Stepping Up Your Performance Management
World class organisations are increasingly recognising that their maintenance service can help to make their business more competitive and successful, and it is now more necessary than ever for the maintenance operations team to be able to demonstrate good performance. This may mean using the best existing systems and methods to measure current performance, but it also means looking at the benefits of new concepts and technologies to be able to improve future performance and support business growth.
Whether the organisation is a large corporate, a leading hospital, a popular retail centre, or a top university, as competition becomes fiercer, the standard to which the facility is maintained is fast emerging as a key influencer for attracting new staff and customers and retaining existing employees and clients. Research has linked great facilities to improved company morale, increased productivity and to a positive reputation. When it’s done well, maintenance management is a powerful tool.
The past three decades have seen a major shift away from organisations directly employing their maintenance staff and, with the growth of outsourcing, many organisations find themselves managing suppliers. As a result suppliers are increasingly perceived as being part of an ‘extended enterprise’ and their performance needs to be measured appropriately. Now, failing to manage supplier relationships correctly can have major financial and reputational consequences for the client.
Whatever the chosen delivery method, the effective monitoring and management of performance is essential for knowing whether every part of the maintenance function is working at an optimum level to achieve the expected standards of service.
There is however a general lack of understanding and agreement about what comprises good quality performance management. The key principles of maintenance performance management can range from using service level agreements and key performance indicators in order to measure performance, and imposing penalties for poor performance, to understanding the influence that the intelligent client can have on good performance, and recognising whether gain share can help drive performance.
Good performance management starts at the procurement stage when the client organisation is looking for a maintenance management supplier, and deciding on the length and scope of the contract. An increase in contract lengths, prevalent over the past few years, is encouraging improved supplier performance and better performance management. Maintenance contracts were typically one to three years, whereas many are now at least five years.
Without the envisaged performance being defined through a high quality contract specification with SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) objectives, it cannot be measured and managed. In order to set targets, the client organisation needs to understand how maintenance management fits within the business goals and share that information with their service provider.
Another essential component for ensuring delivery of a top level maintenance service, is performance management reporting. There is a growing trend towards automated measurement reporting to manage contractor and in-house performance. The growing number of software solutions, offering real-time, historical, and projected performance analysis and visualisation of the end-to-end performance, enable maintenance service providers to improve their performance through early detection and proactive monitoring, as well as tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and their impact on the business, and contractual Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
Once performance has been measured and analysed, its real value comes from how the information is used: whether that is to change the supplier or the service levels, introduce new services, or question the status quo.
This article is based on the new white paper ‘Performance Management for Maintenance Management’ by Service Works Group. For a complimentary copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)20 8877 4080.
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