Eight Tips for a Successful Preventative Maintenance Strategy
One of the strongest arguments for implementing a preventative maintenance program in any facility is the fact that it minimizes interruptions to production by scheduling the turning of wrenches in the facility. A successful and effective preventative maintenance (PM) strategy keeps machines running, infrastructure sound, and serves the entire facility on a scheduled and purpose driven timeline.
So how does an operational facility implement preventative maintenance without bringing everything to a screeching halt? Planning followed directly by a lot more planning. The more detailed your preventative maintenance plan, the more in depth the written procedures; and the more training your staff and mechanics receive means less downtime for the facility, as well as a smoother transition for everyone involved.
Starting from the very basic layout, the skeleton of the PM program and working forward, these are the eight tips that you can utilize to ensure you are working into a preventative maintenance strategy that works for your site.
1. Assess your facility with an objective eye. Inventory all of the assets on location, and assign each asset a tag.
Starting from the exterior grounds and moving inside, every piece of equipment, vehicle, tank, packaging line, pump, motor, and area of the facility will need to be named, its value assessed, condition documented, and owner’s manual uploaded and filed. Note the full name of the asset, then it will need a tag for its label in your Computerized Maintenance Management System or other preventative maintenance program.
Let’s say that Mine 01 is your first production area inside the facility. The tag for that area could be M-01, and all of the assets inside of that particular mine are assigned to Location M-01. That would make package prep line 1, PPL-1 which is located in M-01. By following a strict set of rules with the nomenclature of the assets, it not only gives a sense of order to the program, this also ensures that someone unfamiliar with your program, like an inspector or auditor, could come into your facility and locate the equipment easily, ensuring them that the correct equipment is being maintained and certified. A sensible nomenclature system really removes any guesswork from facility maintenance and reduces issues with incorrect equipment being repaired or maintained.
2. Ensure that you upload manuals and manufacturers documentation, including any warranty information.
Equipment manuals often include parts diagrams, with part numbers that make ordering supplies for equipment rebuilds much simpler than researching the entire parts room to prepare. Also, if there is a warranty in effect, you are tossing money out of the window if you aren’t aware of what is covered and what isn’t when critical parts break down.
3. Establishing a comprehensive preventative maintenance plan to start with enables you to move forward, instead of constantly going back to add missed tasks.
From the beginning, cover your critical areas. All machinery and material handling equipment. All building and grounds maintenance. Facility safety and facility IT also needs to be included in the preventative maintenance guidelines.
Grab the old records or print copies from the old system so that you are able to write the step by step PM procedure as it is instructed in the manual, or was laid out at the time of installation. In most of the facilities that are not new, state-of-the art-designed buildings, you’ll find that over the years, some documentation is probably no longer able to be located. Have your parts department contact the manufacturer and acquire new owners manuals so that you know the guidelines for preventative maintenance of the machine are being written to the letter of the manufacturer’s specs.
4. Verify the schedule of the preventative maintenance tasks.
Just because someone has been lubing line PS-01 bi-weekly for the last five years, that doesn’t mean that is the correct lube schedule for that line. Often when we implement new systems, we find that there are things that have been incorrectly maintained since their installation. What is important is to note the condition of the equipment, correct any issues that are necessary in order to get the equipment back to spec, and then move forward on the correct maintenance schedule beginning today.
5. Ongoing staff training is a fundamental element in preventative maintenance.
Oftentimes, we overlook the fact that the staff that maintains the equipment also needs to be maintained as well. If the PLC programs being used to serve as the facility brain are updated but the maintenance staff isn’t aware of the updates and don’t know how to operate the new PLC modules, that is a serious problem that it will manifest quickly.
Stay on top of your staff’s training opportunities and encourage them to be up to date in all certification and training relevant to their jobs.
6. Review your CMMS.
When a facility goes through rapid growth periods or when the main product line changes drastically, you can have junk files in your CMMS that no longer relate to the equipment on the production floor.
Ensure that your CMMS is routinely reviewed and, when equipment changes, is added, or is removed, that your data administrator is informed and archives the data for the now defunct lines.
7. Regularly review your goals and KPIs, then set new goals and KPIs.
Your first set of goals are much different than the goals you want to achieve at the ten year mark. There’s a good reason for this; company and department growth. Ensure that the KPIs and department goals that are set and documented agree with the actual production goals that your facility has today. It is a good idea to regularly review your goals and checkpoints to those goals being accomplished.
8. Review, Modify, Document.
No facility is perfect. No maintenance team is perfect. It is always good practice to review the PM system in place, make any modifications that better suit the good of the facility, and document those changes so that the system of that particular PM changes, not just the method. Good patterns of double checking the system and committing upgrades to processes to paper is how changes to the facility are tracked and able to be reviewed if the need should arise. In order to have a facility that keeps growing and pushing forward, you have to be able to look at your processes objectively and make changes where they are for the better of the facility.
About the Author
Talmage Wagstaff is the Co-Founder and CEO of REDLIST; is a cloud-based, mobile-ready app that eliminates data gaps between managers, teams, and machines. Raised in a construction environment, Talmage has been involved in heavy equipment since he was a toddler. He has degrees and extensive experience in civil, mechanical and industrial engineering. Talmage worked for several years as a field engineer with ExxonMobil servicing many of the largest industrial production facilities in the country.