Top 6 Risk-Management Skills You Need to Be a Successful Maintenance Manager

What does getting ahead in the food and beverage manufacturing industry take?

If you ask highly-skilled maintenance managers, they will most likely answer preventative maintenance. We look at the top risk management skills you need to succeed in food and beverage manufacturing. 

Maintenance managers ensure equipment, machines, and infrastructure run smoothly and efficiently. 

Sounds simple? 

Not quite. 

Any failure in factory maintenance protocol puts the entire plant at risk. Factory maintenance mishaps have led to a loss in production downtime, loss of revenue, and product contamination. Having sound maintenance procedures is critical to prevent mass recalls. 

 So how does a good maintenance manager get this right? 

According to Alek Zelnins, Maintenance Supervisor of Gay Lea Foods, “The manager must ensure that a robust assets management system is in place and followed, skills of the maintenance team are constantly upgrading due to newer technologies or equipment.” 

We look at the risk-management skills required for maintenance managers in the food and beverage manufacturing industry.

Risk-management skills every maintenance manager needs 

We looked at industry leaders to see what they think are the must-have risk management skills for maintenance managers in the food and beverage manufacturing field. 

1. Data-Centered Risk Analysis 

Maintenance managers should ensure that the maintenance organisation and management systems are prepared to receive the new assets and that a maintenance strategy is in place for all assets. 

Suzane Greeman, a US-based above-ground asset manager, says data-centered decision-making is critical to risk management rather than relying on traditional asset management wishlists. Maintenance managers must use tools to assess asset requirements, maintenance strategies, and mitigating strategies that keep production running longer when repairs might be time-consuming and expensive. 

2. Hazard Identification 

Maintenance managers must identify hazards that could lead to equipment failure or product contamination and be able to assess the level of risk associated with each one. The process involves evaluating the likelihood of an incident occurring and the potential consequences. 

Doing so allows them to prioritise the risks immediately and develop appropriate mitigation strategies. Risk assessment requires technical knowledge, analytical skills, and experience.

3. Communication

Effective communication is essential in managing risks in food & beverage production plants. Maintenance managers must be able to communicate potential risks and mitigation strategies to plant operators, supervisors, and other stakeholders. 

They should also be able to explain the reasons for implementing particular measures and the benefits they will bring. Clear communication helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page and understands their role in managing risks.

4. Proactive Problem Solving

Maintenance managers must be proactive in identifying and solving problems. They should not wait for issues to arise before taking action. They should monitor the production environment and look for ways to improve efficiency and minimise risks.

5. Continuous Improvement

Maintenance managers should constantly review and evaluate their mitigation strategies, looking for ways to make them more effective. They should also keep up to date with the latest technological advancements and industry trends that could impact the production environment. By doing so, they can ensure that their plant remains competitive and adapts to market changes.

6. Mentorship and leadership.

While sometimes thought of as part of risk management skills, training equips mid-level maintenance managers to perform their tasks better, preventing failures and mishaps. 

How to acquire risk-management skills

How can maintenance managers upskill in risk management? 

Attending training courses and workshops or participating in on-job training gives you hands-on experience in factory maintenance protocols, risk analysis, understanding data, and identifying potential risks. 

QTalent helps maintenance managers highlight their risk-management skills

QTalent is Canada’s leading talent discovery platform, helping maintenance managers find top jobs in the food and beverage manufacturing industry. Our sophisticated platform matches skilled maintenance managers with leading food and beverage employers- all at the click of a button

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Romy Zwiers


Romy Zwiers is a journalist and marketing professional with 16 years of experience working across industries with a keen focus on the beverage and food industry, having worked with companies like KFC, Nandos, Cadbury and Coca-Cola.

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