No More Maintenance Department

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Should you consider disbanding your maintenance department to integrate them with production?

I realize this could be viewed as a controversial idea or statement. Leading companies are already looking at how to disband their maintenance departments and essentially assign those maintenance technicians to support the production line.

Not all maintenance tasks are created equal. Some require a great deal of troubleshooting skill and repair capability, but a lot of the tasks that maintenance teams do are relatively routine and designed to keep the production lines running.

So why not consider putting those maintenance people into the production department and even have them managed by the production leader?

production line in a factory

That doesn’t mean there’s still not a need for a manager that focuses on maintenance and equipment uptime and efficiency. However, the maintenance techs themselves could be part of that production team because they’re supposed to collaborate with production to help hit the numbers.

Part of this would require you to train operators to do the maintenance, and that would be called total productive maintenance or TPM. Total productive maintenance is where the people who should do the task that the maintenance team normally does, do it as close to the machine as possible.

Is it time to merge your maintenance department with production? Share on X

If I’m an operator on a machine, there are certain maintenance tasks that I could do as the operator. After all, if I have a sense of ownership and accountability over this machine and I’m responsible for it, who is better able to keep that machine up and running? Total productive maintenance ensures that the maintenance task is assigned to the right person based on the skill and the complexity that’s required to achieve it.

Encourage your team to think about how to collaborate for success.

All departments, teams and functions inside your company, and including your supplier base, are designed to collaborate to win the external customer.

As maintenance, your job is to collaborate with production to achieve success and drive customer value. And once you figure that out, you can demystify and dismantle some of the maintenance department infighting that can happen and disperse those talented assets out to be used in the production environment to drive production volumes, quality and safety.

I know it’s a controversial idea. Some of you are already embracing it, but just think about it as an idea where you take maintenance and put it into production.

I’d love to hear what you think about reassigning the maintenance department.