How to Start a Preventive Maintenance Program
Starting a Preventive Maintenance Program isn’t easy….or is it? While taking a proactive approach to your maintenance makes sense on paper, putting the practice to work takes some planning and implementation. That’s why many industrial plants outsource their Preventive Maintenance Programs.
But a do-it-yourself PMP can work, too. With budgets tight and repair teams stretched thin, it can take some patience before a PMP bears any fruit. But patience is a virtue that often is rewarded.
Most factory maintenance teams spend time stamping out repairs and drowning in an endless sea of repair and parts availability problems. Getting ahead of the problems seems impossible — but it’s not.
Any size team can implement a Preventive Maintenance Program of some type. Research indicates that up to 70 percent of all equipment failures are traced back to a lack of regular maintenance. Considering this, the benefits of employing a PMP are paramount if you want to achieve optimum performance from your equipment with minimal cost.
It’s easiest to start with one system and form the foundation of your PMP from there. Choosing the most vital system to your operation, commonly the HVAC, makes the most sense and will provide automatic relief to your maintenance team by removing the heaviest stress load.
To facilitate the transition to a Preventive Maintenance Program, try assigning a small task force to handle any immediate repairs while the remaining group continues to build the momentum of the PMP. As you begin to focus on proactive maintenance instead of reactive maintenance, the workload will gradually begin to lighten and you’ll be able to allocate more personnel to preventive maintenance.
As systems are consistently maintained instead of repaired until they fail again, repair personnel will have fewer surprises to deal with and will focus their efforts on continuing the PMP push. The systems will also operate more efficiently, increasing performance, lifespan and lowering energy costs by up to 50 percent. This where using an outsourced field service company can really pay off.
Conquering the facility’s largest systems first will bring the greatest benefit. Research supports the 80/20 maintenance rule: 80 percent of a facility’s problems are caused by 20 percent of the machines.
Once the emergency workload is reduced drastically, maintenance can become a scheduled event instead of a surprise. It’s less likely you’ll be backed into a corner with a must-have expensive repair. You’ll have time to negotiate a fairer price with outsourced repair contractors backed by the confidence of your stable facility.
The endgame is eventually to have 90 percent of your work orders generated by scheduled equipment inspections. Overall, preventive maintenance should eventually encompass about 30 percent of your total maintenance workload.
Having an easy, scheduled facility to maintain should help you attract and retain quality repairmen who will be more than eager to operate on a schedule instead of in a race. Once all the planning and implementation is done, your repairmen will be thankful, you’ll be thankful and your plant’s maintenance spending should be spread out more orderly instead of spikes and valleys. — Robert Dominguez