How to create maintenance routines that field staff actually follow

Published: 2022-03-08
Written by: Linn Björklund
Image

If your company relies on industrial machinery or a fleet of heavy-duty vehicles, you’ll have a number of maintenance routines and checks that need to be carried out at certain intervals to ensure safe and efficient operations. But is every one of your frontline employees really carrying out these checks correctly?

Regardless of whether you’re still using pen and paper, or if you’ve already invested in a digital maintenance system: your maintenance routines are pointless unless your frontline staff is both willing and able to perform the checks to the correct standard.

8 best practices to successfully implement a new maintenance routine

1. Accommodate your entire workforce

There’s a big array of ages and skillsets in the workplace today. Some are already used to working with tablets and smartphone apps, while others quickly find themselves out of their comfort zone. You need to select a system that’s user-friendly enough to suit everyone – regardless of their previous digital experience. Because let’s face it: even the most modern and advanced platform or app won’t provide value unless your frontline staff is actually able to use it.

2. Allow enough time for training

If staff fail to perform your maintenance routines correctly, it’s often down to lack of training. Managers tend to underestimate the time it takes to implement a new system or work method. There’ll always be a ‘teething period’, but you’ll want the roll-out to be as quick and easy as possible, with minimum disruption to the everyday production. The best way is to set up the training in stages and start simple. Don’t introduce more than one new check or feature at a time, and make sure to wait until everyone can perform it correctly before adding another one.

3. Customise every maintenance checklist

The maintenance routines that need to be performed vary a lot between different industries and companies. In a large business, the needs also vary between different sites. When investing in a new maintenance system, make sure it enables your admin users to create customised checklists. Give your plant managers enough time to set up checks that are specific for the units or sites where they’ll be carried out.

4. Include pictures

As the saying goes, a picture says more than a thousand words. With clearly illustrated step-by-step instructions, even a person who’s never been to the site before will be able to carry out a maintenance check correctly. By including photos in your digital maintenance checklists, and highlighting key points, on-site staff can easily compare the pictures in the app to what they see in front of them. Words like “clean” can be interpreted differently by different people, but with photos of what an acceptable and an unacceptable standard looks like, the employee can assess the current status more accurately, and decide whether action is required.

5. Make communication a two-way street

Lack of communication is a common problem when implementing a new routine. Successful communication is a two-way street: inform staff well in advance about the upcoming change, and give them plenty of opportunity to provide feedback on how the new routine is working for them. In the early stages of the rollout, let the local manager catch up with staff weekly or bi-weekly to see how things are going. A fifteen-minute check-in at the end of the workday is often enough. Frontline staff can express any problems they’ve experienced with the routine, if anything needs to be changed, or if there are steps missing that should be added to the checks. With a customisable maintenance system, you can easily tweak your checks to make sure they work for everyone. Because as soon as they don’t, there’s a big risk your employees will simply stop following the new routine and go back to the old way of working.

6. Keep the checks relevant

For staff to stay motivated enough to keep carrying out the maintenance routines over time, it’s crucial that they see the point of the checks. If they feel they’re just filling the system with documentation for its own sake, motivation will soon drop. Make sure to only include checks that are necessary and will be followed up on. By connecting maintenance routines to the actual running time of your fleet or machinery, instead of fixed time intervals, you’ll increase the accuracy and efficiency of your checks.

7. Set clear goals

When implementing new routines, think about what you want to achieve with the change. Don’t just transfer the same old checks to a new system, but take the opportunity to structure your work processes in a better way. Utilise the data you’re collecting and set clear goals that you can follow up on, and communicate back to frontline staff.

8. Follow up on defects and deviations

Again, documentation for its own sake will hardly motivate your field staff. This goes for defect reporting too. A big advantage of a digital maintenance system is that defects and deviations are reported directly from the field straight to the responsible manager. Let your frontline staff grade the seriousness of the issue when creating the defect report. This way, minor deviations can be sent to the local manager, while more serious issues will trigger a notification to the operation manager.

Frontline staff will be much more motivated to follow the maintenance routines, and report any deviations they detect, if they know there’s full traceability and accountability throughout the organisation – including management. And with maintenance routines running smoothly, managers can prioritise incoming issues in real-time (or at customised time intervals) to make sure defects are rectified before they lead to an unplanned breakdown.

