Maintenance Meetings are used to communicate, coordinate, problem solve and share feedback. They need to be run well to get those outcomes.

Maintenance planning meetings are so frequent and repetitive that they are a chore to the people who attend. To get the full value from maintenance meetings you need to be clear about their purpose, keep them short, keep attendees focused, and measure the success and the benefits they bring

Unless it is clearly obvious that a maintenance meeting brings measureable value by saving time, reducing future effort, makes more money than the meeting costs, saves money or the need for additional resources, there is no reason to have a meeting.

 


 

Hi Mike,

I attended your Maintenance Planning and Scheduling training course in Sydney, Australia, some time back.

I am now organising an overview training course of what I learnt so our people will understand where we want maintenance planning to be heading.

I would like to know more about how to run a good maintenance planning meeting.

Best regards, Joe

 


 

Hello Joe,

Maintenance meetings are business meetings and need to be run to professional business meeting conduct and practise. There are plenty of books available on good meeting management where you can learn all that you need to know on correct meeting practice.

You can also go to business meeting training courses in the major capital cities and learn about meeting practise and facilitation. Such courses are offered through places like Australian Institute of Management, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the like. They will take you through meeting organisation, setting-out meeting agendas, preparing for meetings, the necessary pre-meeting and post-meeting communication to attendees, good meeting etiquette, how to chair and control a meeting, and probably give you a chance to practice running a meeting.

What makes maintenance planning meetings unique and different are the frequency they are held, the topics covered and the people who attend them.

Usually a daily meeting is held at the start of the day shift to discuss the prior 24 hours of operation and the next 24 hours of operation. These can get repetitive and boring. Even though they are critical to the proper running of a plant, people get fed-up with them. Once the attendees’ level of interest falls your meeting can easily go off track, the discussion wanders away from the agenda, and the meeting duration blows-out.

Each week you also need to hold the weekly maintenance planning meeting to provide feedback about the past week, prioritise your maintenance work order backlog, and set the plan and schedule for maintenance jobs to be done in the coming week. Some progressive operations control their plant and equipment reliability so well that they can push the weekly maintenance planning meeting out to fortnightly.

One way to prevent boredom is to have quick meetings. In some companies people stand for the whole meeting. All chairs are removed so there is no place to sit. Those meetings do not last long. People get straight to the point, the agenda items are quickly covered, and the meeting then disbands so people can do their work.

The core maintenance meeting tool is the agenda listing the discussion points, the meeting schedule and those persons with responsibilities during the meeting. The agenda guides the meeting with discrete, defined steps to follow. These are listed as the bullet points in the Maintenance Planning Meeting Agenda. Without an agenda with a schedule you have no hope of running a structured maintenance meeting to time.

The meeting Chairmanship role or Facilitator leads and controls the accomplishment of the Agenda. This person needs to be skilled and competent at running meetings. If you have a ‘bully’ at the meetings, or a domineering person usurps the meeting, the Chairman must tactfully stop them and prevent repetition of their behaviour. At such times the Chairman must to forceful and honest to bring the situation back under their control.

Rambling or time-wasting Chairmen need to be replaced and sent to learn correct meeting chairmanship practices.

Do you know of a maintenance planner who runs really successful meetings? Ask them how they control and chair their meetings. Look at their agenda and the preparation they do. Sit-in on two or three of their meetings and watch their chairmanship style and their meeting management method and meeting control techniques. You are bound to find a few ideas you can use yourself in your meetings.

A planning meeting is a process. It has a start and a finish and in-between there are particular phases to accomplish and steps to do. Being a process it means you can draw a flowchart of how maintenance meetings are conducted. It lets you establish a meeting procedure to follow that provides guidance and the best meeting tools to use to run good and worthwhile maintenance meetings. Tasks, duties and responsibilities can be defined and allocated. A deployment flowchart of attendees actions can be developed to prove everyone has roles and reasons to be at the meeting.

The meeting must have an obvious purpose that is truly valuable. Each person at the meeting must have a clear reason for being there. The meeting must deliver benefits that can only be achieved by having the meeting. If the same purpose of a meeting can be achieved in other ways, you have to ask why the meeting is being held.

A meeting must be worthwhile. There is no reason to have a meeting unless doing so saves time, reduces future effort, makes money, or saves money or additional resources.

Maintenance planning meeting success is not random. There are best ways to organise and control planning meetings so they quickly achieve their purpose.

I hope that the above helps you with running your maintenance meetings.

 

My best regards to you,

Mike Sondalini
Managing Director
Lifetime Reliability Solutions HQ

 

NOTE: Find out how you can do our certificated online 10 module Maintenance Planning and Scheduling training course by distance education. Read more at Online Maintenance Planning and Scheduling Training Course.

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