Building Training Programs for Maintenance Staff
Learn the step-by-step process of developing a maintenance training plan, crucial elements, industry-specific insights, and the future of maintenance training.
Maintenance technicians are crucial personnel in the workforce, and companies are always on the lookout for individuals suited to monitor and maintain their mechanical systems and facility assets. When taking on a new role at a company, even an experienced mechanical maintenance technician must learn the specific nuances of taking care of the facility’s assets for the company they’re working for.
Many businesses implement training programs to ensure maintenance teams can fill their roles effectively. A training program informs staff on performing proper preventative maintenance and why it matters, as well as processes for emergency repairs and safety protocols.
What are Maintenance Training Programs?
A maintenance training program is a series of seminars, workshops, and required reading that helps personnel master the maintenance and repair of assets and equipment that your company relies on. Maintenance training helps fill the skills gap that skilled technicians have by increasing their understanding of the systems unique to the company.
Components of a Maintenance Training Program
A maintenance training program focuses on the skills maintenance workers need to perform their duties effectively. These trainings typically focus on one or more of these key components.
- Safety training: Ensures understanding of workplace safety and injury prevention
- Technical skill development: Prioritizes understanding of the facility’s equipment and its essential parts
- Enhancing problem-solving skills: Develop resourcefulness and troubleshooting techniques
- On-the-job training practice: Gives hands-on training with facility equipment in a controlled setting
- Learning the latest technologies: Keeps personnel’s understanding of new equipment and assets current
Developing a Maintenance Training Plan
Your company may want to develop its own maintenance technician training plan for whatever reason. You don’t have access to third-party maintenance training or may have specific needs that won’t be served by the basic skills an outside training program teaches. Follow these essential steps in developing training for your organization’s maintenance technicians.
1. Assess Training Needs
Examine what skills and areas of knowledge your maintenance technicians need to learn or enhance. For example, a mechanical maintenance technician may have completely different areas they need to work on than facilities maintenance technicians. One may need to focus on industrial machinery mechanics, while the other may need to focus more on skills that use hand and power tools to maintain a facility.
2. Define Learning Objectives
Tailor your on-the-job training program’s specific objectives and requirements to fit your organization’s unique challenges. A manufacturing facility that produces liquid medicine may need to develop industrial maintenance training focusing on basic skills for working with fluid power systems. Facilities maintenance technicians might need to learn how to plan maintenance for facilities and maintain and repair company-specific electrical systems or HVAC systems.
3. Develop Training Content
Create training materials and resources specific to each topic. Provide instructors with a curriculum outline and instructional content. As well as hands-on training, students can benefit from study guides and reference materials focusing on your industry and company-specific assets.
4. Determine Training Methods
Determine your approach to training based on content and learning objectives. Mechanical training programs may benefit students with a blend of hands-on practice and classroom material. On top of classwork, facilities maintenance technician training could involve walking through the facility to familiarize students with your company’s various internal systems.
5. Implement Training Program
Determine a schedule for training sessions and conduct your courses according to the established schedule. Schedule sessions for slow periods if you provide enhanced skills or continuing education training.
Establishing a Strong Maintenance Training Program
Incorporating these best practices into a training course develops a strong preventive maintenance program and helps ensure effective and efficient maintenance departments. Enhancing your maintenance team’s skills helps ensure reduced equipment downtime and repair costs once they’re on the factory floor doing what they were trained to do.
1. Establish a Training Schedule
To minimize the impact on daily operations, consider the availability of existing maintenance staff and your company’s operational requirements. Stagger schedules to ensure someone is attending to your maintenance needs. For new employees, you’ll likely want to conduct introductory training every workday from the time they start until completion.
2. Select Competent Trainers
Identify knowledgeable individuals in your organization who are skilled in the subject matter, such as a veteran maintenance technician. Personnel with experience in training are also helpful, as they have the organizational and communication skills essential to effective training.
3. Implement Assessments
Written tests and quizzes are terrific tools for measuring how much knowledge and understanding participants gain during a maintenance training course. Class Q & A sessions and oral quizzes are other assessment tools you should consider.
4. Invest in Technology
Information technology (IT) tools and online training options are great investments for developing training delivery and building assessments. Training software programs can accurately track progress and provide a level of ease when adding new pieces of training to your program and updating content with new industry information.
5. Evaluate Training Outcomes
Regularly review and update the training program based on student feedback and your organization’s evolving needs. Learning to advance as a facilities maintenance technician should be challenging but not impossible. If participants consistently find the program requirements too easy or difficult to get through, look for gaps in your training program and do your best to fill them.
Maintenance Training Programs in Different Industries
Becoming a maintenance technician will have varying challenges based on your industry. A facilities maintenance technician at a shipping facility will encounter equipment different from that of a mechanical maintenance technician in a shoe factory. Here are some typical challenges a maintenance technician might face in these common industries. All industries might include computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) training. A CMMS is a software solution that helps track and schedule maintenance tasks and monitor equipment and assets.
Industrial maintenance training for a manufacturing facility most often focuses on optimizing the performance of production machinery and keeping production downtimes to a minimum.
Energy and Utilities Industry
An energy or utility company typically utilizes industrial maintenance training programs to focus on ensuring the reliability of the utility’s infrastructure and maintaining efficient energy production.
Industrial maintenance technician training for shipping and freight companies prioritizes assets that contribute to fleet efficiency. Specific training for a particular transportation company might focus on the upkeep of hand and power tools that mechanics use for maintaining vehicles and housing spaces for the vehicles.
Construction industrial maintenance training focuses on inspecting buildings, building equipment, and internal systems for safety and structural issues. Training also typically covers repair and upkeep and recognizing when a third-party specialist might need to get involved.
Technology and IT Industry
Tech and IT companies often have systems that vary greatly from each other. However, all training programs typically focus on ensuring the reliability of systems and the physical and virtual infrastructure of a particular company.
The Future of Maintenance Training Programs
Maintenance training programs are moving more and more toward technology-based teaching and assessment methods. Companies are increasingly implementing CMMS and facility management software solutions like ServiceChannel. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) offer detailed virtual hands-on experience without any danger to real systems. Online training programs make it easy for instructors to craft and adjust testing and course material as needed.
Invest in Your Team, Invest in ServiceChannel
With the complexities of managing an effective maintenance team and training new technicians, a robust software solution like ServiceChannel can greatly simplify the process. Learn about ServiceChannel today and take the next step in streamlining your maintenance training programs. Request a demo today.