July 10, 2014
The 4 Preventative Maintenance Tips You Need to Know
As a maintenance professional working in the ever-busy reliability industry, you no doubt have your hands full managing day-to-day upkeep of not only the equipment and facilities under your charge but the actual management of your maintenance plan and workers as well. Add to that reporting responsibilities and dealing with vendors - the list goes on and on. In such an environment, knowledge is power, and with that in mind, I want to share with you four preventative maintenance tips that will help ease some of the burden you are faced with each day.
One of the best pieces of advice I can offer you is this: Schedule in-person, hands-on inspections of equipment and grounds. While scheduling routine preventative maintenance is great and will help keep your equipment running smoothly for the most part, sometimes machines break down because, well, things happen. Scheduling inspections on a regular basis will help you spot irregular behavior in your equipment strange noises or smells. The same goes for a facility. Inspecting known problem areas, such as the roof, plumbing fixtures, boilers, and HVAC units, ensures that you will find problems in their infancy. You do not need me to tell you how quickly a small problem can turn into a huge issue. Inspections can help you nip nuisances in the bud before they get a chance to blossom.
Along a similar train of thought, I cannot stress enough the importance of using detailed, standardized checklists for similar equipment under your care. Let's face it: As the years go by, we get complacent in our maintenance duties. We begin to rely on the years of experience and expertise we've rightly earned and take that know-how for granted. This can lead to mistakes by your workers, like missed or forgotten steps in the routine tasks they perform so often. In addition, sometimes the day (or week, or month) is just hectic, and in the hustle and bustle, things can get overlooked. Having and enforcing a standardized maintenance checklist is one of the most important parts of any maintenance plan. Incorporate one today if you do not have one in place - you will be glad you did!
No matter what type of business you run or are a part of and no matter how big or small your role, one of the best things you can do in work (and life) is take a step back and give yourself and your situation a good review. Take a look at your preventative maintenance routines and your overall maintenance system and see where you can improve. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Where can you grow? Be honest with yourself, and remember, just because a plan has worked for years does not mean it cannot improve. There is always room for improvement. If you can't readily step outside of your world and review it, invite a fellow respected maintenance manager to come in and look at your system with fresh eyes. The feedback could prove invaluable.
Finally, the best piece of advice I can give you is to implement the use of a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). Maintenance software is important for so many reasons, from tracking and issuing work orders and storing vendor information to reporting, invoicing, and accounting/accountability. A great CMMS is key to keeping your operation running smoothly and efficiently. If you are still relying on filing cabinets, sticky notes, your brain, and spreadsheets to run your maintenance operation, do yourself a huge favor and look into a CMMS. Not only will it make your life easier and extend the life of your equipment, but it will save your company money and even increase profits. And at the end of the day, that is what it is all about!