Preventive maintenance is the art of fixing a problem before it occurs, and while many facilities managers understand the benefits of preventive maintenance, acting on that knowledge and implementing it is the tricky part. Like most things in life, planning ahead will help your facility save time and money in the long run, but it will also make the transition to performing routine preventive maintenance as painless as possible. Follow these steps to create and implement an effective preventive maintenance schedule to keep your facility running efficiently.
1. Get organized
The first step in creating an effective preventive maintenance schedule is to organize all data you have regarding equipment. Some things to consider collecting:
- Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) recommendations: Oftentimes, OEMs give guidance on optimal equipment care and suggestions for preventive maintenance. Take this into consideration when creating your plan.
- Maintenance history: A detailed history of past breakdowns and maintenance performed of your equipment can guide you in determining the optimal time to perform preventive maintenance.
- Spare parts inventory: An accurate and dynamic spare parts inventory log will ensure you always have the necessary parts to perform preventive maintenance as scheduled. There are several different systems of inventory management – find the method that works best for your facility and create an inventory tracking routine based on it.
- Facility maps: Including detailed facility maps with asset locations marked will help your technicians maneuver through the facility more quickly. Maps are especially helpful if your facility occupies multiple floors and buildings or you regularly bring on new technicians.
Once you have this data collected for all equipment, the next step is finding an effective way to store it. For optimal use, this information should be easily accessible to all technicians at all times. Consider using a cloud-based database to store information – this way your technicians will be able to access data anywhere in your facility from a mobile device.
2. Assess your assets
Once you’ve organized all the necessary information regarding your equipment, it’s time to make decisions regarding maintenance priority. In an ideal facility, you would always have the time, resources, money, and staff to carry out a perfect preventive maintenance schedule on all equipment, but that’s not realistic for every facility. The next step in creating an effective preventive maintenance schedule is assessing your assets and determining where to direct limited resources.
- Equipment: Determining which equipment to prioritize in your facility’s preventive maintenance schedule comes down to two major considerations. First, determine what equipment is most essential to the functionality of your facility. Second, consider what equipment will benefit most from preventive maintenance. To assess the comparative cost savings of performing preventive maintenance on different pieces of equipment, start by considering how often preventive maintenance must be performed, and the cost of that maintenance. Next, compare those costs to the cost of an unplanned breakdown or machine replacement. Use these two metrics to cater your plan towards preventive maintenance on the most cost-effective pieces of equipment.
- Budget: If you are working with a pre-set budget, allow the equipment prioritization to act as a guide in allocating the funds available to your preventive maintenance schedule. Keep in mind that while preventive maintenance significantly reduces the chance of unplanned breakdowns, in some instances it is unavoidable. Make sure to leave room in your budget to account for emergency repairs.
- Human capital: The amount of preventive maintenance able to be performed is also bound by the constraints of human capital. Make sure the plan is attainable for your technicians. If the cost-savings outlined in your equipment assessment are great enough, consider hiring more staff to perform preventive maintenance.
3. Prioritize and plan
Now that you have all the necessary information gathered, it’s time to start putting the plan together. Use the cost-benefit analysis of performing preventive maintenance on each piece of equipment to build your budget or allocate the funds allotted to you. Determine a schedule that is realistic for your technicians to complete, making sure to allow time for unplanned maintenance as well.
Finalizing your preventive maintenance schedule is like completing a rubix cube – there are a lot of moving pieces that need to be considered and balanced, and trial and error is a crucial aspect of creating the perfect plan. Once you’ve landed on the perfect formula of maintenance to resources, the next step is to actualize this plan– getting it down on paper is only half the battle.
4. Implement and improve
Once your plan is set, train your team on their responsibilities and the maintenance procedures to be performed. Preventive maintenance schedules have a lot of moving parts, so it’s important to stay organized. Making sure every technician knows which tasks are assigned to them and how to properly perform the maintenance is a big undertaking.
Computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software is a great tool to stay organized and manage maintenance in one central hub. CMMS software will allow you to assign tasks to technicians, track the performance of equipment, and submit work orders for reactive maintenance when needed. If you choose to implement a software system to assist in carrying out your preventive maintenance schedule, make sure your technicians are properly trained on how to utilize the software in order to reap the greatest benefits and gain the most accurate feedback.
Trial and error should also be embraced throughout the implementation of your preventive maintenance schedule. After seeing how the scheduled maintenance performance unfolds, make adjustments as you see fit. Maybe there’s not enough work to be done, maybe there’s too much. The most effective plans are constantly improving, especially as your facility grows and improves itself.
If you decide to implement CMMS software to assist in carrying out your preventive maintenance schedule, use the information it generates on the effectiveness of the maintenance being performed to make informed decisions about your plan moving forward. Every so often go through the steps listed here again to continuously keep your facility up to date with the most relevant information regarding your equipment and its maintenance history.