All of us in maintenance and engineering management have struggled to find methods and techniques necessary to successfully analyze and understand our businesses and our facility maintenance performance. Instead, many managers
look to their customer satisfaction numbers. Those numbers tell us how the department is doing as it relates to how our customers feel about us, but they provide very little information on our performance as a world-class maintenance organization.
Many organizations measure customer satisfaction, response time, number of calls completed per day, and the time it takes to complete an average call. In other words, how fast can we close a work request? The problem with these types of measurements is that, although they are very important, they do not tell maintenance and engineering managers how efficiently or effectively their departments are performing. The important thing to remember is you must keep the customer service numbers high, while at the same time finding ways to make your organization more efficient, effective, and profitable.
To successfully manage their departments, managers first must be clear about objectives and understand the reason they are in facility maintenance — to make the organization money. We can keep our customers happy at any cost, but if we don't care about cost, we will be out of business in a very short time.
The key to the future of maintenance and engineering management, especially if you want to keep the work in-house and avoid outsourcing, is to do a great job for your customers and, at the same time, do it efficiently and at the lowest possible cost. Don't forget: The reason the typical outsourcer of facility services is successful in taking over your business is because the owners determined it would be much cheaper in the long run to outsource the work. That topic is a column for another day, but many owners' perceptions are that someone else can perform as well as — and at a lower cost than — in-house workers.
Management Insight Column: Five KPIs Every Manager Should Use
Management Insight Column: Measure key performance indicators that matter