Do you want more best practices on how to optimise your routines and minimise unplanned downtime? Download your free copy of the guide 9 keys to maximise the availability of your assets through frontline digitisation.

Want to know what CheckProof can do for you?

CheckProof's easy-to-use app makes it easier to do the right thing at the right time. Discover how you can run world-class maintenance that is both cost-effective and sustainable.

Book a demo
Featured image for “Preventive Maintenance – Maximizing efficiency with CheckProof”
2023-01-13

Preventive Maintenance – Maximizing efficiency with CheckProof

Preventive maintenance is the practice of routinely inspecting and proactively servicing your facility’s equipment. This way, you’re able to notice minor issues and fix them before they turn into machine failure – in contrast to acting after. In this comprehensive article, we touch on everything from different types of preventive maintenance to implementing an efficient and future-proof maintenance plan.
Featured image for “Improve your maintenance with IoT”
2022-12-12

Improve your maintenance with IoT

Tired of guesstimating when you need to perform maintenance for your assets? The Internet of Things, or IoT, connects non-traditional computing devices to the internet and transfers their data over a network without human interaction. Use this data to create optimal maintenance routines for any piece of equipment in your facility.
Featured image for “How to make accountability a core value at your facility”
2022-12-12

How to make accountability a core value at your facility

When you return to work on Thursday morning, you soon notice that the feed conveyor still hasn’t been fixed. The technicians have a lot on their to-do list, but this is a high-priority matter that must have fallen between the cracks. You start to wonder: “How can I make my team more accountable?”
Featured image for “Highlights and insights from the Bauma trade fair”
2022-11-11

Highlights and insights from the Bauma trade fair

What were the hottest topics at the 2022 Bauma trade fair in Munich, Germany? What was a miniature wheel loader doing in the tech section? And did it all end with a big bang – or was it more of a beep? Get ready for a glimpse behind the scenes of this massive industry happening.
Featured image for “How Swerock reduces their maintenance costs through smart digitization”
2022-10-21

How Swerock reduces their maintenance costs through smart digitization

Data-driven optimization through digital tools has helped Swerock – a major Swedish construction material supplier – reduce their maintenance costs per produced metric ton by a third. Find out why Swerock’s Project Director Payman Namvar has chosen a somewhat unusual setup for his team’s maintenance work, and why he considers CheckProof the most modern maintenance system on the market today.
Featured image for “Let the games begin: how gamification can reduce idling in heavy industries”
2022-06-21

Let the games begin: how gamification can reduce idling in heavy industries

Breaking bad habits is hard, and forcing change top-down in bigger organisations is ineffective. That’s why you need to implement engaging elements into your heavy industries’ transformation, and gamification is a terrific tool for that. In this post, we’ll show you how activating core motivators can boost organisation-wide behavioural change.
Featured image for “How to establish a continuous improvement culture for your facility”
2022-06-17

How to establish a continuous improvement culture for your facility

Continuous improvement is exactly what it sounds like. You strive towards always doing better, because there’s always room for improvement. The practice lets you identify opportunities for production and equipment optimisation – resulting in higher efficiency and lower costs. The concept itself seems straightforward, but how do you establish a continuous improvement culture for your facility?
Featured image for “Sick of putting out fires? Prevent these 3 scenarios with proactive maintenance”
2022-06-13

Sick of putting out fires? Prevent these 3 scenarios with proactive maintenance

Imagine taking your car in for service. You do so in order to replace things before they fail – not when. By taking these actions, you reduce future unplanned downtime and risks associated with operating faulty equipment. The same goes for running a heavy industry site. In this post, we’re listing three common scenarios where proactive maintenance will save you time and money and make your business more effective.
Featured image for “Here’s how aggregate producer Jehander improves their quality controls with CheckProof”
2022-05-30

Here’s how aggregate producer Jehander improves their quality controls with CheckProof

Leading aggregate producer Jehander, part of the international HeidelbergCement Group, never settles for less than great. Their 11 different quarries need to work seamlessly together and the old pen and paper method for quality controls wasn’t cutting it anymore. That’s why they turned to CheckProof.
Featured image for “Fast implementation when CheckProof became Preem’s new in-plant inspection tool”
2022-05-25

Fast implementation when CheckProof became Preem’s new in-plant inspection tool

Introducing “yet another system” is rarely popular. But CheckProof’s app was welcomed with open arms by staff who had grown tired of spending more time in their previous inspection tool than examining the actual site that was to be checked.