Benchmarking maintenance best practices

Nobody wants to work for a merely mediocre organization or department, especially if it's the maintenance department. Like many out there, I'm always looking for a better way to do something, and sooner or later, I find that someone else developed a method that's better than what I'm doing. Many times it dawns on me that if I change some input or factor or procedure, the results are going to be much better. Insight thus comes from both within and without.

That’s fine in my personal life, where I have only to please myself. But in the business world, one better have some form of proof to offer to those gatekeepers guarding the corporate till. Building a case to justify spending some of those hard-won company profits starts with getting the lay of the land. A good way to get those bearings is to do a bit of benchmarking to see how well you’re doing some task in comparison to the others out there who are doing the same work.

Fortunately, there are some pretty decent benchmarking sites that you might want to consider exploring. For example, if you pay a visit to Terry O'Hanlon’s website, you’ll find that it might be able to support your best practices aspirations and benchmarking efforts.

The item on the site that’s most relevant to the topic here is the link to a 28-page piece titled “Benchmarking Fundamentals.” This piece apparently is the second chapter of some unidentified book. Look for the explanation of the difference between benchmarking and competitive analysis. Keep that distinction in mind as you travel down the benchmarking highway. And, don’t miss the recipe for effective benchmarking.

Now, go back to the site’s home page and explore the other links. It’s enlightening.

If you don’t mind registering your identity with another site, you can download a free 566-page e-book by Ralph W Peters titled “Maintenance Benchmarking and Best Practices.”

I didn’t register for personal reasons, but that shouldn’t stop you from accessing this apparently useful resource.

Finally, you might consider going Down Under for another benchmarking resource. Sandy Dunn from Assetivity, a consulting firm in Western Australia, runs the Plant Maintenance Resource Center. I direct your attention to what he calls Maintenance Benchmarking Database.

This is a user-generated database. With a public database, there’s always the chance that some decidedly unsocial person will go into the data, muck about, and ruin the value for everyone. That’s why you’ll need to establish a user id to access the raw data, although you can see the aggregate data without logging in.