Documentation

How To Write an Operation & Maintenance Manual & Manage Your Work System Effectively

An operation and maintenance manual is significant to all businesses today, as competition and expectations have upgraded over time.

Introduction

With the steadily increasing number of firms, businesses, and operating systems worldwide, the levels at which they function and their scales have gradually improved to the increasing number of employees, knowledgeability, and work efficiency.

In that case, an effective system to manage the workforce and guide them accordingly for the company's benefit becomes crucial for success.

One of the best ways to ensure that your workers stay focused on the company's goals is to maintain a standard set of instructions, like the operations and maintenance manual. Such manuals serve as the essential structural guide for anyone involved with the business set-up and their projects and help them make better decisions and choices that align with the ideology of the company in question.

The need for management

For a massive firm to function with good productivity and come up with profitable products and services, the employees and units must serve as a union focused on the image and benefit of the company. 

One of the significant issues that may arise to jeopardize this state of unison is an operational disruption and miscommunication between the professionals involved with the said project. Such menial inconveniences can gradually add up to cause severe outbursts in the future, which might affect the smooth functioning of the firm. 

With a practically aligned manual that includes all the possible dimensions of work and function in the company, such discrepancies can be easily bypassed. This ensures that your company works at the best possible efficiency, like a well-oiled machine. This has caused a lot of top-notch brands to focus on how to create an operation and maintenance manual that addresses all the vital areas of concern.

What is an operation & maintenance manual?

It is an elaborate document that includes information regarding the effective management and maintenance of a facility or work system in a limited property determined to instruct and guide those in need. The main goal of a good operations manual is to standardize all procedures within the firm and to ensure consistency across the company. This also ensures that the output is maintained at a constant quality with zero compromises.

The firms determine procedures requiring explanations and guidelines based on the overall content. The data from all the processes are gathered through a long and detailed process. Process automation and documentation tools like Scribe are of great use for this aspect.

Benefits of having an O&M manual

With a concrete set of instructions and essential assistance to complete most duties within the firm, one can efficiently run through the errands and jobs swiftly and accurately. Also, with detailed instructions, the possibility of missing out on responsibilities and compromising one’s work is almost wholly nullified, resulting in the best possible outcome for the company or business as an entity. Your time building an O&M manual adds to your company's profit.

  1. It serves as a one-stop destination for all queries related to one’s duties in any processes within the workspace. It reduces the efforts required from the employer and the employee, as they do not have to seek out manual assistance or check for permissions. A pre-written manual can also give employees details of all associated SOPs.
  2. With an easily accessible manual that explains all the processes in the firm with clarifications on the associated details, training the recruits becomes more manageable. The FAQs and their explanations are used to train teammates introduced within a working system and get them up to date with the functioning methods, which often vary from one group to another.
  3. Since it is available for reference anytime, newbies can simply pull up the resources and go through them at their convenience without having to depend on external factors. This could also be helpful for pre-existing employees because everyone might disagree regarding unusual situations.

Components of an O&M manual

Good operations and maintenance manuals should be self-sufficient and bear a detailed overview of all the processes and components involved in the company's functioning.

If the firm works with machinery or software, the manual should include clear guidelines on operating them. Hence, the manual is a detailed how-to guide to help employees perform their assigned jobs efficiently.

The management aspect refers to the processes that focus significantly on the workers’ dimension. Since the workforce determines a significant part of the function and profit of a company, that part requires excellent attention to detail. 

Apart from the two primary components, here are a few vital pieces of information that one shouldn’t miss while curating an operations and maintenance manual for the work system.

  1. Clear definitions and explanations for all terminologies.
  2. A fixed register with details of technical goods.
  3. Operating system and SOP templates for general functioning as well as the machinery.
  4. Information and instruction regarding data disposal, confidentiality, security, and sustainability.
  5. A detailed drawing and sketch explaining the equipment and framework.
  6. Checklists and schedules for essential processes in the core functioning of the company.
  7. Steps and instructions for regular maintenance checks and quality control.
  8. Flowcharts to clarify any discrepancy regarding hierarchy and problem-solving.
  9. Protocol for emergency response.
  10. Personal aspects concerning hours of work, designation, roles, etc.

However, the components included in the O&M manual can differ according to the firm and its function. Hence, following through with the basic steps for creating a practical manual is essential. Only through detailed technical documentation and analysis can one address all aspects of a system without fail.

How to write an O&M manual?

Coming up with an entire operations and maintenance manual is an elaborate and lengthy process that must be carried out in different phases or steps. Constant scrutiny is also essential to take advantage of all crucial elements that have to be addressed. For the same reason, there are often dedicated teams with the goals of formulating, monitoring, and editing the manual. Here is a transparent process outline for individuals needing clarification about how to write an operations and maintenance manual.

1. Plan & outline

Since the general process and the structure of the firm are clear to the owners, the first step to creating the manual is to create a basic skeleton or a mind map consisting of all the necessary components to be included. Details regarding the crucial elements that require detailed explanations, as well as the structure of the manual, are determined by the expert teams. The tools in the market currently have a wide variety of pre-designed templates you can also choose from.

2. Gathering information & data

For any part of creating a detailed guide or a manual, it is vital to gather details and data from all possible dimensions without missing out. This might be difficult when done entirely relying on mutual means. Hence, various tools like Scribe can significantly help with collection. The device follows an automated approach, collecting, analyzing, and organizing your data. With assistance from these tools, you also considerably cut down time expenditure.

3. The first draft

Once you collect all the necessary information for your manual, check them once for accuracy and reliability. You can then start withṣ an operational plan to incorporate the data into appropriate spaces within the pre-designed framework created previously. Review the compilation you generate this way, and have it checked by professionals, seniors, and the concerned department staff for any possible corrections.

4. Feedback

Sharing your draft with the concerned workers and resourceful personnel plays a significant role in checking the efficiency of your manual. Only through surveying and feedback will you be able to understand any missing links and mistakes within your document. Additional professional input can also help fine-tune your manual and provide better explanations. After receiving and implementing the recommendations from the concerned individuals, the final draft is uploaded and published for distribution.

5. Constant updates

For your operations manual to be self-sufficient and reliable at all times, one has to be responsible for constantly adding and manipulating information based on new changes in the workplace and the processes involved. Your manual must always stay relevant and reliable, provided that the workers use it as a source of instructions for crucial functions in the company. Storing your details efficiently and managing them with automated tools can help simplify this aspect.

Conclusion

The recent advances in business and the development of software tools like Scribe and Scribe pages for assistance have made the operation and management of a firm easier.

With quick and secure access to all required resources, accuracy, and clarity, an operation and maintenance manual can significantly facilitate achieving reasonable profit rates and better productivity and quality with every project undertaken. 

Hence, it is wise for every concerned business and company to devise a good O&M manual, irrespective of the scale and distribution.