The Maintenance Audit or Bringing About Changes in Organizational Culture

In order to increase reliability and safety, and optimize maintenance costs, we must change our philosophy and act as instruments of change.

At STI Maintenance, we have come to realise that a site’s complete picture reveals itself much more, during audits, when we listen more closely.

This is the beginning of step A in what we like to call the ABC Technique.

Audit, Business Case, Consolidation 

The objective of this step is to draw a comprehensive portrait of the company; to get an understanding of where the company currently lies in terms of its maintenance practices, processes, culture and policy.

Contrary to the traditional audit that proposes a list of questions to answer, the A in the ABC technique, has us visit site sectors and see the actual equipment and infrastructure in place and then discuss with the stakeholders and contributors involved in the different hierarchical levels. Each of these employees and managers play a crucial role in maintenance optimisation and must all take part in changing the organisation’s culture.

Using interviews, we then establish one on one discussions with each person involved allowing them to express their day-to-day reality in maintenance, their vision and improvement ideas.

Afterwards, STI Maintenance auditors gather the information discussed, as well as their observations, and incorporate them in a structured audit template composed of six concrete topics and sub-topics. Each sub-topic is composed of numerous criteria to evaluate. This “reverse” method guarantees a realistic portrait of the situation as it collects many points of view and observations.

The report is then submitted as an oral presentation to everyone involved in the audit. Using an approach based on communication and cooperation shared amongst all maintenance players, we bring to light observations, achievements, potential solutions and key issues. Following the presentation, a comprehensive hard-copy report is then submitted to all managers as a reference. The presentation ensures that the participation of all actors involved in changing the existing organisational culture has commenced.

During step B, while working in groups, we start to quantify potential gains (production losses, HSE, cost reduction, intangibles) and the investments required to attain these gains. We thereby present the project as well as its return on investment (ROI). We then we establish a 0-3 year plan addressing required investments and their returns. We also conduct a workshop to establish the common thread between the company’s strategic plan, the expected results, and various improvement activities. The improvement activities are then prioritised using a Benefit-Effort Matrix.

We determine a strategy that includes, amongst others, key activities over time, a deployment strategy, a meeting schedule, the implementation of a measuring and tracking system (KPI), and the roles of each person involved. The final step involves having working group participants present this strategy to upper management. Step implements the necessary tools to showcase the project plan and have it adopted by the decision-makers.

The final step—the execution of the project—is step C: the consolidation. This takes place when the project is approved by upper management and a leader, preferably internal to the organisation, is designated. The leader is thus responsible for using a high level strategy, creating a comprehensive plan and most importantly, becoming the instrument of change. Step Cimplements the 0-3 year plan; it is where the action takes place. It demonstrates the results measured using KPI and supported by rigorous tracking and shares them with the project’s contributors. Thereafter, we simply adjust and move forward.

The ABC technique is not only a change of course in terms of techniques and tactics. It also provides the elements necessary to initiate a change in culture within the organisation. We are starting to notice a common will to transform maintenance and reliability’s image into a perspective of continuous improvement.

In the same way that the great culture change in health and safety was instrumented in the 90’s, the significance of having optimised maintenance and reliability is gradually evolving and innovating, and, furthermore, settling itself amongst organisations. STI Maintenance is proud to support its clients in their approach towards optimisation and efficiency.


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