July 24, 2023
How To Be A Good Maintenance Manager
Everyone wants to do well on the job. For the few who don't, they usually receive a "we wish you well in your future endeavors" notification before being handed a box filled with their personal items from the office. For me to relate to the question of how to be a good maintenance manager, I have to come at it from my own experience as a martial arts club owner/operator/instructor. Let's delve into ten aspects to see how my background relates to the maintenance department supervisor.
Know Your Stuff
I spent nearly two years earning the rank of black belt. Then, a couple more years involved in instructor training. Much of the time was "on the job," along with the requisite seminars and other classes. Much of the material became repetitive, but there were always new ideas to share. Also, I was developing my "style" of instructing.
A maintenance manager "comes up through the ranks" with mechanical, engineering, and repair skills. He or she might have been an apprentice and most likely learned on the job. This training probably included proper preventive maintenance practices.
Know your Team
I had a few co-instructors who helped in classes. We all became friends, and I came to rely on them when circumstances kept me away from classes. I learned what skills they had and gave them responsibilities fitting those skills.
Each maintenance worker favors and enjoys certain types of jobs. A manager understands when individuals are beneficial and when crews and crafts are required.
Know Your Assets
My taekwondo classes were held in various locations throughout the years. I had to use the space of each building and classroom to the best advantage. This meant organizing and regular cleaning.
If the company has a maintenance department, it has assets. Buildings and property. Various equipment, machinery, and vehicles. A manager needs to be as familiar with each as possible, understanding their functions and proper care. Asset management entails learning which equipment is regulated, which are critical, and the depreciation value of each.
Know Your Inventory
My classes used a variety of materials. Blocker pads, kick bags, and other exercise and training items. I also kept storage containers full of belts, patches, uniforms, and sparring gear. I had to be aware of what and how much I had so I didn't order too much.
Maintenance managers are no different regarding the stockroom. They have to know what the items are used for, the quantities, how long they've been stored, and the cost of having them.
Know Your Role
Was I friend, instructor, guide, counselor, businessman, marketer, or involved in community relations? Sometimes, I was a combination of those. As owner, I was the first person parents met when discussing enrollment. I was the person to hear complaints and deal with problems. I was the final decision-maker for the club.
Maintenance managers wear a lot of hats as well. They're the go-to people when issues come up. They're in charge of employees, assets, and inventory. All of these are expenditures in one form or another. One of the responsibilities of those
For more leadership qualities, read this article. Let me highlight two of those roles more specifically.
Know How to Communicate
This was a foundational point for how classes operated. I had to communicate clearly the goals for each session, provide class instruction on techniques, proper guidance, and correction, have professionalism with parents and community leaders, and explain the class curriculum to co-instructors. When I realized my message wasn't getting through, I had to adjust.
Managers of maintenance departments are no different. They have to communicate with coworkers both above and below them in the company hierarchy. Perhaps they'll deal with vendors for purchases.
With the maintenance team, a lot of communications will come in the form of work orders. Clear job steps, safety procedures, bill of materials, and any other bit of information so the worker better understands.
Know How to Delegate
I gave co-instructors and higher-ranked students instruction so they could instruct. Sometimes, I divided the class into smaller groups. Each worked on a variety of techniques and exercises, and each was led by a different person. Yes, I kept an overview of everything, but the smaller groups benefited instructors and students.
Know Your Team
Dispatch those work orders to the best people. Helping others to succeed by not leaving them out of the loop and not having anyone feel unimportant makes for better success for everyone.
Know How to Cede Authority
This is part of delegating. Often, my co-instructors were authorized to prepare class planners and run classes even when I was present. Many class warm-ups were led by students.
Maintenance managers may permit others to authorize work requests/orders and purchase requests/orders. The manager may have to rely on others for those authorizations, especially on purchases.
Know the Productivity Level
My co-instructors and I discussed a particular class or a cycle of classes to determine how well we did and how well the students learned the materials. Were we getting everything we could out of the students? Did they still have untapped potential? If so, in what areas? How did we adjust the curriculum to reach that potential?
The maintenance manager should focus on attainment, on-time compliance reports, and work order comments. Analyze reasons jobs that took longer than expected. Adjust the estimates for jobs where the work was completed sooner than anticipated.
Know Your Dollars and Sense
My taekwondo income came from monthly dues, testing fees, and inventory sales. I had to be aware of my expenses in fees to my parent organization, rent, and how much I spent on supplies. Beyond that, I had to be aware of driving time, motel accommodations, food, and gas purchases for some of the longer trips.
Of course, maintenance managers need to be aware of costs. Assets, inventory, and labor. Yes, maintenance is an operating expense, but it must be kept within budget. The factors within asset and inventory management affect those costs.
My club was too small to benefit from a computerized maintenance management system. If I had a chain of studios, such a system would be a handy "tool" to use. I could oversee maintenance for all locations in one database.
A CMMS is great software for a wide range of industries. Manufacturing, ethanol plants, grain elevators, aeronautics, racing fuels, resorts, hospitals, and churches are only a handful where such a system can be used. Maintenance managers who still use spreadsheets are limited in the scope of functions to be had that a CMMS provides. From assets and inventory, purchasing to human resources, and barcoding. And those all-important reports? A quality system will provide plenty of filters to hone the numbers down to what you want.
There are many factors to being a good maintenance manager. With training, practice, and some know-how, the maintenance department can be led to better productivity and help keep the rest of the company on track for success. Utilizing a CMMS goes a long way toward that success. Maintenance organization is the goal.
Mapcon Technologies has a superb CMMS that has benefited businesses for over forty years. To see more details, visit the products section at Mapcon.