Preventive maintenance is a critical function of a maintenance department. The equipment and machines used for production are a manufacturing or industrial operation’s lifeblood. Equipment shutdowns means products not being made or delivered to customers.
Have you ever had this happen to you?
Therefore it is critical to keep such equipment up and running as long as possible. Waiting until a piece of equipment shows signs of trouble can seriously impact production. This in turn, impacts your bottom line.
To combat this, you should use a process called planned preventive maintenance. It is also known as “PPM” or “planned preventative maintenance”.
What does this mean?
In a nutshell, it means that instead of waiting for the machine to malfunction or stop working completely, you schedule maintenance and inspections at pre-determined intervals. This allows you to discover things that may become issues before they actually become an issue.
PPM has been a proven maintenance strategy for a long time. Here we will explain how it works, why it works and how to select the right tools to make it work.
How Planned Preventive Maintenance Works
Each machine has a maintenance plan! This will be based on the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule. It is similar to a car maintenance plan. For example, many car manufacturers recommend you change a car’s oil every 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first. The transmission should be checked annually. A general tune-up should be done once a year and so on.
This same idea is applied to machinery and equipment in your organization. Say your conveyor system’s belts should be checked monthly, the gears weekly and the whole system every six months. You set up each of these inspections in the preventive maintenance plan for the conveyor belt.
This not only applies to industrial equipment. You can also apply this to office equipment such as computers and copiers. For example, software updates, network tests and toner changes and plate inspections can be included on the preventive maintenance plan for office equipment. You can learn more about different scheduling options from “Ways To Schedule Preventive Maintenance For Equipment & Machinery“.
Why This Maintenance Strategy Works
A reactive approach to equipment maintenance means waiting for something to break before you fix it. This means you are not really in control. You will be scrambling to fix problems as they occur. Preventive maintenance plans allow you to take a more proactive strategy.
If you check your equipment on a regular basis, you are more likely to catch small things and repair them before they become larger issues later. Preventive maintenance lowers the chances of losing productivity due to equipment malfunctions or breakdowns. Plus the longer you can keep your equipment running properly, the more productive your business can be.
Other benefits to this strategy include:
- Setting up orders for replacement parts well in advance of when you will need them.
- You can schedule inspections for down times and lessen the impact on production time.
- If you have several pieces of the same equipment, you can often get a volume discount for ordering parts in bulk or reduce shipping costs
How To Make Preventive Maintenance Planning Easier
If you only have a few pieces of equipment to maintain, a simple spreadsheet may be enough to keep your maintenance schedule on track. But if you have a lot of equipment, or just feel more comfortable with a software package, there are several you can choose from.
What to look for in a maintenance management software program
1. A single interface for all maintenance
Pick a program that can handle both unplanned (breakdown) as well as planned preventive maintenance. This is really important! It makes it much easier to track and manage all the maintenance done on an equipment.
2. You get maintenance due warnings or alerts
There isn’t much point of using software if it is not going to remind you when each piece of equipment needs to be inspected. That was probably a big reason you choose to use software to begin with. The software should alert you when your equipment is in need of an inspection. It should nag you to death if you miss that deadline! The nags might be annoying. But they help keep you on track with your maintenance plan.
3. Offers a variety of scheduling options
Select software that allows you to choose the method to use when inspections and maintenance should take place. For example, one piece of equipment might need routine maintenance after a set number of usage hours, another after a set number of months, and even others, a different time frame or measure of use. The software should allow you to set these for each type of maintenance task on a piece of equipment. This will enable you to customize the maintenance plan to suit your particular needs.
4. Has maintenance inventory management
Solid spare parts & supplies management is one of the most significant source of savings when using maintenance management software. You should be able to track inventory use and get warnings when to re-order parts. After all you cannot do preventive maintenance when the spares & supplies needed are not available!
Good preventive maintenance can help your manufacturing business run more efficiently. The more up-time you enjoy – the more you can produce. That equates to more sales and a fatter bottom line. The benefits well outweigh the extra work setting up such a schedule will create. It can take some time to set up an effective preventive maintenance plan. But it is worth the initial outlay for software and time to set up. Over time the process will pay for itself. See “7 Tips To Plan Equipment Preventive Maintenance” for some useful tips.
How To Find The Right Maintenance Software?
Need help selecting the right preventive maintenance software for your company, and not sure where to start? Get this free guide to help you identify the right CMMS product for your organization. There are hundreds of programs available, each targeted at different needs. It can become quite tedious finding the right one!
Use the guide to make your selection process a lot faster and easier.Free CMMS Software Selection Guide