The structuring of maintenance departments depends mainly on the size of the company. Moreover, these structures have changed along with the technological evolution of the machines and the maintenance tactics applied in the companies.
Maintenance department structures according to company size
As mentioned above, the size of companies directly influences the type of structure and the number of maintenance team members. In some cases, management may even choose to outsource maintenance to an external company.
In small companies, the maintenance department is in the same line of production, thus depending on the same manager. The number of maintenance technicians does not justify a department separate from the production department.
In medium-sized companies, there is a maintenance area separate from the production area; with a maintenance manager at the same level as the production manager, but with a superior who coordinates the two areas. As there are more machines, more and better trained maintenance personnel will be needed.
In large companies, the maintenance and production areas are totally independent and report directly to management.
Technology and maintenance structures
The technological level of the machines that a company has, plays a decisive role in the production areas and consequently of the maintenance structures and its organizational chart.
The new trends of the organizations want to eliminate the limits between the areas of production and maintenance, and these trends are based on the disappearance of stocks, the profitability of the investments in machines and a greater automation of the production.
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Reducing the stock of finished products or products being processed must be ensured by being able to produce what is needed at any time. Corrective maintenance leads to the non-delivery of an order and can damage the good image of the company.
The high investment in technological machines forces companies to have higher production without losses, in order to be profitable. In addition, having automated machines will give operators more time, allowing them to be involved in maintenance tasks.
Previously, when machines presented any anomaly, it was normal to continue as long as production was not affected. However, now the training of production operators allows them to detect and even correct faults within their possibilities.
As a result, maintenance technicians will be relieved of uncomplicated procedures by being supported by production personnel. The machines are subject to greater control and any small malfunction will be communicated and corrected in the shortest possible time.
Advantages of involving production in maintenance
There are several advantages to involving operational personnel in machine maintenance. The first one is that the production personnel will avoid any bad procedure that could damage the machine and will be aware that preventive maintenance will be performed when it should be.
Another advantage will be that any defect, no matter how small, will be communicated to the maintenance area as soon as possible. Some of the maintenance jobs that could be performed by the production operators are:
- Greasing the machine.
- Change filters.
- Purging drain lines.
- Replacement of some spare parts.
- Noise detection.
- Exterior cleaning of equipment.
- Change lights.
All of the above can be carried out with the proper training and accompaniment of the technical maintenance personnel. Creating procedures where the scope of each of these is specified.
The maintenance personnel will focus on other levels of maintenance. Corrective, preventive and predictive maintenance will continue to be the direct responsibility of the maintenance area and its personnel.
All the logistics of materials, tools, labor and scheduling for maintenance are the responsibility of the maintenance area, without forgetting the optimization of processes and failure analysis.
As you can see, the structures of the maintenance areas can be adapted according to the size, the industry and the technology of the machines to which the company belongs. If all the above is not clear, there will be problems in the normal operation of the company.