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What Sports Can Teach Us About Maintenance Management and CMMS

football players

Sports, most of us love sports. It doesn't matter which sport; it could be football, basketball, baseball, hockey, swimming, or ping-pong, most Americans just love sports. Coincidentally, we also love CMMS. What do these two loves have in common you may ask? When we take a closer look, a lot more than you may think. 

Lesson #1: Attitude is Everything

How many times have we heard this in sports? Well, when applied to maintenance management and CMMS, the idea is surprisingly similar. With the right attitude, the work needed to make a great maintenance management software system work for your operation will be put in naturally, and the result of a working system that saves you time and money becomes almost a foregone conclusion. There is no magic bullet for a great attitude. It starts at the top and works its way down through the team and shows up in many ways. So get the right attitude right from the start, and get to work building your dream maintenance management system.

Lesson #2: Innovation Changes the Game

Ever watch a football game and see the coach on one sideline having a great time, high-fiving their players, running all sorts of cool plays and schemes and really enjoying the game as their team starts to pile up a big lead? Have you ever taken the time to look over at the other sideline and see what that coach looks like? A good word to describe it might be miserable. That's because the coach on the winning sideline has embraced innovation, while the other is still ten steps behind. In our industry, mobile apps, intuitive solutions, rapid onboarding, and the Internet of Things are a few key innovations that are driving the industry forward. Like the spread offense or crazy blitzes on the football field, these innovations eventually become standard operating procedure and must be revolutionized again. While working with your CMMS ask yourself which coach you are? Are you the one actually having fun and enjoying all the benefits wrought through using your system, or the one that can barely stand the fact that their team is playing the game?

Lesson #3: You Need a Great Coach and Great Players

Without Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan may not have ended up the greatest basketball player of all time, and without Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson probably doesn't win six titles with the Bulls. A great coach needs great players, and great players need a great coach. In maintenance management, great managers need great techs and mechanics, and great techs and mechanics need a great manager. A great maintenance manager can see the big picture, can put the right team member in the right place and make sure they work on the right equipment; they can schedule preventive maintenance effectively and, like commonality number two, can embrace innovation and help their team succeed at the highest level. A great tech or mechanic can fix what needs to be fixed, and perform work correctly at a high rate. They can work as a team with other employees, they trust the manager to make the right decision, and will work hard for the team. An interdependent relationship is a key to any team's success, and developing that relationship is a vital process.

Lesson #4: You're Always Competing Against Yourself

One title, two titles, a three peat or even a dynasty are never enough for great teams, and they should never be enough for a great management team. Just like when we discussed continuous improvement using Kaizen, a team can never rest on success. We should always be analyzing why our CMMS, a project, preventive maintenance protocol, Internet of Things implementation, or single job was successful, and try to emulate and expand that success for continuous improvement. By focusing on your own growth as a team, and always pushing for improvement, your team will be driven by the next goal, rather than lulled into complacency by previous success. 

Lesson #5: Stay the Course...for a While

Stuff happens, things go wrong, plans have to be changed and failures are inevitable. There is no magic dust that can guarantee a plan will be perfect. When failure occurs, and you have to adjust course, you don't need to fall off the rails completely. If a team loses ten games straight, they don't go and trade their best players and tank their season, but they might if they lose thirty. Rather than implode your efforts immediately, you can make small adjustments and keep your macro plan the same. After sticking with your plan for a while and trying to make it work, there comes a time to change it up. Understanding when that plan needs to be changed and you need to try something new is not always the easiest process, but if you've developed your CMMS to the point where it's a valuable tool can give you the analytics you need to determine if your plan is at the point where it needs to be changed.


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