How To Better Communicate Maintenance Needs To Upper Management

How many times, as the maintenance manager or a technician, have you felt unheard by upper management? You desperately need a bigger budget for preventative care, new equipment, or greater staffing and yet your budget continually shrinks instead of expands each year. If you feel this way, you’re not alone. Most maintenance departments are considered the last priority by upper management and business owners. While you may think that there’s no solution, you could have more agency than you think. 


Oftentimes the problem is in the communication between maintenance and management, not simply the refusal to invest in preventative care. As for maintenance managers and technicians we thoroughly understand the problem of not keeping up with preventative maintenance. We see the issues that surface later, and know almost immediately why and how they could have been prevented. But, your management does not. 


It is easy to assume that management will understand what you’re talking about in your reports and proposals for increased budgeting. However, you may be using unnecessary technician jargon and numbers that don’t mean anything to your management team. While they all have extensive experience within the operational sectors of the business, most won’t have any maintenance management experience. What they’re looking for is impact, not facts and figures. It is up to us as maintenance experts to communicate the real results that occur when investments are made in better maintenance. 


When communicating with upper management, it is essential to illustrate the true impact of your preventative maintenance programs. It is what they will understand best, and what will motivate them to treat your maintenance department like an integral part of the operations team — not simply an afterthought. If you want to make the most of your maintenance programs, communication is key. 


Tips for Better Communication Between Maintenance and Upper Management: 


  • Increase interactions between departments. It is difficult to effectively communicate when you have no rapport between departments. By increasing your presence outside of the maintenance department, you can become a more integral part of the decision-making process. 


  • Bring up the big picture. No management leader is going to want to increase your budget based on theory or statistics. However, if you show them the real-world potential for catastrophe if preventative maintenance programs are not sustained (such as equipment shutdowns and long-term expense increases), then you’ve incorporated your numbers into the bigger picture.


  • Meet face-to-face. Audio or written material carries very little emotional weight or impact, which makes them ineffective tools for relationship building. Not only is it easier to reject a written proposal than it is an in-person one, but by making that extra effort, your upper management can see why the issue at hand is important to you. 


MaintenX works hard to build relationships with our clients so that we can both effectively communicate and compromise to create a truly effective preventative maintenance program. To learn more about what makes MaintenX stand out from other maintenance contractors, contact us today. 

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