpower or equipment to handle the situation.
This temporary physical support can come from other teams or service providers. So it is wise to scan your local environment within the workplace, the city or nearby cities to know where you can ask for help.
Permanent support, either additional manpower, additional tools or equipment, outsourcing. If you are at pressure all the time, failures are repeated, repair is never on time or never complete, then you need to extend your current capabilities. This extensions might be soft as a training on PLC troubleshooting, vibration basics. Or it might be a mobile lifting crane or a thermal imaging camera. It might be a new calibrated torque wrench or a vibrometer. It also might be ab extra member in the team. An assistant technician to offload the preparation from the maintainers. A planner who assembles all the needed information, schedules and look after the feedback. You might outsource an activity completely like the HVAC system repair and maintenance or the motor rewinding.
Scheduled support, that’s like the permanent support but not available all time. just during some prescheduled timing to provide support. You might need some extra manpower for the shutdown days or extra lifting crane or so. You don’t need those extras 24/7.They are just needed during specific times that I need them in. This will create a perfect balance in the cost and availability between the permanent ownership of the extra resources and the sudden call for them.
The Logistic support
The Logistics means moving people, machines, or services between two points. However, the effort to plan and arrange those movements are much bigger and more important then the literal result of moving the items. The logistic firms need to ensure:
- Timely picking up and delivery,
- This timing includes any transitions or cross connection
- Proper handling capability or capacity for the type of the service.
- Any legalizations related to moving the good or service or crossing the borders
That’s exactly when we have enough resources or believe that we have enough resources and then the results from the maintenance activities are not satisfactory. Also the need for a logistic support might come from the continues conflicts during the maintenance execution which stresses the team and the other teams. One area that needs good logistic management is the spare parts control. This involves storage, retrieval, movement and reorder levels. In any business, there are usually storage for the raw material and final product and their necessary logistics. You in the maintenance can rely on their services or experience in managing the maintenance spare parts. However you should be aware that the technical descriptions, handling and storage of some items might need your maintenance experience field.
That’s more or less like asking for the support of a consultant. The consultant would be from the field you want support in. Example: a consultant who is having the experience of maintaining paper manufacturing or auto manufacturing. He has the industry experience with all its tips and tricks . But, he might not have the direct knowledge of one of the machine brands in your workplace. He is not from the technical support of this machine and every machine. However the experience is built up from getting involved in many manufacturing locations. Then till he can conclude the theme of the machines in this industry or the theme of maintenance in general. That’s how he can help you in correctly putting together the pieces of the puzzle of the available maintenance assets vs the needed maintenance tasks.
A mentor support
I like this definition of a mentor “A mentor is a person who provides you with the tools, guidance, support, and feedback you need to thrive in your career. He is like a friend who can successfully guide you through life’s twists” from themuse. Whether he is a colleague, a friend, a partner or an external character, he helps you see more opportunities in different life or business situations. He helps you see from a helicopter view or at least reduces or points out your bias toward certain topics.
If you practiced for a while to delve deep inside yourself, ask and receive the feedback, you can find this mentor inside you. It is like a narrator linking an information that is stored within you either from a situation, a talk or a book to the current situation. This internal sound is usually pointing out a new direction or a view angle that the chaos of the current situation blocks it. You can start using it in simpler smaller situations till you get used to each other.
One important note regarding your mentor; he is not your boss. In other words; He is not supposed to force you to do something; And you should not follow his advices word by word.
Humans and other creatures live in tribes because they need each other’s support. Some of us might think that the call for help diminishes their worthiness. That’s an ill illusion. The proper and timely call for support will save us and our organizations bigger problems in blurry situations. This support can be as soft as an idea, a chat or similar support or it can be the quick supply of a missing spare part. In this chat we had gone through the main types of support we might need to streamline our maintenance work; When to know that we need support; And what it can give us.
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