The structuring of maintenance departments depends on the size of the company; and has evolved with advancements in technology and maintenance tactics. Let’s take a closer look at how maintenance department structures are determined by company size.
Maintenance Department Structures Based on Company Size
The size of a company directly influences the structure and number of maintenance team members. In some cases, maintenance may be outsourced to an external company.
In small companies, the maintenance department is typically in the same line of production; and is managed by the same manager. The number of maintenance technicians is usually not enough to warrant a separate department.
In medium-sized companies; there is a separate maintenance area managed by a maintenance manager at the same level as the production manager. However, there is 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 completely independent and report directly to management.
Technology and Maintenance Structures
The level of technology a company employs also plays a crucial role in the production areas and maintenance structures. Trends in organizations now seek to eliminate boundaries between production and maintenance areas and focus on reducing stock and automating production.
Reducing stock of finished or processed products means being able to produce what is needed at any given time. Corrective maintenance can lead to the non-delivery of an order and can damage a company’s reputation.
Investments in high-tech machines force companies to produce more without losses to maintain profitability. Automation of machines allows operators more time, enabling them to focus on maintenance tasks.
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Production personnel are now trained to detect and correct faults, freeing maintenance technicians from uncomplicated procedures. Any malfunction is communicated and corrected quickly.
Advantages of Involving Production in Maintenance
There are several advantages to involving operational personnel in machine maintenance including the prevention of bad procedures. That could damage machines and increased awareness of preventive maintenance.
Production operators can perform maintenance jobs, such as greasing the machine, changing filters, purging drain lines, replacing spare parts, detecting noise, cleaning equipment, and changing lights, with the proper training.
Maintenance personnel can focus on higher levels of maintenance. Including corrective, preventive, and predictive maintenance; as well as logistics, optimization of processes, and failure analysis.
In conclusion, the structures of maintenance departments must be adapted according to the size, industry, and technology of the machines a company employs. Failure to do so can result in operational problems for a company.