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Business Analysis Mindset Elevates Maintenance Management – XIII

Integrating business analysis principles into the realm of maintenance unlocks a world of possibilities that can transform maintenance from a cost center into a strategic advantage. Business analysts, equipped with the right tools and mindset, become architects of efficiency, cost reduction, and improved equipment performance.

Traditionally, the world of maintenance management might conjure up images of technicians fixing equipment. However, beneath the surface lies a rich tapestry of practices that extend far beyond basic repairs. Maintenance teams naturally develop and utilize project management and business analysis skills, often without formally recognizing them.

For instance, analyzing equipment failure data to identify root causes and implement corrective actions mirrors core business analysis practices of identifying problems, gathering data, and proposing solutions. Similarly, scheduling preventive maintenance for multiple pieces of equipment requires project management skills like task prioritization, resource allocation, and adherence to timelines. We had reached this understanding through our series of chats starting here: Maintenance, is it a project or a recurring job?

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By honing these underlying project management and business analysis skills, maintenance professionals can elevate their craft. This empowers them to not only fix problems but also manage them, optimize resource allocation, and ultimately, transform maintenance from a reactive function to a strategic value driver for the organization.

Unveiling the Power of Business Analysis: What is BA?

Business analysis is the practice of understanding business needs and recommending solutions to address them. BA professionals act as a bridge between business stakeholders (e.g., executives, operations managers) and execution teams (e.g., sales, supply chain, maintenance, projects), ensuring that solutions align with organizational goals. In the context of maintenance, business analysis provides a strategic lens to examine current practices. For instance, maintenance practioners with BA -Business Analysis- skills might analyze historical maintenance records to identify equipment with recurring breakdowns. This information can then be used to develop a preventative maintenance plan, preventing costly downtime and extending equipment lifespan.

Beyond identifying inefficiencies, BA professionals develop data-driven solutions for optimized maintenance plans. This can involve collaborating with maintenance teams to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that track the effectiveness of current practices. Examples of relevant KPIs might include mean time between failures (MTBF) or mean time to repair (MTTR). By monitoring these metrics, BAs can identify areas for improvement and propose adjustments to maintenance schedules or resource allocation bringing more reliability into the organization.

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How the BA -Business Analysis- mindset transforms your approach

Imagine yourself no longer just putting out fires, but becoming a proactive problem solver. Instead of simply reacting to breakdowns in equipment or processes, you’d be analyzing data and trends to predict potential issues before they arise. This shift in perspective is the essence of the Business Analysis (BA) mindset, and it can be applied just as effectively in non-financial areas as it is in finance.

Here’s how the BA mindset transforms your approach:

  • From Reactive to Proactive: You transition from simply fixing problems to understanding the root causes behind them. Let’s say you work in customer service. Instead of just resolving complaints, you’d analyze data to identify recurring issues. This could reveal a confusing website form leading to customer frustration. By proposing a user-friendly redesign, you proactively prevent future complaints. This is equally valid for external and internal customers. One of the key signs of maintenance mindset growth is the shift to be care givers for internal customers.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: You become a champion for data-driven decision making. No longer relying solely on intuition or gut feeling -which are equally important-, you leverage data to identify trends and patterns. For instance, a marketing manager might analyze website traffic data to understand which marketing campaigns are generating the most leads. Equally, a maintenance manager might analyze the failure effects and reach to a priority list of the tasks based on this. This data-driven approach allows for resource allocation based on effectiveness, maximizing marketing ROI.

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The BA mindset equips you to be a critical thinker, asking the “why” behind problems and proposing solutions based on evidence. This shift empowers non-financial professionals to become strategic partners within their organizations, driving efficiency and optimizing processes for long-term success.

Shifting Gears: The Maintenance Analysis Mindset

The traditional maintenance mindset prioritizes short-term fixes and minimizing downtime. A mechanic facing a broken machine might prioritize a quick repair to get it back online as soon as possible. However, the business analysis mindset encourages a broader perspective. BA professionals delve into the “why” behind maintenance needs. They analyze maintenance data to identify trends, such as a spike in repairs for a specific equipment type during a particular season. This could indicate a design flaw or environmental factor contributing to the failures. In other word Reliability was not considered in its design or acquisition.

