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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis

Title: Development of Maintenance Management Training
Project Researcher: Robert Newman, Bergstralh-Shaw-Newman, Inc.
Project Manager: Dave Huft
Research Period: 3/1/2000 - 12/31/2002
Cost: $0.00

Problem Statement:Until 1996, the South Dakota Department of Transportations Training Activity regularly provided a four-day Maintenance Management Training course to maintenance foremen and others involved in managing highway maintenance. Course topics included:

  • History and status of maintenance management practices

  • Leadership styles and communication

  • Developing and maintaining maintenance standards

  • Planning and decision making

  • Problem solving

  • Overcoming resistance to change

  • Maintenance budgets and fiscal reports

  • Scheduling crews and work

  • Controlling work and monitoring performance

  • Since the training was last offered, the Department has experienced several significant changes. In 1996, maintenance forces were reduced approximately 30% statewide. The supervisory position of Maintenance Foreman was eliminated from each individual maintenance crew and replaced by the position of Lead Highway Maintenance Worker, a non-supervisory position. Supervisory responsibility was assigned to a new position, Maintenance Supervisor, who typically supervises a maintenance unit comprising three crews at separate locations. (Typically, two maintenance units exist within each of the Departments twelve geographic Areas; the Areas are in turn grouped into four geographic Regions in the Division of Operations.) Furthermore, some of the financial and equipment management procedures involved in maintenance have changed, as have some of their supporting information systems. Finally, the Departments Training Activity was downsized and moved to the states Bureau of Personnel.

    Most significantly, the Department of Transportation has adopted a new management philosophy emphasizing employee involvement and empowerment, performance measurement, and strategic planning based in part on Department-wide customer satisfaction and organizational health assessments.

    Because of the various organizational changes, the incompletely defined roles of Maintenance Supervisors and Lead Highway Maintenance Workers, the significant number of maintenance personnel who have not received formal training in maintenance management, and the natural turnover in the maintenance staff, the maintenance management course needs to be revised significantly. A four-day course is envisioned, with the target audience including Maintenance Supervisors, Lead Highway Maintenance Workers, Area Engineers, Region Engineers, Region Operations Engineers, Region Maintenance Coordinators, and Engineering Supervisors. To allow ongoing presentation and to enhance the credibility of the course, the course is envisioned to be presented, by operational staff of the Department of Transportation and the Bureau of Personnel who are directly engaged in individual course topics or modules. Some training would involve hands-on use of maintenance management information systems. The training should complement general management and supervision training otherwise offered by the Bureau of Personnel.


    Research Objectives:
    1  To develop the content of a maintenance management training course reflecting the Department’s current management concepts, maintenance practices, and organizational structure.
    2  To develop course materials for instructors and participants.
    3  To train a core group of state agency employees who would present the maintenance management training to a target audience of personnel involved in maintenance management.

    Research Tasks:
    1  Meet with the project’s technical panel to review project scope and work plan.
    2  Review current and recent literature, including other states’ experience, regarding training related to managing highway maintenance operations.
    3  Based on interviews with personnel involved in managing maintenance activities and in establishing Department-wide management direction, prepare and present for approval of the study’s technical panel a technical memorandum defining the content, incl
    4  Following the technical panel’s approval of the course content, prepare course materials for instructors and participants.
    5  Conduct a one-day course walk-through with the project’s technical panel to demonstrate the format and content of the course.
    6  Modify course materials based on comments of the technical panel.
    7  By October 1, 2001, prepare and conduct a train-the-trainer course for a core team of state employees who will actually present the maintenance management course in early November 2001.
    8  Observe the first course presentation and revise course materials as needed.
    9  Prepare a final report and executive summary of the research methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
    10  Make an executive presentation to the SDDOT Research Review Board at the conclusion of the project.

    Documents Available:
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