Change in mindset towards maintenance profession needed

Over the years, I have come to realise that the maintenance profession is not well recognised nor are the personnel treated with respect for the important work they do - keeping their company's critical assets functioning well.

Coupled with the low pay and the dirty work they have to do daily, it is no wonder that there is a high turnover of maintenance professionals in this country and a lack of professionalism on the job.

Most times, the management waits until something goes wrong before reacting.

When something fails, the management takes the easiest route by replacing the faulty item.

Sometimes, it decides to install a secondary protection. But when that secondary system fails, what then? Do we install yet another back-up system?

With little idea on what caused the failure, the problem will just come back and the maintenance team eventually gets the blame.

The solution is not just to have good reliable equipment or systems, but to also put together a series of measures to ensure the smooth operation of any vital system.

For a start, the employment of a smart and robust maintenance regime, good training, and incentives and respect for the personnel are needed.

With advances in technology, maintenance can be better managed with effective results leading to cost savings.

If any company is serious about maintenance, it needs to change its mindset towards it.

Support must come from the top.

The management must keep abreast of the latest best practices and treat its maintenance team as an important and necessary tool for the overall effective and efficient functioning of the organisation's prized assets.

Leong Weng Hoe

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2017, with the headline 'Change in mindset towards maintenance profession needed'. Print Edition | Subscribe