February 9, 2023


Get a CMMS to Improve Your Shift Handovers

Get a CMMS to Improve Your Shift Handovers

What Is a Shift Handover?

A shift handover is the transfer of work activities from one shift to the next. It is the transition period between two successive shifts or sets of workers. During this period, members of the outgoing shift share relevant information with the incoming shift to ensure a smooth transition.

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The shift handover is crucial to prevent workers from operating in isolated silos. Manufacturing companies with one set of workers throughout the day don’t have to worry about this. However, many companies use shifts to manage labor and maintain production capacity. In most cases, two eight-hour shifts make more sense (in many ways) than one sixteen-hour shift. Furthermore, if you’re running such a team, you need to figure out how to maintain effective communication between your team members.

“The goal of a handover is the accurate reliable communication of task-relevant information across shift changes or between teams . . . ensuring continuity of safe and effective working.”   


Why Do Shift Handovers Matter?

Imagine you’re running a plant with two daily shifts. During the morning shift, a machine overheats. The entire floor learns of this and knows to avoid the asset. The manager also already called on a technician for corrective maintenance. Imagine also that the next shift resumes without getting this information. The workers, unaware of the state of the asset, attempt to start it up. Apart from the wasted time, you’re looking at a significant safety hazard.

As seen in this example, the value of frontline knowledge cannot be overemphasized. One shift must communicate whatever they learned to the next before work begins.

shift handover

The goals of an effective shift handover process include the following:

  • Maintaining reliable communication across shift changes
  • Communicating any challenges or problems that the incoming shift might face
  • Reviewing the past shift’s output and seeing what the new shift can learn
  • Adapting production to the current situation

“Good communication between teams working on plants is an important contributor to safety. When a team hands over responsibility to another (as takes place during shift handover) there is always the possibility of an important detail being overlooked.”


How to Execute Shift Handovers

For a successful shift handover, shift managers should ensure the outgoing team gets ready properly. In addition, the workers should gather any information they need at the end of a shift, before the handover. This way, they are fully prepared when the shift handover meeting begins. Principles for boosting the usefulness of your shift handover procedures include the following:

  • After shift changeovers, the incoming shift should have time to look over the information from the previous shift.
  • Shift handovers should take place face-to-face. While this isn’t always possible, it helps prevent miscommunication between shift teams. In addition, team members can ask clarifying questions and get detailed answers. In cases where teams work remotely, you can facilitate shift changes with a CMMS.
  • Effective shift handover communication should involve both verbal and written information.
  • Teams should create a shift handover report to document anything shared in the meeting.

“Organizations will need to begin by leveraging new, real-time communication and work-management tools. Implementing modular-based software architecture enables teams to effectively use technologies that other units have developed. This minimizes handovers and interdependencies that can slow down production cycles.”


How to Use a CMMS for Shift Handovers

To maintain successful shift handovers, you should standardize the process. Team members should know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. 

A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) provides a supportive framework for standardized operations. Here are some applications.

Helps Standardize Your Procedures

Your shift handover procedures may seem straightforward enough to remember. Similarly, you might opt for pen-and-paper instructions or verbal work orders

But to prevent mistakes, we recommend not relying solely on conversations. 

However, CMMS software will allow you to create customized procedures according to your needs. A CMMS allows you to document the important shift handover information and store any templates your team members can refer to when needed. MaintainX, for example, helps you create checklists for procedures and document the uptime and downtime of any failed assets.

Helps Facilitate Communication

In addition to creating procedures and schedules, a robust CMMS will allow you to assign these work orders to specific techs or teams. This means people get notified once they have a task.

MaintainX, for example, is a mobile-first application. You can create and assign work orders and get real-time updates from team members. In addition, you can notify members who need to prepare for handovers before shift changes.

shift handover

Helps Keep Workers Accountable

Workers can get so busy that they overlook specific tasks. It’s not a stretch to imagine a technician so occupied with working on an asset that he forgets to prepare for a shift handover. A CMMS with a mobile application will deliver notifications and reminders to workers. Managers can also get, in one place, a clear look at who is responsible for what.

Facilitates Remote Handovers

Depending on your company, you may have remote workers who aren’t available for face-to-face handovers. A CMMS with chat functionality can enable swift and direct information exchange.

Helps Document Information

Teams should maintain and store their shift handover reports. Instead of using physical documents, you could use a CMMS with cloud-based storage for easy access and safe recordkeeping.

Helps Analyze Data over Time

In line with the principles of continuous improvement, study your handover reports over time. Paying close attention allows you to note any opportunities to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the handovers.

MaintainX, for example, stores your information and data and provides opportunities for analysis in real time. The app features dashboards that monitor performance over time. You can note any key performance indicators (KPIs), trends, or deviations you need to address.

shift handover
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Use MaintainX to Optimize Your Shift Handovers

MaintainX is a user-friendly CMMS available on the web and mobile. The software offers more than your average CMMS and was recently rated the #1 CMMS in G2’s Winter 2023 Report.

In addition to helping with processes like preventive maintenance, MaintainX can help you and your team carry out proper shift handovers by:

  • Automating shift handover work orders and setting them to repeat on particular days and times
  • Listing work instructions and procedures, so staff knows the process for shift handovers
  • Creating templates and checklists for shift handover reports
  • Storing previous shift handover reports to be able to access the data whenever and wherever you need to

Check out MaintainX today!

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Lekan Olanrewaju
Lekan Olanrewaju
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