A handy guide to Preventive Maintenance: 6 steps to reduce costs, streamline operations, and maximize the performance of your assets

Preventive Maintenance guide
Digital Transformation

A handy guide to Preventive Maintenance: 6 steps to reduce costs, streamline operations, and maximize the performance of your assets

Why preventive maintenance?

A preventive maintenance program is a series of processes, guidelines, and tools that help your business do as much preventive maintenance as possible, at optimal costs and lead times. But, why do you need a preventive maintenance plan? What benefits can you reap from it? 

We’ve all heard our mothers say “Don’t wait till the last minute to do your homework. Take these medicines on time, or your flu will get worse.” All these sayings point to the age-old human problem of procrastination.

In business, one manifestation of procrastination is reactive maintenance, which refers to the act of repairing an asset only after it breaks down or fails. When an asset malfunctions, the maintenance technician will identify the issue that occurred, and take steps to restore the asset to an operational condition. 

Although it is the right strategy for small, and non-critical assets, repair costs can quickly multiply over time, when reactive maintenance is employed to treat mission critical devices. 

  • To put it quite simply, reactive maintenance involves: 
  • Chaotic execution of work responsibilities 
  • Frequent equipment failures 
  • Unplanned downtime due to equipment failure 
  • Delays in service and maintenance calls 
  • Increased costs due to broken building components 

On the other hand, a preventive maintenance approach to facility management involves foresight, and identifies a crisis before it happens. Real-time monitoring is leveraged to predict system degradation, and machine failure. 

A preventive maintenance program may have the necessary contingencies in place in case of a break down, such as backup generators for power outages, and spare parts for immediate asset repair. 

Machines are actively monitored and maintained, to ensure optimal performance. Preventive maintenance can yield several benefits for your business, including: 

  • Fully functional equipment and components 
  • Longer life expectancy of critical equipment 
  • Greater cost savings in maintenance 
  • Improved worker and environmental safety 
  • Faster response times to service and maintenance calls 
  • Detailed measuring/reporting of facility management metrics 

If you’re looking to break out of a preventive maintenance rut, having a solid blueprint in place can work wonders for your business. It allows you reduce downtime, while keeping the temptation to fall back into a reactive approach at bay. 

That being said, here are some things you should consider to implement an effective PM plan: 

6 actionable steps to achieve a success

Here are the 6 actionable steps to you can take to achieve success in preventive maintenance transition

Determine goals and decide which assets should go into your PM plan

Implementing a preventive maintenance program doesn’t have to be a complex affair. Assets critical to production, quality, safety, and service delivery are the ideal candidates for preventive maintenance programs. 

Use reactive maintenance to service all other equipment. Furthermore, you can reduce the budget by developing an organized system that clearly outlines goals. Some examples of program goals include reduced equipment downtime, improved work completion rates, maximized production time, and increased asset reliability. 

Consult your organization’s machine operators, maintenance technicians, and other key stakeholders for their input early in the process. Their feedback can prove highly valuable while establishing priorities, training future hires, and outlining standard operating procedures (SOPs). 

Build intelligence

Even if you’re not using a CMMS system (computer maintenance management system) currently, you will hopefully have some sort of maintenance log available at your disposal. Look at what kind of failures were experienced in the past by your PM assets. 

Use this data to extrapolate, and establish what kind of preventive maintenance work you can schedule, and how often to prevent some of those failure modes in the future. 

When determining failure development times, it helps to look at the materials provided by manufacturers. Equipment manufacturers have a plethora of statistical data from in-house testing and field tests performed by customers. The manuals they provide often contain schedules, for necessary maintenance, usage of critical spare parts, and basic maintenance instructions.

However, the running speeds and stresses in your operations can significantly alter the rate at which different assets wear out. This means that you should factor in the experience within your facility as well, to create an appropriate PM schedule. 

Create KPIs and commit to measuring them 

Now that your goals have been established, it’s important to attach numbers to them. It’s hard to determine whether a preventive maintenance program is working without establishing concrete targets. 

Some common metrics that you can use to measure performance include scheduled maintenance critical percent, planned maintenance percentage, preventive maintenance compliance, overall equipment effectiveness, and mean time between failure. 

Once you know which KPIs you’ll be using to measure performnce, the next step is to create a framework to constantly measure these metrics. Build processes and procedures that ensure data is collected, measured, and analyzed on a regular basis.

Leverage the best technology

Technology is a crucial aspect of any successful preventive maintenance plan. Embrace a holistic digital solution, which allows you to efficiently handle all the nitty-gritties of PM such as, scheduling, inventory maintenance management, reporting, and organizing work orders. 

Before choosing a CMMS platform, you need to consider multiple factors including the skillset of your team, budget, capabilities, team preference, data security, and ease of use. 

Enable Manufacturing Companies with Industry 4.0 SolutionsOptimize routes

Your inspection routes should follow an efficient path. If your technicians are zig-zagging through your facility during a routine inspection, it’s high time you address the issue.

Multiple smaller routes are often more efficient than long ones. A massive route can easily tire out your technicians, making it more difficult to complete maintenance jobs on time. 

Train, implement and fine-tune your plan

Create a training strategy to get your team up to speed. Team members should be trained on any new technology, as well as the processes and procedures that accompany a preventive maintenance transition. 

While implementing a PM program, it’s a good idea to consider a pilot program at a specific section in your facility or a few particular assets. This way, you can help your team adapt to changes, and sort out any bottlenecks in your program. 

Finally, strive to continually fine-tune your plan. Use data captured through sensors, work-order notes, and digital reports to see where strengths and weaknesses lie. Fortify procedures that are working well, and enhance operations, which require improvement. 

Final thoughts

We’ve given you some of the tools you need to implement a successful preventive maintenance program, which can extend the life of your critical equipment, reduce costs, and enhance operations. And here is a case study illustrating the successful implementation of Preventive Maintenance solution for one of our renowned client. 

If you’re looking for a customized CMMS solution, talk to our experts, and find out how we can help!