Seven ways to sell maintenance to your C-Suite

Create new partners in management by understanding and selling maintenance as a profit center.
By Bob Vavra December 9, 2015

Terry O'Hanlon of ReliabilityWeb.com at the IMC Conference. Courtesy: CFE MediaIn developing a sustainable maintenance program, a plant manager has to engage every part of their plant-from your peer group to your staff to the corner office personnel.

The most difficult of those groups to engage with are the corner office, because they have the least understanding of the day-to-day needs and challenges in maintenance, said Joe Anderson, predictive maintenance and reliability manager at J.M. Smucker Co. in Toledo, Ohio, at the 2015 International Maintenance Conference in Bonita Springs, Fla. Developing a strong relationship with management can help change the vision of maintenance from a cost center to a profit center.

"There’s always that perception of maintenance against the world," Anderson said. "As you develop partnerships, those talks go away. You’ve got to brag about your successes and your team’s successes."

Anderson talked about seven ways to manage up to the C-Suite in your organization to explain the value and potential of an effective maintenance and reliability program.

  • Educate on the maintenance function
  • Sell the financial value of maintenance
  • Understand the business side of your own job
  • Understand their vision and goals
  • Communicate your vision and goals
  • Communicate your successes
  • Offer to be the change agent in your organization.

Anderson added there are three specific ways maintenance can be seen as a profit center as opposed to a cost center. They include:

  1. Convenience: Making life on the plant floor better and easier and safer
  2. Process improvement: Getting production lines to run more smoothly and to minimize downtime
  3. Financial: Freeing up cash flows, reducing costs and gaining profits by avoiding costs rather than just by saving money.

– Bob Vavra is content manager, Plant Engineering, CFE Media, bvavra@cfemedia.com.