September 25, 2014
5 Proactive Ways to Keep Maintenance Tasks In Check
Many maintenance managers and workers in the reliability industry tend to look at maintenance tasks from either a preventative standpoint or a reactive stance. However, more and more maintenance pros are realizing that taking a proactive approach is more effective and often more profitable. So what is proactive maintenance management and how can it benefit your company?
The concept of proactive maintenance can be a little confusing to maintenance managers. At first glance, the term seems to be pretty similar to preventative maintenance. And while the two may share some principles (and preventative maintenance techniques should never be completely abandoned), proactive approaches take your maintenance plan one step beyond preventative: Instead of trying to prevent issues from arising by performing routine maintenance and check-ups, proactive measures call for you to try to eliminate the core cause of breakdowns and issues.
One example of proactive management is using maintenance software that has the ability to detect trouble areas in equipment (such as areas where lubrication breakdown can cause problems) and adjust your PM plan as needed. For instance, perhaps a particular machine needs more lubrication than other similar ones. The program would "sense" this and offer a suggestion to increase the lubrication application.
Another proactive maintenance software tactic you can use involves monitoring the overall performance of machines to search for subtle (and not so subtle) changes in metrics such as productivity and throughput. If the software notices that your machinery is not performing at its normal standards, you can receive an alert that the machine is on its way to having an issue and deal with it accordingly.
A third, crucial step to using proactive maintenance in your shop is all about training. Not just your underlings, but the higher-ups as well. Undertaking a proactive strategy will likely cost you more in the short term, but will save you much more in the long term. It is often viewed as cheaper to just fix a problem when it arises, but that is a short-sighted view, and maintenance managers know the dangers of that approach.
While I always suggest this in my articles on preventative maintenance, I truly feel that conducting daily walk-through inspections of equipment is more of a proactive old-school approach to maintenance and one I believe every maintenance manager should incorporate. While having the latest and greatest early-detection software is a big part of a proactive strategy, visually inspecting equipment is just as important, as those of us that have been in the industry for a long time will be able to use our senses to detect problems. The more eyes on the machinery, the better!
Finally, being proactive is great, but without a maintenance system in place, it won't matter how proactive you are. Alongside your predictive and monitoring software, be sure to have a good computerized maintenance management system in place and incorporate it in your everyday operation. The reporting, asset tracking, and management, invoicing, and work order (to name but a few) features, alongside your proactive software, are a surefire combination to keep your shop humming along while increasing your company"s bottom line.