Purchasing Team and Maintenance Staff

Purchasing team and maintenance staff: in this relationship, synergy is essential

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Purchasing team, maintenance staff, managers, supervisors, operators… a company is formed by several centers of activity, each with its own way of working and producing. Have you ever tried to analyze exactly how the activities of each sector relate to one another?


Although they are separated by different names and functions, each department has a direct influence on the end result of the production. If one tiny sector fails, and the mistakes are not corrected, the operation could be compromised completely.

Try to visualize your business as a big machine. A machine is built by many gears, that have different sizes and rotate at different speeds. So that everything works as it should, each gear needs to fit perfectly into the other, to rotate in tune, right? When one speeds up, the other slows down, and so harmony is guaranteed!

In your company, two gears are big success pillars, and must operate in perfect harmony. I’m talking about the purchasing team and the maintenance staff! These two departments operate in a complementary form, and therefore the relationship between the two of them needs to be in total synergy, so that the gears keep rotating perfectly together.

Many companies still do not work in this direction, and so the departments work almost against each other. If one does not help the other, then the entire process is ruined from the start.

Do you think these two departments are working well in your company? Check out below some tips on how to build an ideal relationship between the purchasing team and the maintenance staff, and what to do to ensure the easy flow of communication between them!


Purchasing Team X Maintenance Staff: how do they relate?

The maintenance staff is responsible for assuring the full operation of equipment in a company. If a machine breaks or an accident happens, this is the department that will effectively take care of the problem! Here we say “effectively” because they do not work alone. The purchasing team is the department that will contact the suppliers to work towards
the purchase of spare or new parts for replacement.

Within an industry, we can point out three distinct types of maintenance: preventive, corrective and predictive. As the name implies, preventive maintenance is the one that occurs before the equipment presents any problems, taking into account the approximate lifetime of the item, estimated by manufacturers, and the time for that technology to become obsolete.

The corrective maintenance occurs when malfunctions and accidents happen, correcting errors that the machine displays unexpectedly. Finally, predictive maintenance occurs only when it is absolutely necessary to replace the spare part or equipment, because it no longer works as it should.

For each type of service, one must contact the purchasing team, which will act to ensure that maintenance is effective and takes place in the shortest amount of time possible!


Why is it important?


As you can see, the two departments need to work together, otherwise maintenance can become very complicated – and therefore the entire operation may be impacted. A purchasing team disconnected from the maintenance department can cause untold damage to your company.

Ideally the maintenance should always occur on a scheduled basis, to reduce risks and damage. A scheduled maintenance prevents a device from offering danger to employees, or to impair a stage of the production. However, accidents happen all of the time, and crashes are not as uncommon as we’d like. In those moments, synergy between sectors is essential for the situation to be resolved rapidly and efficiently.

How to improve the relationship between the two teams?

If you are wondering how one can ensure a good relationship between the purchasing team and the maintenance staff, here are some tips:

#1. It is important to share responsibilities, as each team has its role in the whole process. The purchasing team is responsible in keeping track of estimated life cycle of equipment and parts, as well as being in constant contact with the operators to verify that the form of use recommended by suppliers are being followed. This is critical in a preventive approach, as it allows predicting with more assertiveness the ideal time for an intervention by the maintenance team.

#2. It is also important to constantly check the conservation of the parts, carrying out inspections during operation and also when the equipment isn’t in operation. This way, it is possible to keep the suppliers prepared, and save a lot of time during maintenance.

#3. Speaking of suppliers, although it may seem strange, there is an important connection there. In cases of corrective maintenance, the purchasing team works on an emergency, to ensure that the product or spare part is repaired or replaced as soon as possible to avoid further production losses. In these cases, communication between the two sectors is crucial in determining the choice of supplier and conducting maintenance!

#4. In the case of an accident, for example, it’s necessary to check the causes and the extent of the damage. What happened was due to the misuse of the equipment or was it a manufacturing defect? Will a change of supplier be necessary? Will you need to replace the entire equipment, or just spare parts?

#5. All these questions will be answered by the maintenance staff, and can lead to changes in the course of action of the purchasing team. There you have it, more evidence of the much needed joint action of the departments.

#6. Maintenance staff should contact the purchasing team immediately if damage is reported by an operator, in the event of any changes from what is expected of the equipment’s behavior and in case of suspected defects. Meetings should be held regularly to keep the shared data up to date. The key here is to exercise predictability demands!

As you can see, it is essential to maintain a synergistic relationship between the purchasing team and the maintenance staff. The managers of each area should concentrate efforts into ensuring the interaction between sectors occurs in the best way possible, and certainly these efforts will certainly be rewarded: more productivity, higher levels of quality in the production, less losses and a much safer environment for the entire company!

Do you know any other activities where those two teams should work together? Leave it in the comments below!

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