April 19, 2016
How to Sabotage Your Maintenance Managers
Recently, a widely read story in national media reported on the sad state of United States Marine Corps" tactical aviation. A highly-regarded reporter for Fox News visited two U.S. Marine Corps air bases and interviewed senior commanders and maintenance officers. In the report, it was discovered that a dangerously low percentage of Marine Aviation assets are available for deployment. Many Marine Corps fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft simply lack the parts to fly at all.
Why? Who is responsible for allowing one of our premier fighting forces to deteriorate into a third-world military outfit with broken down equipment and woefully overworked personnel? Why? Why would the CEO of this, the finest military organization on Earth, allow its readiness to drop to unprecedented levels due to disabled equipment and field-expedient repairs?
Well, this is our nation today. The CEO blames the situation on "the board of directors" - or Congress - for sequestration and mandated cuts. Others such as a recent former secretary of defense hint that deep budget cuts in the Marine Corps and other military services are directed from the administration itself. Regardless, it's safe to assume careerists and those whose interests do not coincide with the nation"s defense are at work here in both places.
"Out of 276 F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters in the Marine Corps inventory, only about 30% are ready to fly, according to statistics provided by the Corps. Similarly, only 42 of 147 heavy-lift CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters are airworthy." - Fox News
In civilian facilities and industry, a similar budget shortfall and the resulting availability rate of, for instance, a mere 30% of a hospital"s mission-critical equipment, or, an assembly line with only 30% of its robotic machines or basic parts available would likely force the shutdown of the entire plant or facility. Employees would lose their jobs. Stock prices would plummet. The bottom line would crash. Heads would roll. But, the nation as it is run today? Nothing happens. The rest of us, though, aren't so fortunate. For the rest of us, failure is simply not an option.
Listen, we all fully understand that if a maintenance manager"s budget to operate is slashed to the bone, there isn't much one can do. In a disastrously unimaginable case like that the maintenance personnel must employ ingenuity, inventiveness and jury-rigging to keep the line rolling. Just as our Marines are doing. Imagine being forced to jury-rig an essential part for an MRI so a severely ill patient can be diagnosed properly. But, if the organizational CEO and the board do not allocate any money, what can one do? No one has to remind a civilian employer what happens next. The best mechanics, supervisors, and technicians leave for more promising careers.
Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) software is, of course, the lifeline that connects civilian maintenance managers with real-world solutions and processes guaranteed not to fail when properly implemented. Maintenance managers could always use a fatter budget, but for most adequate funding is there. Core preventive maintenance and repair work orders ensure relatively high operational readiness. Adequately stocked parts rooms and tool cribs back up trained maintenance personnel on the plant floor or throughout the facility grounds. Civilian staff normally have to battle some degree of inefficiency embedded in nearly every organization. Truthfully, few ever have to face the enormity of the bureaucratic lunacy faced today by our combat Marines.
We are mindful of the huge responsibility that falls to our leadership both nationally and at our local workplace. We all hope they realize that we can do a lot with just a little, but we cannot do much at all with nothing.
This situation is an object lesson for all of us. We all depend on the Marines to defend the homeland and keep us safe. We depend on the technologically advanced businesses and premier facilities that serve our people to keep us employed, healthy and well-educated. We are mindful of the huge responsibility that falls to our leadership both nationally and at our local workplace. We all hope they realize that we can do a lot with just a little, but we cannot do much at all with nothing. Semper Fi, Marines!