Operations and Maintenance Management Support
Federal operations and maintenance (O&M) programs must gain full support from management to succeed. Management understanding and buying into the program elevates O&M importance and allows activities to be scheduled with the same priority as other management actions.
Federal O&M programs should start with a mission statement. This succinct statement should outline the program's main goals, which should be aligned to the overarching goals of site management. Aligning O&M program goals with site goals allows management to understand how O&M supports the facility across the board.
It is important to involve both management and facility staff during mission statement development. This creates ownership for all parties, which leads to greater compliance and support.
Typical mission statements set out to answer the following questions:
- Who are we as an organization?
- Whom do we serve?
- What do we do?
- How do we do it?
- How do we measure?
Selling to Management
O&M managers must speak the language of business to successfully engage site management. Projects and proposals need to stand on their own merits and be competitive with other funding requests. While evaluation criteria may differ, some level of economic criteria should be used. Common examples include:
- Simple payback: The ratio of total installed cost to first-year savings.
- Return on investment: The ratio of the income or savings generated to the overall investment.
- Net present value: The present worth of future cash flows minus the initial cost of the project.
- Life cycle cost: The present worth of all costs associated with a project.
Operations and Maintenance Plan
A written operations and maintenance plan formalizes the O&M program while laying out all aspects and activities for management review and approval. The written plan should build on the mission statement. Be sure to equate each portion of the plan with increased productivity, decreased operation costs, energy efficiency, safety, and customer satisfaction.
O&M programs must report activities and results against the mission statement and written plan. Regular reports should be created on regular time increments, whether that be monthly, quarterly, or annually (monthly or at least quarterly is preferred). Each report should compare results (e.g., energy use, safety incidents, etc.) against a baseline (e.g., the same month during a base year).
If efficiency standards for a particular system are available, compare system performance against that standard as well. The point is not to assign blame for inefficient systems, but to motivate efficiency improvement through improved maintenance.