Managers Should Protect Training Funds
As the economy continues to wreak havoc on the budgets of maintenance and engineering departments, managers might have no higher priority than protecting funds for technician training.
Let’s face it. Managers have a big enough challenge finding sufficient funds to cover a department’s needs when economic times are good. But when times get tough, the challenge can seem overwhelming. The natural tendency is to protect traditional core needs — labor to do the work, and the essential tools to support the work. Anything beyond that seems like fair game for managers forced to make tough budget choices.
But just for a minute, consider the importance of technician training in keeping up with maintenance needs. Technicians with outdated skills will be hard-pressed to properly carry out effective maintenance and engineering duties. Only those familiar with new-generation technologies have any chance of being able to efficiently test, inspect, maintain, and operate them.
Managers have several sources of free training. Most manufacturers include training with the purchase of a new product or system. Another type of free training — cross-training — might be the best friend a manager has. It lifts the department’s overall skill level and offers a hedge against staffing cuts. Whatever the source or cost, the goal is training that results in more efficient, cost-effective maintenance.
And for managers who worry about providing training for technicians, only to see them take another job (“What if we train them and they leave?”), the only real response is, “What if you don’t train them and they stay?”
Dan Hounsell offers observations about trends in maintenance and engineering management and the evolving role of managers in facilities.