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Management Insight: Michael Cowley

Part 1: Survival Requires Tough Choices on Maintenance Department Structure||14990

Part 2: Which Model is Best: Decentralized or Centralized?||14991

Part 3: Choose Wisely Which Department Structure Model to Use

Choose Wisely Which Department Structure Model to Use

By Michael Cowley May 2014 - Facility Maintenance Decisions Columnists

All of this probably makes you want to adapt the centralized model because of the benefits and the control and organization it provides, right? Beware. An organization of that size and complexity requires an outstanding organizational team and an exceptional leader to keep everyone happy and working well together.

Success will require a constant auditing of the processes and programs, as well as a strict set of performance measures that enable managers to gauge the day-to-day performance of all aspects of the organization, which includes having a constant handle on customer satisfaction.

I have always been a very structured type of leader. I want control of all aspects of engineering and maintenance so the engineering team has the authority to control all maintenance and replacement of assets inside the fence. To achieve this, you need the centralized approach.

To maximize customer satisfaction, I liked to decentralize some maintenance functions or develop zone groups who have direct contact with customers but also report back through the engineering and maintenance structure to ensure consistency of performance, capital replacement, and new equipment and building construction.

Whichever way you structure your department, remember this: If you measure the right things, you will always be able to determine which model is best for your organization.

Agree? Disagree? Have something to say? We want to hear from you. Visit, and start a conversation.

Michael Cowley, CPMM, is president of CE Maintenance Solutions. Cowley provides maintenance training, coaching and consulting services to facilities and manufacturing organizations nationwide. He is a frequent speaker at national facilities management conferences.


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