Being a maintenance manager, you know your technical service runs on knowledge about maintenance. Without the knowledge of maintenance engineers, it is difficult to have the maintenance organisation run properly. After all, you need their know-how in terms of equipment, failures, maintenance activities, parts, etc.
The downside of knowledge is that it is mainly confined to the heads of your employees and is gained by years of learning and experience. So how will you make sure all that important knowledge stays within your organisation? Below, you will find three tips for safeguarding and sharing knowledge. After all, knowledge is one of the few things that grows when shared.
1. Do record knowledge that can be recorded
You should always take into account, of course, the balance between the burden of registration and the usual hands-on work. But if you know you have a technical service with older employees, you know that they will leave your organisation sooner or later and that their knowledge will also leave. So invest time in transferring that knowledge from the heads of your employees onto paper or into systems. Stacks of worksheets with oil stains are not very practical when you have new employees, and they have to check the equipment history in order to perform a certain type of maintenance. Perhaps you can hire a student for a part-time job to assist your older employees with properly registering knowledge and information?
2. Pair older employees with younger employees
Pair older employees with younger employees as much as possible. Not only with the goal of realising one-on-one knowledge sharing but especially to have them immediately record that valuable knowledge. Younger employees are often handy with new technologies and media, allowing knowledge to be recorded in a creative way. Think, for example, of showing a video with instructions on performing inspections when this is explained and shown by the older employee. Your new employee will then know exactly how to carry out an inspection, they can rewatch the video when in doubt and they can share it with other colleagues.
3. Use new media for sharing knowledge
Use new media to share knowledge. Technicians are generally not bookworms and, fortunately, books are no longer the only medium for gathering information. For example, make sure that you use user-friendly registration software for storing and sharing knowledge. Or use training software to easily train new employees in carrying out frequent maintenance activities. It can also be an option to use infographics as an approachable way of facilitating knowledge sharing by showing the need-to-knows of a piece of equipment or important safety protocols, for example. Make these available on a central knowledge platform or intranet so that everyone knows where to find the information.
If you would like to read more about the possibilities of safeguarding and sharing knowledge, download our free e-book: ‘Maintenance Issues: How Much Knowledge Will Be Retiring from Your Company?’