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Why Proactive Maintenance Is Better Than Just Preventive Maintenance

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Proactive Maintenance – What Does It Mean?

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Proactive maintenance tries to identify and fix the root causes equipment failures. As part of your maintenance plan it can result in significant cost savings. It is different from reactive maintenance and preventive maintenance.

Preventive maintenance vs. proactive maintenance

Preventive maintenance will try to perform repairs or parts replacement based on a maintenance schedule. For example an oil change every week, change a gasket every 1000 run-hours and so on.

On the other hand …

Proactive maintenance will look at why machines break down.

For instance, it may identify poor quality lubricant as a cause of failure, a technician not seating a gasket properly as another failure cause and so on. Fixing this will cut costs more than just preventive maintenance by itself!

You should have proactive maintenance in your maintenance plan. This is very true if you are doing a lot of corrective or unplanned maintenance. Even if a lot of preventive maintenance is being done, it can reduce breakdowns and unwanted work. This will reduce overall maintenance expenses.

So where do you start?

Your equipment breakdown reports from your maintenance software can provide you a lot of information. Also review work orders from prior periods to identify patterns. You should do this review regularly (say once every three months or less) to identify why equipment is breaking down.

If you have a lot of equipment, you can target equipment that is breaking down frequently or is critical equipment or equipment that is expensive to maintain.

How To Find The Root Cause Of An Equipment Breakdown

1) Poor quality spare parts or supplies

Do you see many breakdowns due to part failures? Look at work order feedback. See if the same spare parts & supplies issues are mentioned frequently. It may be time to look for better quality spares and supplies! Are specific vendors providing these items? They may be providing cheaper parts & supplies at the cost of quality.

2) Maintenance technician mistakes

They may be missing some maintenance steps or not doing them correctly. Some signs of this are the same maintenance technicians having done the prior work, improperly updated work records and so on.

How to fix this? Review maintenance task instructions, identify best practices and act on them. Technicians may need extra training or instructions on how to do the job the right way.

3) Operator errors or misuse

Operators may not be using equipment properly. Maintenance techs may mention this in their work order feedback. In addition, review equipment manuals for possible causes of repeated breakdowns. They may be due to operator errors. How to fix this? Provide information or training to operators on how to use equipment to reduce such failures.

4) Is recommended maintenance being skipped?

When the maintenance team is over-extended this is common. They will start to drop non-critical maintenance. Do you see a lot of work orders left pending or canceled? You should review and see if the maintenance was needed. Identify skipped work that resulted in equipment failure later on. This type of work order needs to be given higher priority and not dropped.

5) Unusual heavy duty cycles

Peak use during a busy season may result in more equipment breakdowns or quality problems. Your equipment history reports can provide data on failures over time. Cyclical patterns can point to seasonal loads. How to fix this? More aggressive preventive maintenance during peak periods can help. However, this may be hard to do if the equipment is in use and cannot be shut down for service.

6) Equipment at end of usable life

You can extend the life of most equipment with regular maintenance and parts replacement. At some point the cost of such repairs exceeds the replacement cost in terms of maintenance costs, downtime losses or quality issues.

Your equipment history reports can give you an idea if equipment is breaking down more frequently as it gets older. Also review task history reports. See if entire classes of equipment (say room HVAC units) need to be replaced. Task history can show if maintenance costs for them are growing rapidly.

Proactive maintenance benefits

To improve maintenance operations it is important to know where you spend money on inventory, labor and downtime. A proactive maintenance plan can assist with this.

Just think about it.

Proactive maintenance will improve your maintenance operations. Use it to find the root cause and make changes as needed. For instance changes to vendors, training, equipment, co-ordination between departments and so on. This can lower costs and improve equipment availability.

However, to successfully do this you must have a way to link assets together and keep track of everything from inventory use to the man-hours spent on maintenance. A good maintenance software program will help!

CMMS Software Selection Guide

As discussed above, all this assumes that you can get good reports from your maintenance software aka CMMS. Are you looking for new CMMS software? There are many CMMS programs available for maintenance management of equipment, machinery and facilities. It can be hard to identify which one is a good fit for you!

Use this free guide with fifteen tips that you can use to help find the right program for your needs.

Free CMMS Software Selection Guide

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