Production is complicated.

After all, thousands of steps occur on the shop floor every shift – all of which can have a material impact on the business – and come to a grinding halt the moment our equipment stops working.

For years, we have been hearing about Preventive Maintenance (PM) and while the proactive process is said to preclude downtime, we have been left to wonder:

  • Does it really work?
  • Can it save our facility time and money?

Preventive Maintenance (PM) is 30% less expensive than reactive approaches. It was recently shown that for every $1 spent to improve equipment reliability, there is a $5-10 return to the bottom line.

Research within the industry certainly supports the benefits. In fact, it was recently shown that for every $1 spent to improve equipment reliability, there is a $5-10 return to the bottom line (1) .

This preventive approach to maintenance is approximately 30% less expensive than a reactive one (2).

Let’s take a look at why PM has such a positive impact and how, using the six steps described below, you can leverage Preventive Maintenance in your own facility.

The primary objective of Preventive Maintenance is to create a simple yet efficient schedule to maintain equipment.

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Step One: Plan Ahead of Time

From our youth, we have heard about the benefits of “proper planning” – this principle stands just as firm on the factory floor. Without a plan in place to check and inspect equipment we are at the mercy of the machine.

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When it goes down we must stop production to fix it. The process wastes time, often halts manufacturing, and leads to rushing around as we try to control the issue as quickly as possible.

There is a better option.

The primary objective of PM is to create a simple yet efficient schedule to maintain equipment.

The plan should state clear timelines to perform periodic maintenance and be assigned to a set of skilled technicians. With each technician focused on a specific machine(s) at a regular cadence, critical equipment can receive proper priority and maintain a maximum utility level.

Remaining ‘reliability focused’ instead of ‘repair focused’, will maximize production and minimize the depreciation of your equipment over time. Planning ahead also helps to avoid increasing operations costs and ensures a maximum level of material is processed with high-quality results.

Step Two: Benchmark Your Process

Maintenance schedules account for as much as 40% of the operational budget. Implementing preventive maintenance greatly reduces machine failure rates, ensuring uninterrupted production by eliminating unscheduled downtime.

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Maintenance schedules account for as much as 40% of the operational budget (3).

Therefore, taking some time to get a realistic perspective of how our process compares to the industry can go a long way in determining the effectiveness of our efforts.

Adding credibility to that is an industry case study from 2012 which found Preventive Maintenance significantly enhanced production.

In addition to prioritizing critical equipment in the production flow for routine review, PM greatly reduced machine failure rates, ensuring uninterrupted production(4).

By evaluating real stories like this, and researching the industry, we can leverage proven practices to enhance our existing abilities. Seek the global leaders in your sector and see what they are doing today that you can apply in your own plant to create a more successful environment.

This process will create a clear picture of strengths and opportunities, and take you one step further to an ideal PM program.

Step Three: Set High Standards

Planned maintenance leads to premier plant performance.

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The standards in our plants must be created in line with the goals we wish to accomplish. If you are working toward process improvement, Preventive Maintenance can help you to reduce:

  •  Repair Costs
  • Equipment Failures
  • Production Downtime
  • Deterioration in Equipment

These are significant achievements for any company. Mean time between failure (MTBF), a process used in many plants to provide accurate and comprehensive failure data, can also assist in bringing you closer to your goals.

Working off a computerised maintenance management system (CMMS), the use of MTBF can be crucial in accomplishing your goal of extending equipment life, and is an important standard to consider.

Likewise, predictive technologies that determine equipment failure are the key to reducing unplanned downtime, increasing operational efficiency and lowering the risk of expensive reactive work.

Step Four: Get Executive Buy-in

This is as straightforward as it sounds. If you want your Preventive Maintenance plan to work, it must be endorsed at the highest levels.

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Upper management should view the PM work system as necessary for production in the same way that any other function is essential. Furthermore, the management person directly responsible for Preventive Maintenance must monitor the quality and quantity of work as well as the results.

Ongoing improvements should be part of an overall Continuous Improvement effort. This includes, but is not limited to, completing component failure analyses and reviewing all steps required to prevent any potentially subsequent failures.

Step Five: Train the Team

The key to successful implementation is to invest in training and improve knowledge at all levels. Preventive Maintenance is a process – not a program. We must continue to evolve and optimize production in order to maximize the useful life of our equipment.

Teams effectiveEffectively executing that strategy requires the company to be on the same page and properly trained.

Training the workforce and setting its expectations varies with the philosophies of the plant management of each facility.

One thing remains certain: production employees are a significant part of PM systems. They can be, and many times are, the first to see changes in the equipment they operate. Therefore, the overall skill level of the workforce will determine how effective any Preventive Maintenance plan will be.

If success is desired, the workforce must be prepared to execute a common philosophy.

Step Six: Perform Ongoing Analysis

This leads us to our final step which promotes the perspective that our work is not finished once we figuratively ‘flip the switch’ with our Preventive Maintenance plan.

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We must close the loop as well. When an issue is uncovered, it should be addressed immediately and communicated properly.

Communication can happen in two forms: manual processes of sharing data or a continuous improvement process that provides real-time feedback between operations and management.

If the latter is preferred, which it will be for most of us, then Manufacturing Operations Management software is required. Manufacturing Operations software closes the loop through:

  • Real-time Interfacing
  • Direct Database Access
  • Messaging and Notification
  • Automated Asset Management
  • Maintenance SOP Document Retrieval

This provides critical business intelligence about your manufacturing operations that can then be shared across the organization and used to improve your process.

Understanding the real-time utilization, breakdowns, and run times of equipment will allow you to optimize maintenance and achieve greater visibility into your PM program.

Creating a complete solution for maintenance should include a technology platform that can automate order generation, display SOP documents, and provide web based visualization.

Taking the Next Steps

Preventive Maintenance is proven to eliminate downtime, prevent costly repairs, and improve operational efficiency.

The next steps are to apply that knowledge and experience the benefits of a PM program.

To get the next steps and the 6 previous steps you can download for free the complete whitepaper right here.

Learn more about Manufacturing Solutions and Maintenance.

References

(1) . Harris, T. (2009). Preventive Maintenance Strategy: What It Is, What It Does, and Why You Should Have One. Retrieved from http://www.iomsa. org/leads/omgmay09.pdf

(2) . Reducing Operations & Maintenance Costs. Retrieved from http:// www2.emersonprocess.com/siteadmincenter/PM%20Central%20Web%20 Documents/plantweb-ops-maint.pdf

(3). Jacson, M. (2013). How Effective is Preventative Maintenance in Saving Money? Retrieved from http://www.bulk-solids-handling.com/ processing/crushing_grinding_milling/articles/415546/

(4). Ab-Samat, H., Jeikuman, L., Basri, E. Harun, N. and Kamarudding, S. (2012). Effective Preventive Maintenance Scheduling: A Case Study. Retrieved from http://iieom.org/ieom2012/pdfs/301.pdf