In order to build and maintain an effective and responsive maintenance management framework, the following set of actions has been found to be useful.
At the operational level, maintenance people need to have higher levels of knowledge, experience and training to effectively maintain the equipment. At the same time, involvement of operators in performing simple maintenance tasks will be required (see Nakajima, 1989, for operators skills requirements within a TPM program) to reach overall equipment effectiveness.
Practices to address the need for higher technical expertise of the maintenance department should include using a maintenance support staff to supply assistance and expertise to the craft workers. The supervisors and planners at the tactical level should be trained in other higher level disciplines like reliability engineering, RCM, scheduling, standards development and equipment inspection and verification (Niebel, 1985). Also, training in a basic set of quantitative maintenance tools would be suitable for the strategic and tactical levels.
Regarding relationship management, and for all business levels, Swanson (1997) found that the following three main practices foster improved relationship competencies of maintenance:
Decentralization of maintenance was found to be the most effective way of improving communication and coordination in a technically complex environment.
Use of a team approach supports direct communications between different functional groups. Two team-based activities are maintainability improvement and maintenance prevention (Nakajima, 1989).
Advanced information processing technologies like CMMS also support communication and coordination between different functions (Huber, 1990).
Since relationships competencies are not constrained to boundaries of the organization, customer-supplier relationships have evolved to what has been defined as codestiny (Edvinsson & Malone, 1997). Everyone from raw material suppliers to local distributors and dealers in the supply chain share a common destiny, and they commit effort, time, and mainly trust that other players will do their part and make the entire project an enduring success. Divulging critical information and spending time in training to obtain the best use of the product or service is really important. Therefore, the maintenance people of a modern manufacturing firm must:
Dedicate time and efforts to maintain a proper relationship with the OEMs providing equipment to the plant.
Work in teams and share common and suitable information to ensure or even improve equipment reliability and maintainability over time, as well as suitable support for the equipment maintenance.
Be aware of possible external nonconformity of the product denounced by any customer, which could be a consequence of improperly maintained equipment.
Be part of product quality audits and be responsible to execute the necessary corrective actions to avoid those problems.