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4 Goals for an Equipment Maintenance Business Plan

By Mike Brennan, CEM, Contributing Editor | December 23, 2019
Graphic shows how to build a maintenance business plan.
A maintenance business plan has four objectives.

Construction equipment maintenance should have a business plan independent from the overall fleet’s plan in order to attain total productive maintenance. It should accomplish four goals: Identify the mission and vision, document responsibilities and performance, initiate objectives, and communicate value.

It should have three distinctive sections: an introduction, operating and performance, and objectives. The introduction contains mission and vision statements, a scope of operations, and key roles and responsibilities. The operating and performance section identifies key operating statistics, financials, and key performance indicators. The objectives section defines goals, objectives, and initiatives, and provides a long-range outlook.

Let’s look at these pieces one by one.

How to create business plan goals

The mission statement identifies the scope of the maintenance function within the organization. It could be simple: “Our mission is to provide [our company] the highest quality, cost-effective equipment maintenance solutions.” A more sophisticated and detailed statement identifying the mission of the individual components may be required, dependent upon the size of the organization.

Read more on fleet asset management.

The vision statement should reflect the values the function brings to the organization. It should be written to identify the anticipated perception of the equipment function when successfully operating.

“Our vision is to be recognized as providing the most cost-effective equipment maintenance services possible to our organization.” Again, it could be simple or sophisticated dependent upon the size of the organization.

The general operating statement establishes the area of responsibility of the maintenance function. It should briefly describe its role and the scope of the capital program (purchase, lease, rent), the maintenance program and special services or logistics. An expansion of these areas of responsibility should be identified in section two, operating and performance.

Key roles within the equipment-maintenance function depend upon the organization’s size and number of facilities, but all equipment maintenance managers in charge of a specific facility should be identified. Information should include name and position, organizational tenure, and a brief description of their area of responsibility.

What metrics should measure business plan goals?

Key operating statistics include fleet size, facility locations, percent owned/leased and fleet composition, and facility staffing. It should also include a financial section to include capital and operating expense and recovery, as well as the process and administration of both. Key performance indicators should include historical and predictive performance measurements as well as the process in which they are derived. In a multi-facility organization, each facility should be addressed for performance comparison and strategic planning.

Key operating statistics identify the intensity and performance of current operations and should address at minimum the fleet size and composition; facility locations and capabilities; and the percentage of the fleet owned, leased or rented. The number of technicians, support personnel, and overall staff, broken down by location, is also a requirement.

The maintenance functions financials should be broken down into segments for capital, operating, and administration. This is not simply a balance sheet. Within each segment should be a description of the process and measurement metrics, with enough detail to explain how the funds are expended, as well as the recovery process. Within all three segments, expenses should be identified first, followed by the recovery of such expenses, and a breakdown of the administration process and controls for all. Only identify costs associated with the maintenance function.

Operational costs related to other functions that are co-mingled with maintenance costs will adversely affect the overall recovery rate projection.

There are virtually hundreds of key performance indicators (KPI) surrounding equipment maintenance-management. Each organization should identify a specific set of metrics, directly correlated with the maintenance function’s primary objectives, on which to base its overall performance. The department also uses these metrics to make sound decisions in response to changing operational environments. Changes in fleet size, age, and composition as well as average machine cost per hour per segment should be identified. Fuel consumption and cost, operating hours, downtime percentage, and technician productivity are routinely required reporting metrics. Maintenance-management systems hold specific data that can easily be displayed in a dashboard view of the most important KPIs for the equipment function. These dashboard KPIs should be detailed within the plan as they will undoubtedly be the foundation for proactively establishing goals, objectives, and initiatives for the upcoming period, as well as for a long-range outlook.

What are the objectives of a maintenance plan?

A SWOT analysis identifies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). It enables management to identify and act upon those areas that possibly could reduce cost, increase service delivery, revitalize the workforce, and enhance the working environment and safety culture. Begin by reviewing KPIs and their performance measurements against the established baseline or benchmark.

  • Strengths: areas in which the function excels and does well.
  • Weaknesses: areas identified where improvement can be made or is needed.
  • Opportunities: performance or efficiency increases made possible by instituting proactive or corrective actions.
  • Threats: changes outside of the function’s control that can adversely affect the maintenance operation’s effectiveness.

Areas of improvement can be proactively addressed as an opportunity to improve and establish a goal and action plan. Organizational strengths can be monitored, maintained, and expanded upon proactively to thwart identified threats. Stick to the KPIs and the facts; opinionated actions may become a weakness or threat to the equipment function.

The maintenance function’s primary goals, objectives, and initiatives must focus on increasing service and support to the operations, administrative, and executive functions while maintaining cost-effective equipment solutions for the organization. Combined, the SWOT analysis and dashboard KPIs will be key in the development of future goals, along with input from the executive, administrative, and operations functions. Changes at those levels can cause changes in fleet composition and impact future maintenance operations.

Goals, objectives, and initiatives require an owner, someone fully authorized and responsible to take necessary actions to successfully accomplish them. They require a written implementation plan to include a title, brief description, measurement metrics, the owner, a reviewing authority and completion or compliance date. Implementation detail and quarterly milestone timelines are also identified and updated at completion of a milestone or a specified date. Some goals will span one or more annual reporting periods or require an extension due to factors not controlled by the maintenance function. Such changes must be addressed immediately upon determination.

A long-range outlook for the equipment-maintenance function must address specific changes in operations and/or goals and objectives, and what service or financial level will be achieved over a specific period. In many cases, an annual or possibly a three-year outlook is developed. Focus should remain on the quarterly milestones within the current and upcoming annual reporting period, however.

Enlisting input from the entire maintenance team, other “customer” functions, and the executive branch during the business plan’s development will instill increased cohesiveness, ownership, and initiative within the team to meet and exceed the initiatives set forth within the plan, increasing the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the equipment maintenance function to the organization.

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