This article is the first in a series that will discuss what Castrol’s Heavy Duty Field Engineering team calls “The Maintenance Journey.” The journey refers to the progression that a company can make to become more efficient and to reduce operating costs over time by improving its fleet maintenance practices.
Any company that owns and operates equipment that must be maintained, no matter which industry it is in, can place its organization somewhere along this path. This is especially true for companies that own and operate heavy duty equipment, both on-road and off-road.
When it comes to maintenance practices, a company may be regressive, with no planned or preventive maintenance at all, or it may be world-class and employ all known best practices and constantly strive to improve and reduce costs, or, like most businesses, it may be somewhere in between the two extremes.
Castrol has identified different stages of development (aka operating domains) along the journey. The five stages include Regressive, Reactive, Planned, Precision, and World Class. At each stage, there are rewards and drivers that influence behaviors.
Maintenance personnel in many companies tend to only see the situation through their own perspective, and often cannot comprehend a better way of doing things. Often the impetus for change must come from the outside. Those operating at the Regressive stage look at a World Class operation and think there is no way that they could afford to do business in that manner. World Class operators look back at a Regressive operation and think there is no way that they could afford to do business like that. How can they both be right?
The truth is that running a World Class operation costs no more than running a Regressive operation. In fact, it often costs less and can provide tremendous savings for the company. If that’s true, then why aren’t all companies World Class? Running a World Class operation may not cost more, but it’s not easy to do, as it takes a commitment to change and to doing things right.
No company can make the transition directly from Regressive to World Class in one step. To get to a World Class level requires moving through each of the other stages on the journey along a path of continuous improvement.
The trip can be arduous and intimidating, as those who embark on this journey experience territory unknown to them. But for those who persevere and who trust the guidance of others who have made the journey, the rewards can be great.
So, now that we’ve laid out the idea of “The Maintenance Journey” and we’ve discussed issues of change and commitment, the next step is to take a deeper look into each of the five stages. We will do that in the following segments of this series, so please keep an eye out for a new installment each quarter.
In the meantime, you can always contact your Castrol Field Engineer to learn more about the journey. With assistance, you can improve your fleet maintenance practices, which will allow you to become more efficient and to reduce your operating costs.