December 29, 2015
New Year, New Facility
The end of the year is fast approaching, and with it comes the obligatory annual reporting. For many facility managers and maintenance professionals, this can be a time of great stress. For clever reliability gurus, however, it is a time to reflect and learn from past mistakes.
Without a doubt, no one, and we mean no one, likes to receive bad news, especially when it comes to job performance. While it may be unpleasant to learn that all of your efforts throughout the year led to an imperfect job, try to look at things a different way. Failure, on any level, is an opportunity; it is a chance to better yourself, your department, and ultimately your company"s bottom line. No one is perfect, after all, from the grizzled maintenance worker to those who are new to the reliability industry. Mistakes are bound to happen, and as the old saying goes, the moment you think you've made no mistakes is the moment when something is definitely wrong.
Year-over-year reporting standards typically dictate that you outperform the previous year"s quarter and usually the year itself. While this can wear on a maintenance manager"s soul, rejoice in the fact that it is not designed this way solely for profit; it is also a way to ensure that the company grows in other ways as well. Growth is the lifeblood of a company and the only real way to increase cash flow and profit margins. This filters down through every level of the company and particularly the maintenance and facility department, where poor processes can turn the department into a cost factory instead of a profit center.
The end of the year is also a great time to look outside of reporting statistics and take inventory of all manner of things. For starters, if you have any excess budget that you need to use up before year's end, now is a good time to re-invest that in a way that will pay dividends going forward, namely through employee education programs. Making sure your workers are up to speed on the latest regulations and maintenance techniques is an excellent way to boost morale and productivity while starting the year off on the right foot.
Looking back over the year, you can also get a good feel for how many spare parts you needed, how machines performed during peak hours, how many pieces of equipment you needed to replace, and the amount of labor you required. All of these factors will help you create a better, more efficient budget, both from a scheduling perspective and a monetary viewpoint.
Finally, looking back through your files (hopefully courtesy of a handy-dandy piece of computerized maintenance management software, or CMMS) can let you see any past unexpected issues that occurred so that you can seek to avoid them in the upcoming year, all courtesy of a little preventative and proactive maintenance.
So as the clock rapidly ticks down to the big ball drop on New Year"s Eve, drop the stress and put things in perspective. Make a list of maintenance resolutions and turn those negatives into positive opportunities.
And be mindful of too much celebratory champagne!