With so many industries and businesses having such a rough 2012, maybe it is good that we put away the negative and create some positives. What better way to do this than to celebrate the New Year by learning from our asset management mistakes and setting achievable resolutions to improve.

Why are there New Year’s Traditions?

The celebration of the New Year is the oldest of all holidays dating back to ancient Babylon. As a result, there are a lot of traditions that have developed around the world for New Year’s Eve/Day.

Among the most popular traditions are making noise (parties, fireworks, noisemakers etc.), making New Year’s resolutions, checking the direction of the wind and having something new (baby, clothes etc.).

The purpose of many traditions are rooted in warding off evil spirits (noise), generating luck (something new), predicting prophesies (wind) and changing for the better (New Year’s resolutions).

Asset Management New Beginnings

There is no doubt that 2012 proved to be a challenging year for many industries. As the economy tightened, organizations were faced with many hard decisions. Sadly, not all decisions were well thought out and only brought temporary relief if any. These included:

Examples of Poor Asset and Maintenance Management Decisions in 2012

  1. Slashing operations headcount.
  2. Reduced or cancelled funding for projects that could have increased operational efficiency and effectiveness.
  3. Ignoring good maintenance practices and replacing them with short-term run to failure asset management or deferred maintenance.
  4. Stopping preventive maintenance programs.
  5. Not doing anything different.

Number 1 and 2 above only stress an organization by not addressing the root cause of the problems that led to the situation. Numbers 3 and 4 set up the organization for a major financial disaster because equipment has to be replaced more often and costly repairs occur more frequently.

If your organization did any if the above, then senior management needs to make some positive changes that will help them to stay competitive in 2013.

Having a party is cool if it is to spread the news of a new plan. On the other hand, trying to scare away evil spirits or checking the wind direction probably won’t work.

What will work is to ask your employees how they think they can do a better job by working smarter and faster. Your employees understand that change needs to occur if the company is going to survive and to keep their jobs. They have the knowledge;, now give them the tools they need.

Combine employee feedback with a plan for obtaining technology such as an EAM CMMS system and you have the foundation for substantial long-term profitable change.

Better asset and maintenance management starts at the top but doesn’t work unless everyone is involved. One way to help get everyone involved is to set some New Year’s resolutions specifically for your operations such as:

Asset and Maintenance Management Resolutions for 2013
  • Setting benchmarks for achieving an 80/20 ratio of proactive/reactive maintenance. Proactive maintenance is always less expensive than reactive maintenance.
  • Increasing wrench time by decreasing paper flow. EAM CMMS systems can help big time with this.
  • Clean Clean Clean; establish a sense of pride in the workplace and receive the additional benefits of longer lasting assets and reduced energy bills.
  • Protecting your knowledge base. Set goals for accumulating work history documentation. This will help train new staff as aging staff move on to retirement.
  • Setting goals to reduce energy consumption by energy hungry assets. You might be surprised how easy it is to save 10-15% on energy costs by scheduling simple yet effective inspections and preventive maintenance.
  • Making maintenance fun. Recognize employee contributions and ideas; develop reward programs for ideas that save money. Don’t be cheap! If an idea saves your organization 100k, make the reward appropriate. It will encourage others to get involved.

When times are tough you can either hide or meet the challenge head-on. Employee engagement spurs innovation; innovations that may help you remain or become an industry leader. The only thing you need to do is to make sure your executives can handle being challenged.

Celebrating the beginning of the New Year is a great way to learn from past mistakes and resolve to make asset and maintenance management even better for 2013. So what are you waiting for?