Maintenance Q&As

What are the best ways to document my maintenance process to avoid siloed knowledge

Answered June 04 2019

“Siloed knowledge” is the knowledge that is passed around a facility by word of mouth alone, which means that the wealth of procedural knowledge and failure solutions doesn’t exist in a physical form. This can be fixed, though, by implementing pristine documentation practices.

Invest in technical writers

Expecting engineers and line workers to do all procedural documentation is a terrible move for avoiding siloed knowledge. Usually, these workers are far too busy to document their procedures, which is what leads to siloed knowledge in the first place – no one has the time to create the documents that are then used to train employees, so they learn by watching and listening.

A technical writing team dedicated to procedure documentation can alleviate this burden from other employees. This has two benefits: it allows engineers and workers to focus on their jobs while giving your facility a knowledge base of procedure docs to draw on.

Create and publicize your knowledge base

In order for training documentation to be useful, it needs to also be accessible. If training docs and procedures are hidden away on someone’s hard-drive, they aren’t being used to train, which keeps siloed knowledge in circulation.

Instead, invest in a knowledge base and find ways to publicize this knowledge to employees. Constantly refer to the documentation, attach it to work orders, and provide incentives for correct procedural use.

Implement documentation into your CMMS

One great feature of CMMS software is the ability to attach documents to work orders and dispatches. It’s much easier for an employee to access this documentation out in the field if it’s attached to the work order they’re responding to.

This also kills two birds with one stone: not only does the siloed knowledge disappear, but it also makes sure the procedures are done 100% correctly (as siloed knowledge can sometimes have gaps or inconsistencies that skew results).

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