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August 20, 2020

What your M&R peers are planning to address in their pandemic recovery

At a time like this, when normal is abnormal and abnormal has become business as usual, it can be useful to find out how your peers are approaching their maintenance strategies.

That’s why we at Fluke worked with Plant Services this spring to survey more than 200 maintenance and reliability professionals to assess how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their practices, resources, and budget priorities for 2020 and beyond.

The results of the 14-question survey, taken between April 28 and June 4, were discussed in an article by Kevin Clark, Vice President of Fluke Reliability, published in Plant Services’ July 2020 issue.

Of the 232 manufacturing plant managers and other maintenance and operations professionals who took part, a sizable share feels their situation is manageable. Many reliability leaders say they are already taking steps to mitigate challenges brought by the pandemic.

At a high level, these are the priority upgrades that M&R professionals and their companies expect to focus on in the months ahead as businesses work to recover from the pandemic:

  • More spending and rigor will be devoted to deep-cleaning workplaces and physical distancing. Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be in significant demand.
  • As soon as it’s feasible, companies will invest in technologies that automate data collection and enable remote asset management.
  • Companies will make plans to upgrade existing computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) or implement new ones.

‘Has COVID-19 changed your maintenance mode?’

The survey provided a look inside the minds of plant managers and other maintenance and reliability professionals as they ponder the impact COVID-19 has had on their business. You may be surprised at this audience’s response to the question, “Has COVID-19 changed your normal maintenance mode?”

You’ll also see that at least a few admitted that they aren’t well-equipped to withstand the slowdowns or shutdowns encountered, or the remote work requirements imposed by their companies. Some are also hurting from furloughs or layoffs.

The survey also asked respondents to describe their plant operations since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ll also learn how organizations’ maintenance and reliability teams are currently working—from “pretty much the same” as regular times to being “totally shut down.”

As maintenance teams take on additional oversight related to sanitizing workspaces and disinfecting office counters, door handles, bathroom fixtures, and other surfaces, considerably more resources, and spending are devoted to this activity. Does this predict more maintenance jobs – or more specialized cleaning services jobs?

Clark notes that the pandemic has meant an increased emphasis on overall safety. As a result, employee requests for additional PPE should get more attention—but getting PPE delivered quickly or in the amounts requested may be a challenge.

Read the complete Plant Services article.