How to Conduct a Needs Assessment for Your Maintenance Department, Part 1: Where Do You Want to Go?

It’s not uncommon for maintenance managers to discover what was working before suddenly isn’t working as well.

That’s when it’s time to think about what you really need.

The definition of a needs assessment is a systematic process for determining and addressing needs, or “gaps” between current conditions and desired conditions.

In a nutshell, a needs assessment compares what’s happening now to what you want in the future. That tells you where you want your maintenance department to go.

One of the first things we do with MPulse customers is talk about their needs. While every customer is different, common ones include the need to…

  • Improve asset performance
  • Reduce catastrophic breakdowns
  • Respond faster
  • Monitor work order status
  • Control costs
  • Automate preventive maintenance scheduling
  • Streamline communication
  • Correct problems
  • Provide detailed reports
  • Much more!

Knowing where you need to go is the first step. So, we’ve gathered some good advice from our customers who’ve been there.

Start with What You Want to Track

The best place to start is to decide what you need to know. Think about the information you don’t have, or you don’t have easily accessible. That’s the basis of your needs assessment.

Be specific. Write these down. Here’s a few to get you started…

  • I need to know how much we’re spending on Asset X.
  • I want to know how much time my techs are spending on specific jobs.
  • I need my team to have faster access to information.
  • I want to reduce our excess inventory.
  • I want to know how long Equipment Y has been out of service during a given time period.

Ask Other Maintenance Managers

We always get good advice from talking to other maintenance managers. Your best resources are the people who are already doing—or have already done—this type of thing.

Talk to your peers. Ask…

  • What issues were you trying to solve?
  • What problems did you experience?
  • How did you solve them?
  • What tools did you use?
  • What did you like about them?
  • What didn’t you like about them?

Ask Your Techs

Techs know what they need to do their jobs better. Talk to them about their perspectives and ideas.

Ask your techs…

  • What’s working well?
  • What isn’t?
  • What barriers are making your job harder?
  • What do you think would help?
  • What changes do you see coming down the line?

Read out next post for more on how to conduct a needs assessment. We’ll also talk about the next part of a needs analysis—identifying what you already have. In the meantime, leave a comment or contact us with your ideas and suggestions.