Why You Need An Operations and Maintenance Manual

a person working on an operations and maintenance manual

Why You Need An Operations and Maintenance Manual

When running a business’s day-to-day operations, there’s something called an “Operations and Maintenance Manual” (O&M Manual) that all employees must follow to make sure that the daily operations run smoothly. For businesses in every industry, Operations and Maintenance Manuals are critical to maintaining smooth daily operations and bringing your customers the quality of product or service they deserve.

The Difference between Operations and Maintenance

Often, operations and maintenance are lumped together. When it comes to the function of the manuals themselves, there are some certain similarities, but they are very different things by definition. 

Operations refers to everything employees do throughout the day. Most of these tasks will be towards the fulfilling the greater goals of your company operations, from things such as making deliveries to sweeping the facility floors.

Maintenance refers to everything needed to be done in order to keep the machines and facility up and running. In a factory, this is critical as the machines are the backbone of what makes the product, however for other jobs, such as those in a restaurant, it could be as simple as preventive maintenance on kitchen equipment to keep them running smoothly.

Why You Need an Operations and Maintenance Manual

There are a few benefits other than what has already been mentioned to writing an O&M manual. One of the big ones becomes visible when onboarding a new employee. This manual can serve as a guide for your new hire to get up to speed on how your business works. Whether the employees comes to your company from your industry of business or not, each company operates a little bit differently from the rest and there are often small, but important, differences between each of them.

As well as taking on new employees, an operations and maintenance manual can help current employees. When certain situations arise, it may be preferable for your employees to not have to turn to you with every small question. If they do have questions, the O&M manual can serve as their go-to document to find out what their next steps should be. 

The job of writing the O&M manual often falls on people such a plant executive, operations managers, maintenance personnel, and HR representatives, to just name a few. Everyone will have different points of view and will think of things differently than their colleagues, so it is important to gather information from a number of sources. However, these employees also have other pressing responsibilities, and it is preferable to turn to the expertise of a technical writer to gather and compile this information instead.

a person working on an operations and maintenance manual at a construction site

Steps to Writing an O&M Manual

When it comes to writing an operations and maintenance manual, there are a number of steps involved. If you want your business to run smoothly in both operations and maintenance, you will want to follow these steps to write a good manual. However, since it is significantly easier to delegate this work to a technical writer, you can also use these steps to communicate with the writer to confirm that their documentation process is strong and will work for your business. 

  • Create an Outline: Creating an outline is a huge part of making any good document, not just an operations and maintenance manual. Having a good base to start with on this long task of creating an O&M manual is critical. The outline is a good time to start to think about what personnel you will need to be involved in making the manual. This is the step where you get the purpose of the manual defined, as well as who the audience will be.
  • Gather necessary documents and information: You should observe how things actually work before you write the manual. Doing this ensures that you understand how the procedures are actually done and you are in touch with the practical application to your manual. You also should compile documents such as OEM guidelines, user manuals, warranties, and any other papers you may need during this step as well.
  • First draft: From writing a paper in school to an operations and maintenance manual, a first draft is always important. The first draft is when you will put the outline to use and make the different segments. Making process steps that can be understood is key, and creating flowcharts or even using pictures may be useful to get the point across.
  • Feedback: After the first draft is done, you should share it with those who have the money into your company and some of the workers who will use the document. This is the time to get the opinions of who you share it with, to take notes of what they say and to go back and adjust it based on the feedback. This might be a step you do multiple times until it is right.
  • Finalize: Give it one final look over. Make sure what needs to be bolded or highlighted to implicate importance is done. This step includes published and distribution of the manual. In today’s digital world, all manuals should also have a digital version. A digital version will help your employees be able to refer to it at a moments notice and not have to always take the time to hunt down the paper version 
  • Update your manual on a regular basis: Things change, and change often they do. As time goes on, new information and details become available. You may even change how the workflow of your company happens in order to expand your operations. When things change, so should your operations and maintenance manuals. It is an ever-evolving process and should be kept up to date to ensure harmony in your business.

It does not matter what type of business you do; making sure your employees are doing what is needed and in the right way is a critical part of it. Having the right people in place to perform all duties, from something as simple as cleaning the floors to performing maintenance on the machines your employees depend on, all starts with a good operations and maintenance manuals. 

If you do not have the people, resources, or time to write an operations and maintenance manual, reaching out to get one done from a professional writing service is the way to ensure it is done right and fits what you need. 

Whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data Corporation, the quality of our work is guaranteed. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or sales@edc.us

Written by Dylan Friebel

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