Customer-Focused Maintenance Teams Accelerate Revenues & Time-to-Market.
Do Yours?


Paul McNamara

Why are Maintenance Teams so Important?

Because they are responsible for keeping plant and equipment up and running so that orders from customers can be quickly produced, shipped, billed and converted to cash.  Any breakdown in production inevitably leads to shipping delays, dissatisfied customers, slowed payments, reduced profitability, delays to cash and reductions in stock price.  It threatens everyone’s livelihood.

The cascading consequences of poor or unfocused equipment maintenance programs can be catastrophic when you consider the total cost of downtime which also includes the time maintenance teams and their customers spend “reacting” to equipment situations rather than proactively improving their situation by focusing on value-added activities.

What Does it Mean to Be Customer-Focused?

It means helping customers meet or exceed the outcomes they are committed to producing. When maintenance teams know what their customers are looking to produce today, this week, this month, this quarter it gives them the possibility of aligning their actions to optimize those outcomes.  Customers are always going to be concerned with keeping their throughput high and their costs low.

Maintenance teams must manage to keep costs to their customer low, but no lower than it needs to be to keep production flowing as intended. This means that in addition to always having a plan and actions lined up to optimize throughput, managers of these teams must have plans for keeping the cost as low as possible and continually communicating how they are helping with both to their customers.

How Does Our Maintenance Improvement Algorithm Accelerate Results?

The first step in our algorithm is to keep costs low for customers to report downtime issues.  The interface has to be simple to use, easy to adopt, and contain only the information the team needs to begin the response. Our interfaces are designed this way.  This is the first step in our improvement acceleration algorithm.

  • Simplicity / Engagement:  When the interface is simple, people will engage.
  • Data: When people engage, data is collected to stay grounded in the situation and performance using various ServiceTRM Consoles.
  • Focus:  When people are grounded, they use current and historical data to stay focused on the problem at hand and finding the fastest, lowest-cost method to resolve the problem.
  • Accelerated Results: Maintenance teams resolve situations quickly when they have easy access to historical data and focus on what’s important.  The result is satisfied customers.
  • Engagement:  When customers are satisfied they increase engagement and the process for improvement accelerates.

A virtuous cycle of improvements is established where any “blame game” posturing is eliminated and is replaced by team-work and collaboration.  Trust, the foundation for speed, is established and grown, as we discuss in another blog post, Are You Building a Foundation for Speed?

What are the Results?

Our results show that when customers or customer teams engage they produce slightly more than 20% year-over-year improvements to time-to-resolution which has a positive impact on uptime.  As others see results it drives the adoption rate to over 43% annually.  This means that more and better data is accumulated producing better and faster results. The algorithm produces a compounding effect as more people become part of the 20% annual improvement.

What Does it Mean for Maintenance Teams?

Maintenance teams are now valued and contributing strategic members of the larger enterprise team.  Their customer focus and results are aligned with the behaviors and norms companies need to compete in the 4th Industrial Revolution.  It means they are happy to come to work, no-longer being blamed for things they used to be blamed for because they took ownership and transformed their organization’s mindset, actions, and bottom-line performance. They are acting as a business-within-a-business, focusing on value production and a continuous stream of improvement ideas to help their customers as we set forth in, “Are Your Support Organizations Operating With a “DMV/Department” Mindset.”


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