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Lessons

  • • Technicians could capture their own jobs, run a backlog of about 20 jobs, order them to be done just in time, and do them effectively.
  • • Most technicians liked this way of working (Theory Y). A few of them wanted only routine structured work with little challenge and little decision making (Theory X).
  • • Productivity increased significantly on implementation.
  • • The Zone Management computer system brought high visibility to all the activities and highlighted the performance differences between technicians. The poor were dragged up by the better.
  • • Delays reduced as authorization hurdles were removed.
  • • Backlog reduced so far that we had to reduce maintenance staffing levels.
  • • The average supervisor is a barrier to work progress rather than an effective facilitator.
  • • Modern technology and software tools enable new ways of working that empower and harness the skills of the entire workforce. Prototyping software permits us to create bespoke solutions quickly.

Principles

We get the productivity we deserve. All too often we build barriers to effectiveness and do not use the full skills of the workforce.

Visibility of their performance can embarrass the poor performers into action. We found it much more effective than threats or sanctions.

The fewer the layers we have, the faster the decision making becomes. Empowerment of the workforce enables workers to manage their own work and taps latent talents.

Using IT systems to bring transparency ensures we delegate work while retaining control. Visibility of performance embarrasses the poor performer into action.

Additional Reading

i. McGregor, D. 1960. The Human Side of Enterprise, New York: McGraw- Hill. ISBN-10: 0070450927

ii. McGregor, D. 1967. The Professional Manager. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN-10: 0070450935

iii. Heil, Gary, Warren Bennis, and Deborah C. Stephens. 2000. McGregor Revisited. New York: Wiley. ISBN-10: 0471314625

 
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