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By analyzing root causes, BA professionals can recommend preventative measures beyond simple repairs. For instance, the seasonal spike in repairs might necessitate implementing a preventative maintenance schedule specifically for that equipment type during that time period. This shift from reactive to preventive maintenance fosters a culture of continuous improvement, ultimately reducing overall costs and improving equipment lifespan.

Sharpening Your Toolkit: Essential Skills for the BA Pro

To excel in the field of business analysis, a robust skillset is crucial. Here are some key areas of focus:

– Business Acumen: A strong understanding of core business functions allows BAs to identify the impact of maintenance practices on overall operations. For example, a BA working in a manufacturing facility would need to understand how equipment downtime translates into lost production and revenue. In other words, linking business results to operational processes.

– Requirements Gathering and Analysis: BAs gather stakeholder input through interviews, surveys, and workshops. They define maintenance needs based on this input, considering factors such as equipment criticality, regulatory compliance requirements, and production schedules. Once needs are defined, BAs prioritize them based on their alignment with business objectives. For instance, a critical piece of equipment needed for core production might require an investment in an on-condition maintenance detection tool. Or for example more frequent preventative maintenance tasks compared to a less critical machine.

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– Data Analysis and Visualization: Effectively analyzing maintenance data uncovers trends, helps predict equipment failures, and facilitates informed decision-making. BAs leverage various data analysis tools to identify patterns and relationships within maintenance records. They then translate this complex data into clear and concise visualizations, such as charts and graphs, for easy consumption by stakeholders who may not have a technical background.

– Communication and Collaboration: BAs or team members with BA skills, must bridge the gap between technical teams and business stakeholders. They need to translate complex information about maintenance needs and data analysis into clear communication for all parties involved. This might involve presenting findings to executives in a boardroom setting or working alongside mechanics to develop practical preventative maintenance procedures.

Business Analysis in Action: Transforming Maintenance

Equipped with the right tools and mindset, business analysts can significantly improve maintenance practices:

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– Optimizing Maintenance Schedules: Data analysis allows for needs-based scheduling, reducing unnecessary maintenance for low-risk equipment while focusing resources on critical assets. For instance, a BA might analyze historical data for a fleet of company vehicles and determine that certain low-mileage vehicles can extend their service intervals between oil changes. This frees up maintenance technicians to focus on equipment critical to core operations.

– Cost Reduction Measures: Identifying inefficient practices and prioritizing preventive maintenance reduces unexpected breakdowns and associated repair costs. BA professionals can analyze past maintenance records to identify equipment with a high frequency of breakdowns. This information can then be used to investigate root causes and implement preventative measures, ultimately reducing the need for costly repairs.

– Improved Resource Management: By analyzing equipment data and maintenance schedules, BAs can identify bottlenecks in the maintenance process. For example, a BA might discover that a specific type of equipment requires a specialized technician who is frequently booked. This information can be used to justify hiring an additional technician or cross-training existing personnel to address the resource gap. Ultimately, BA practices ensure that resources are allocated efficiently based on criticality and maintenance needs, preventing delays and optimizing overall maintenance operations.

– Enhanced Equipment Performance: Predictive maintenance approaches minimize downtime and improve the overall lifespan of equipment. BAs analyze data to predict potential equipment failures based on wear and tear patterns. This allows for proactive maintenance interventions, such as replacing critical components before they fail. By preventing catastrophic breakdowns, predictive maintenance minimizes downtime, protects equipment investments, and ensures smooth operational continuity.

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In Conclusion,

Integrating business analysis principles into the realm of maintenance unlocks a world of possibilities. By shifting from reactive repairs to a proactive, data-driven approach, businesses can transform maintenance from a cost center into a strategic advantage. Business analysts, equipped with the right tools and mindset, become architects of efficiency, cost reduction, and improved equipment performance. In today’s competitive landscape, organizations that leverage BA to elevate their maintenance practices pave the way for a more resilient, operationally sound, and ultimately, successful future.

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By Rezika

I intend to create a better-managed value adding working environment.
Projects and Maintenance Manager with broad experience in industrial plants. Managed Projects and applied different maintenance strategies and improvements tasks in different industrial plants: steel, cement, and food industries.

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