Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Maintenance Triumph Begins Yesterday (part 4)

Triumph is the exultation resulting from victory. Nearly every innovation that maximizes success of a system support organization is invisible to outsiders. A goal is to convince everybody that the system is reliable & well controlled, without convincing them that support is easy.

Motivation & Incentives - That’s why we do it right. That’s why we do it better tomorrow.

Managers - Positive motivation makes us feel good. Negative motivation makes us escape. What is positive motivation for your team? What are the incentives for doing the right thing?

Does a manager know when good things happen? Maybe. More often, coworkers know. Leveraging that insight, a department at Seagate Technology implemented a clever system where coworkers awarded each other $10 tokens simply for doing the right thing. Good actions were recognized and rewarded in real-time. The total cost of the program was low, regulated by manager approvals and a simple spreadsheet.  Culture change doesn't need to be expensive.

Has good behavior been defined within your team? No need to be subtle.

Equipment Operators - Are they actively rewarded for reporting all difficulties, irritations, quality problems, breakdowns, resets, complications, suggestions, and design bugs? Or are they punished, ignored, & shushed for negative feedback?

Equipment Support Team - Are they allowed to do more than the minimum essential repairs? Are they allowed time to notice & tighten a loose bracket? Are they encouraged to note observations for future attention? Are they encouraged to suggest longer-term solutions?

Systems - Is the Preventive Maintenance procedure quick & easy to modify? Is it used? Is there a public record of pending adjustments & repairs for each machine? Have these plans been prioritized? Is there a public record of operator comments about each machine? Have they been prioritized? Each should be labeled with something like “planned”, “pending review”, & “no action planned”? Is the priority reasoning / justification explained?

Crowds - Every good show has a peanut gallery. When your actions & plans are an open book, everything can be criticized. And, some comments will be unfair. Seriously consider each complaint; different perspectives offer truth. Acknowledge all suggestions & comments. When possible, explain why you are using or aren't using the advice. Consistently encourage input. It's a luxury to hear all ideas & complaints before your boss hears them. Some ideas will be dumb as a bag of rocks, but don't say that. Instead, say "thanks" and explain how / why the current system cannot incorporate that kind of change. The next suggestion might be excellent. Or it might be the same suggestion again.

Equipment Supplier - Is there a clear line of communication back to the equipment designer? Smart developers continually invite comments, ideas, and complaints of all kinds. However, I believe feedback filtered through the sales force gets “adjusted” before reaching the designer. Have you provided feedback on the design aspects that were truly wonderful? Problems anticipated & problems prevented are rarely recognized.

Purchasing Department & Shipping-Receiving - A well-run operation makes everything look easy. Notice things that work well. Provide feedback and helpful observations.

Have you provided enough positive motivation to do the right thing? Today?

“ Where stand the quiet statues of immortal heroes who averted crisis?  I wonder who celebrates the wars not fought, people not sickened, buildings not crumbled, machines not broken, and ends not nigh? ”

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