Part 1: Dan Hounsell: How to Change the Image of Maintenance
Dan Hounsell: How to Change the Image of Maintenance
By Dan Hounsell, Editor May 2014 - Facility Maintenance Decisions Columnists
Facility executives and building owners just don't understand. They probably never will. It's pointless to continue running my head into that wall time after time.
Institutional and commercial facilities don't value maintenance and engineering departments, and that's all there is to it.
Sounds familiar, right? Most maintenance and engineering managers have used this line of reasoning for decades. They use it to describe the prevailing attitude among owners and executives toward their departments.
In many cases, managers are right about the attitude. Executives often see departments primarily as cost centers, and any maintenance problem that arises, no matter how inevitable, only reinforces that view. But allowing that attitude to persist is a cop-out and one reason many departments continue to be viewed in a less-than-favorable light by executives.
Managers and departments often seem resigned to their fates, but it doesn't have to be that way. One strategy for updating this image is to give executives something different to see when they look at departments and their accomplishments.
Point out the small victories, the minor roofing problem detected that averted a major, costly headache. Pass along comments from occupants who had good experiences with maintenance. If a department operates largely out of sight, put it back in the spotlight by compiling and passing along examples of spending averted and savings realized because of efficient, cost-effective maintenance.
If managers can change the attitudes of executives by achieving something major, great. If they need to use one hundred smaller achievements, so be it. The only thing managers can't afford to do is nothing.
Dan Hounsell offers observations about trends in maintenance and engineering management and the evolving role of managers in facilities.
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