March 14, 2014
7 Preventative Maintenance Tips for Your Facility
It is easy to get into the rut of the day-to-day grind, and sometimes, we forget that even though we have been doing a job forever, there may be a better way to perform our function. In the facilities maintenance world, part of that function includes preventative maintenance. This handy blog post features seven preventative maintenance tips that can benefit even the most hardened of veterans.
There are many benefits to properly maintaining your equipment and facility, and that's even truer when we look at proper preventative maintenance. The goal is simple: Take care of your machinery before an issue arises to extend the life of the equipment, make it run more efficiently, prevent failure, and, at the end of the day, cut costs. Pretty basic, right?
Well, I am about to make it even easier. Remember those preventative maintenance tips I spoke so highly of above? Here they are, in no particular order:
Set a Plan and Stick to It
Preventative maintenance is all about planning, plain and simple. Every piece of equipment or machinery at your disposal or under your care should have a schedule of what type of maintenance it requires and when it requires that check-up.
If you don't have this in place, I recommend you start here. If you don't have a schedule, after all, how will you stick to it and ensure that the work gets done?
Settings a schedule not only ensures that your equipment stays in tip-top shape for the duration of its projected lifespan, but it also helps you plan for staffing needs and stay within budget. Once you have the plan ready, never deviate from it.
Keep It Simple, Stupid
Perhaps nowhere is the KISS acronym more appropriate than in the maintenance management arena. Keeping it simple is essential to running a smooth maintenance operation.
One way to help keep your ship running right is to use checklists. Take the time to create checklist templates for similar pieces of equipment so your technicians can mark off steps as they work through the procedures. This not only makes sure no steps are missed, but it is great for documentation and compliance issues as well, especially in facilities with strict regulatory guidelines.
Create a Paper Trail
In addition to having checklists, it is equally important to have properly documented work orders and preventative maintenance reports as well. If there is a mishap in your facility, equipment breaks down before it should, or you have a failure that leads to extended downtime, you will want to know why, and without proper documentation, that may prove to be a difficult task.
Documentation can also come in handy in situations such as work-related injuries and in the event that your company faces a fine for non-compliance issues.
Remember, it isn't about playing the blame game - it's about tracking the problem to ensure it does not happen again.
I Have My Eye On You
For the most part, a piece of machinery or area of your facility only has a finite number of things that can go wrong with it. Most of that we can plan for, but not all of it. Because of this, a visual inspection of building grounds and equipment (preferably on a schedule) is key to your preventative maintenance plan. Take the time to check your machinery and facility thoroughly. Look for warning signs such as chipped paint, water leaks, creaky doors, and so forth. Spending the time to catch small problems before they become large will more than pay off in the end.
Assess Your Assets
Another important step to a great preventative maintenance plan is creating an asset list. Draw up a list containing every piece of equipment under your care, and then make notes about each of them. For instance, if your facility has a water heater, how old is it? What is the product life expectancy? How long is the warranty? Who do you call if the equipment breaks? Where do you find spare parts? What condition is it currently in?
If you don't have an inventory list, you can't tell what is missing and you can't stick to your maintenance schedule.
Crack the Whip
Handing out work orders willy-nilly does not always cut it. Having technicians assigned to specific tasks and holding them accountable for said tasks is another smart way to keep on task. Don't just randomly have a stack of work orders for employees to handle - give each person a specific job. This helps avoid the confusion of "Oh, I thought he was doing it" situations.
Take Advantage of Technology
The best tip I can give you is this: Get yourself a computerized maintenance management system. It is the number one thing you can do to help ensure that your maintenance plan stays on course. Without one, you may as well be a ship without a compass.
Looking for more tips? ES Magazine has a great article showing five tips for optimizing a preventative maintenance program.