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Setting up a preventive maintenance schedule

Setting up a customized preventive maintenance schedule is aimed at achieving the above outcomes. Here are five tips to make this happen:

  1. Get a Handle on Your Assets
    Since company assets are unique and vary by industry and sector, size of the organization and production activities, there is no “cookie cutter” method to developing an inventory list for the purpose of developing a preventive maintenance schedule. At the outset, determinations need to be made about which assets require routine checks and which do not. In general, company assets that will benefit most from a preventive maintenance schedule are those that have a critical operational function, failure modes that can be prevented with routine maintenance and a likelihood of failure that increases with time or use. Assets less amenable to preventive maintenance scheduling may be better handled using spreadsheet systems.
  2. Use Architectural Drawings to Locate Assets

    An architectural drawing is a rendering of an architectural design as plan and/or elevation views of a building or structure. Many CMMS software systems have the capability of integrating architectural drawings with preventive maintenance programs. Using these drawings make it possible to view supply levels visually rather than in a spreadsheet format alone. Most important, exact locations of equipment can be highlighted on the drawings. Knowing the locations of critical equipment in need of preventive maintenance system can facilitate efficient preventive maintenance scheduling because technicians can be deployed to service several pieces within close proximity in a shorter time frame as opposed to the time required to service items spread throughout a facility. This approach results in better time and resource utilization management.

  3. Gather Operating and Maintenance Manuals and Serial Codes
    An important aspect of establishing maintenance schedules is becoming familiar with equipment O&M manuals which among other things, set out recommended maintenance schedules and procedures as well as troubleshooting information. Serial codes are important to ensure that when replacement parts are needed, the correct ones are ordered. An efficient preventive maintenance will benefit from technicians who are knowledgeable about the assets they are servicing as well as having the appropriate parts on hand, when needed.
  4. Review Equipment Repair Histories
    Apart from setting preventive maintenance schedule based on O&M manual recommendations alone, gaining additional information about asset use and repair histories can be helpful. Since no two operations are identical, O&M manual recommendations are just that – recommendations. They do not replace a thorough review of repair and inspection histories. This added information is beneficial in fine tuning preventive maintenance schedules to reflect the actual usage and performance of a particular piece of equipment. Equally important, a review of the repair histories will provide valuable information about prior downtime and serve as a baseline upon which improvements can be targeted.

5. Train your maintenance team

While developing a preventive maintenance program takes time, proper CMMS implementation and adoption of the program is crucial. It is essential that companies prioritize the training of its maintenance staff as they are the core users of the system. Having staff members trained to use a program is a key determinant of successful outcomes. Do not scale back on training. Having staff that buy in to the software, adopt it and use it will ensure the highest ROI.

6. Analyze – adjust - improve

Businesses are dynamic and so are its equipment assets. Because of this, it is important always to analyze the results of a preventative maintenance program and adjust or improve it as needed. Preventive maintenance programs help companies identify equipment that require more time and money than others, leading to adjustments in the preventive maintenance procedure/schedule. Companies often seek the assistance of consultants or CMMS implementation experts to assess and adjust preventive maintenance programs. It's not a bad idea to assess and adjust your PM plan every couple of years. 

Without a doubt, developing and implementing a preventative maintenance program takes time and energy. However, once in place with staff trained to use it, the benefits of automated preventive maintenance far outweigh the costs associated with reactive or emergency maintenance that often results in unforeseen downtime, equipment replacement, and operation disruption. Having facility management software in place that monitors company assets makes it possible for flexible maintenance scheduling saving time, money and energy.

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