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Effective Facility Maintenance

Facility Maintenance Done Right: Implementing Planned, Preventative, and Responsive Approaches for Business Growth

When it comes to the initial implementation of your new planned maintenance schedule, things can feel a little daunting. Of course, when you choose to work with MJP Plus, you’ll have the benefit of a team of experts who can help to plan and schedule ongoing maintenance with as little disruption to the running of your business as possible.

If you try to come up with a maintenance plan without professional assistance, you may find that things don’t go according to plan. One of the main reasons for this is that large business owners and managers make one of several common mistakes when implementing a new maintenance plan.

Unclear Instructions

A planned or preventative maintenance program isn’t always the simplest of things and in many cases, they can contain a lot of complexities. One of the most common mistakes for organisations setting up a plan is not making the instructions clear for the people that will be carrying out the maintenance tasks. The result is a loss of time and money.

When creating a plan, it’s vital that there are step-by-step instructions and not blocks of text that are difficult to decipher. I’ve often seen plans that don’t have clear check boxes but this simple addition can make all the difference in how easy the instructions are to follow. It’s also vital that the correct language is used so that instructions are clear to everyone that reads them.

For example, the term check or inspect may be taken differently by different technicians so it’s important to make it evidently clear about what exactly needs to be checked or inspected and how. Where this doesn’t happen, technicians may mark a task as completed when, in reality, it isn’t.

Getting Priorities Right

There have been so many times that I have worked with a manager to implement a maintenance plan only to find that he or she has not prioritised certain pieces of equipment that really ought to have been at the top of the list.

This can be different depending on the business but you’ll need to place equipment that has the highest chance of failure at the top of your priority list. This might include machinery that would halt production in the event of a fault or safety equipment that needs to function perfectly.

Mistakes With Timing

It can be tempting to squeeze preventative maintenance into any time slot that is available as many business managers think that this is a good way to prevent downtime during maintenance. However, when you’re implementing your plan, this can spell disaster as there are some checks, inspections or tweaks that need to be done at a certain time.

In fact, performing these checks outside of the optimal time could make things worse. What’s more, it’s not uncommon for people to go over the top and schedule too many maintenance periods which, while well intended, will ultimately result in a loss of resources and time.

Not Having A Proper MRO Inventory

I previously talked about how having a preventative maintenance schedule can allow you to build a viable and useful stock of replacement parts. However, so many businesses enter into their planned maintenance program without a sufficient MRO inventory and this can interfere with productivity just as much as the faults themselves. It is therefore vital to have all of the correct tools, replacement parts and testing equipment in order that your maintenance staff can complete the work without delay.

Improper Documentation

There is very little point in having a preventative maintenance program in place if you cannot look back at the results of this. I’ve seen it one too many times that a business will perform all of the correct checks, inspections and maintenance but fail to document this.

In the event that a new technician is hired or you need to refer back to earlier inspections and work, you won’t be able to if everything is not correctly recorded.

What’s more, where there is a potential for problems to arise, this can be documented and monitored so that repair work can take place in good time without the need to halt production.

Once you are aware of these common mistakes, it can be much easier to put your plans into place but there are still some important things to consider.

  • It’s imperative that the company as a whole commits to the PM program. Management at the top level and all the way down need to be on the same page and communication between all levels, including the maintenance technicians needs to be excellent.
  • Each person within the company has a role to play where the planned and preventative maintenance program is concerned and must be ready to be held accountable for their part in this.
  • It is essential that there is a maintenance checklist that details the work required for each piece of equipment. It can be useful to use the manufacturer’s guidance when developing this documentation. If this is not available then the expertise of a qualified technician should be sought.
  • Be sure to identify any issues that could affect your critical assets and cause them to break down. This will allow you to build a preventative and planned maintenance program around these issues in the hopes of acting before it is too late. Look at whether machinery has a tendency to break down intermittently with no pattern or whether wear and tear is an issue, for example.
  • When purchasing new equipment for your large business, make sure that you take the time to familiarise yourself with it. Gain as much information on the operation of the machine from those that work with it every day because better knowledge means a greater ability to create a suitable maintenance plan.
  • It’s not enough to just have your PM program in place if your employees are not familiar with how to maintain the equipment on a day-to-day basis. Where planned maintenance may take place week to week or month to month, it is essential that all staff are aware of how to care for the equipment during use. They should also be trained on how to notice any problems and be advised to report any issues as quickly as possible.
  • When heavy equipment is manufactured, it goes through a lot of testing and development which is a brilliant place to start when considering a maintenance program. Before all else, you should look at the manufacturer’s instructions and then build your program around this. You will of course need to think about how the equipment is being used as well as the environmental conditions which can play a role in how often maintenance is required. For example, if the equipment is exposed to a lot of moisture, high temperatures or other factors, this can impact your maintenance schedule.
  • I cannot stress enough the importance of having a proper way to record your equipment maintenance. You need to ensure that you have reliable software for detailing what checks have been carried out and when, any issues or advisories that have been noted and what repairs have been done. You’ll also need to record who has carried out any assessments or repairs so they can be held accountable should there be any future issues. What’s more, having this information can help management in making decisions on how to improve or amend the maintenance schedule in the future.

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