Successful Planning Includes Taking a Punch - and Getting Up
"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face." — Mike Tyson
Ideally, maintenance and engineering managers' efforts to bring more efficiency, reliability and productivity to their departments and organizations through strategic planning wouldn't be met with such a result. But sometimes, failure is the first step toward success.
In this month's Roundtable, three management consultants offer insights on the benefits and challenges of formalizing the position of maintenance planner. This person's role is to map out and streamline the department's longer-term maintenance and engineering activities, all in an effort to improve efficiency and productivity and keep costs as low as possible.
While many departments do not have a formalized planner position, managers still undertake a host of planning activities that affect every area of facilities and operations. They develop and implement preventive and predictive maintenance plans for key systems, they oversee their departments' plans to enhance on-the-job safety for front-line workers, and they play a central role in an organization's emergency planning.
As any manager knows, however, a plan is not worth much until it has been put into action. Doing so might reveal the flaws in the plan, but fixing the flaws is essential in ultimately developing an effective plan.
That flaw is the metaphorical punch in the face. Managers who understand that possibility also understand that how they respond to the punch often will spell the difference between success and failure — for the plan, but also maybe for the department and the organization.
Dan Hounsell offers observations about trends in maintenance and engineering management and the evolving role of managers in facilities.