Carrying out preventive maintenance is important for every business, especially if you want to avoid the far greater disruption that can be caused by unplanned downtime if issues are not found and addressed early.
Putting a schedule in place for preventive maintenance is of course essential, as without a proper plan it is possible for your interventions to cause hold-ups and create unforeseen inconveniences.
To address this, let’s go through the steps you will need to set out so that your schedule is effective, efficient and does not throw a spanner in the works for any other team members.
Set suitable priorities
One of the keys to understanding preventative maintenance and putting together a schedule that works is prioritizing your assets according to their role in your operations.
The more important a piece of equipment is to the smooth running of the production process, the higher up the priority list it should be, whether you own it or simply rent it.
Other factors which influence your prioritization during schedule planning are the costs associated with repairing or replacing an asset if it fails, and also the amount of use it receives in a given day, week or month, which might indicate higher than average levels of wear and tear will occur.
The age of the asset could also sway your decision making at this point. Older assets will be more likely to require replacement even if they don’t break down, so prioritizing the maintenance of newer machinery may be wise in this context.
List the maintenance tasks involved
With your priority list populated, the next move is to plot out the maintenance duties which each asset will need, and how often this work will need to be carried out.
Looking at the manufacturer’s documentation will help with this process, as recommendations for maintenance are commonplace. You could even find details about the spare parts that will be required here, which will let you stock up ahead of time.
Review past incidents
Another important facet of building a maintenance schedule is drilling into the data you have on asset performance and use this to determine the likelihood of future preemptive intervention.
If you have experienced avoidable outages and downtime at similar intervals, for example, this could tell you when you need to arrange maintenance, and how frequently this should occur to avoid this further down the line.
Of course if you have an enterprise asset management (EAM) system in place, this info will be on hand anyway. Even if such a service is not already on your books, you should at least have log data to turn to.
Get feedback from team members
When it comes to preventive maintenance, you will not be able to learn everything from the data, and some problems could be overlooked unless you speak with the team members that are responsible for the assets in question.
Asking them about their past repair and maintenance efforts, as well as more generally about equipment performance and what problems commonly arise, can give you an insight into how to adjust your scheduling.
Implement, track and alter your schedule
Once you have enough info to put together your first preventive maintenance schedule, rolling it out is the next step. After that, it is not time to put your feet up and relax. Instead you need to be vigilant, and monitor how the schedule is impacting your assets over time.
If you find that it is falling short and assets are still failing, then changes to the schedule might be needed. This is an ongoing process, and one which with the right management can make a real difference to your business.