April 15, 2014
13 Tips For Industrial Preventative Maintenance
Tips to Improve Industrial Preventative Maintenance
If you work in the reliability industry, you are probably no stranger to the wonderful world of preventative maintenance. In fact, I would even bet you are an old pro at the game. However, I am willing to wager that I can teach an old dog some new tricks, and to back up that claim, in this blog post, I am going to share some industrial preventative maintenance tips I have accumulated over the years. Here are my tips to help improve the efforts of your preventative maintenance system - with special attention given to the industrial sector.
Show Us Your Best Assets
The first and most important step you can take to improve your PM process is to assess your assets. Take vigorous notes about every aspect of them - their location, their condition, how long the equipment has been in operation, how long its life expectancy is, and so forth. Once you have your skeleton, you can begin to flesh it out. Each journey begins with that first step, and understanding your assets is the way to start down the right path.
Audit Your Assets
Now that you have an idea of the equipment under your command, take a step back and ask yourself some critical questions: How much effort will it take to maintain each piece of machinery? Would it be cheaper and more efficient to replace a machine that is barely hanging on? Is the cost of replacement worth a potential shutdown or safety hazard? Do you have enough equipment to run your shop properly and meet the plant"s goals? Maybe you have an excess of inventory - if so, how can you leverage that to your advantage?
Size Up the Troops
Next, you should look at another crucial asset in your charge: your robot - I mean human - staff. How qualified is each member to perform routine and preventative maintenance on each and every piece of equipment in your facility? Do you have enough coverage to ensure that all of the machinery will get the tender loving care it requires? Do you have coverage in the event of an employee injury or leave of absence? The last thing you want is to be left short-handed.
What's the Plan, Stan?
Now that you have a clearer understanding of your staff and assets, you can really begin to narrow in on your PM plan of attack. Who will care for what machinery? How often does each piece require routine maintenance? How about preventative maintenance? How will the issuing of work orders be handled? How do you hold staff accountable for the work they do (or don't do, as the case may be)?
Make the Plan Clear
Once the plan is in place, make sure your staff understands the goals you set. Leave room for other ideas - sometimes, the men in the trenches see things you may not have considered or thought of.
Hold Staff Accountable
Part of "making the plan clear" involves assigning specific tasks and equipment to team members. This way, there can be no confusion - and no dropped balls - when it comes time to fulfill work orders. This is key to keeping your PM schedule on track, especially in the world of industrial preventative maintenance.
Perform Routine Walkthroughs and Inspections
Don't just rely on a schedule of broken machinery to keep your equipment functioning. Visually inspecting - which includes listening and touching as well - can help you detect small problems before they lead to big failures. Most machinery will give off some sign of impending doom well in advance of needing to be replaced. Learn to look for the signs and spot them!
A great tip for improving your PM efficiency is to create checklists for common pieces of machinery and equipment. Have employees follow these checklists to help ensure they do not miss any vital steps during the maintenance process.
Keep documentation on everything: equipment guidelines, user manuals, work order and maintenance histories, OSHA standards - the list goes on and on. Keep an organized, easy-to-find documentation system. This will help make sure all of your ducks are in a row in the event you need to provide proof of due diligence when a machine breaks or an on-site accident or injury occurs.
Making sure you - and your staff - stay up to date on the latest trends in the maintenance and reliability industry increases your team"s knowledge and ability to keep your facility in tip-top shape as well as your ability to adapt to new (and sometimes complex) technology that may be implemented in your company.
Audit Your Process
Never be afraid to "fire" yourself every so often and try to look at your maintenance process from fresh eyes, as though it is your first day on the job. Study reports and past work orders to look for areas of improvement, and don't shy away from weaknesses. If you see a problem area, nip it in the bud before it gets too big. Small issues can quickly pile up - and remember, no process is perfect; you can always improve.
Purchase a Maintenance Management System
The right computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) can help you with all of the above tips and then some. Don't rely on a spreadsheet or bunch of notepads and binders to implement your maintenance system - instead, research quality CMMSs and pick the one that has the right functionality for your situation.
Implement Your CMMS
Finally, it isn't enough to just own a computerized maintenance management system - you actually have to put it to work for it to perform its primary functions: saving you money and increasing your efficiency.
Follow these tips and your industrial preventative maintenance system will be the envy of facility managers everywhere!