John Q. Todd Sr. Business Consultant, PMP
In the world of standards-based Quality Management Systems and documented business processes, the common mantra is:
- Say what you do
- Do what you say
- Prove it
- Improve it
The alignment of Maximo with documented business processes plays a key role in bringing the elements of this mantra to fruition. Armed with this clear connection, an organization can greatly reduce the risk of auditors (internal or external) finding significant non-conformities in the execution of its business processes.
Say what you do
Making the assumption that your business processes are documented… perhaps a big assumption… you have a foundation that you can base how Maximo is configured. Not to say that every user follows the documented process to the letter, but at least you have something to refer to. The process may be high-level, leaving the “how to” specifics to desktop references or quick guides. Or, it may be a formal step-by-step business flow that has checkpoints and decision trees. Even better if the process terminology is closely mapped to Maximo-speak!
You can stop reading right here if there is no tangible connection between your business process and how the user communities interact with Maximo on a daily basis. Fix this first!
Do what you say
Here is where the value proposition of a properly configured Maximo system comes into play. If, and like my earlier assumption, a big if, Maximo is aligned with the business process, an auditor would be able to see the daily work (per the process) being performed within Maximo. The hard question to you is: Are your Maximo user communities spending the bulk of their “process” time within Maximo? Or, does paper still reign as King?
The “do” part of the process does not need to be 100% performed within Maximo of course. But, why not explore how it could be? Maximo has so much built-in functionality, add-ons, and interfacing capabilities that it is difficult these days to find something Maximo cannot be configured to perform in support of a business process.
My favorite topic.
“Locate the invoice from vendor X from 2 years ago and show me the approval signatures… as per your documented process, PUR-123a, rev2.”
“Prove to me that the preventive maintenance activity required by the contract was performed within the 30 day window, by who, and when the next one is scheduled.”
“Show me the results of the incident investigation, who was involved, and the status of the improvements that came out of it.”
Heard these before?
Wouldn’t it be nice within a few clicks of the mouse a Maximo query could show you (and the auditor) that specific invoice? Better than running to the file room and searching while the auditor dreams of the shrimp cocktail lunch a few minutes away, right?
Where is your Clipboard of Truth for any process? To be more formal, the, System of Record. If it is a collection of paper, spreadsheets, Access databases, or even emails then you are in trouble. (Be honest, you have tried to use an email as a proof record for an auditor haven’t you? I know you have.)
With the behind-the-scenes record change user/time stamp, eSignature, eAudit, Workflow, and Escalations functions of Maximo you can easily provide a system of record that does just that… it records things for you.
An off-shoot of Prove It is the idea of metrics being captured via the Maximo system. These metrics are not only for Assets, Work Orders, etc. but can also be used to visualize the effectiveness of the business process. With some creative thinking you can establish metrics that can prove lead times, workload requirements, budget impacts, etc. All of which can be used to make decisions with.
You have a good process and the software tools to execute them. Great! What are your documented efforts to improve from there? Can you point to an improvement system that shows the details of where the improvement idea came from, who approved it, who is working it, and when it is expected to be done?
Nothing wrong with an improvement idea failing. Happens all the time. What is important is that the facts around the failure are captured and lessons learned turn into further improvements. Sometimes squeezing out that last 2% of efficiency is simply not possible nor cost effective. Not a problem if the situation is clearly documented/captured for review by others down the road.
To wrap up while under the topic of improvement, do you have a methodology in place to engage the user communities (and their business processes) to ensure they are getting the most from Maximo? Are new user communities being brought into the fold? Can you say, do and prove that the Maximo system is performing for the users in the best possible fashion?
Make your Plan. Do your Plan. Check that you are on Plan. Take Action as needed. Repeat.