The Why of Preventive Maintenance.

Reducing or eliminating the risk of unplanned downtime, manufacturing interruptions, and missing repair stock is an issue every manufacturing company focuses on.  An effective way to achieve best practices is to focus on implementing a service preventive maintenance (PM) program to maximize manufacturing time and extend product quality and machine life.

Gaining a commitment within the organization to set a regular PM program in place is the first step but implementing preventive maintenance in a way that is flexible and manageable is critical to ensure that downtime and interruption risk is avoided.  It is not just saying it, it is doing it.

What are the Key Drivers of Success?

The manufacturer can begin the PM journey by defining what they want to achieve: 

  • Extended tool and equipment lifecycles by eliminating breakdowns or failures
  • Increased tool and equipment product quality
  • Decreased high dollar expediting fees and spare parts costs, by planning out PM schedules
  • Decreased cost of additional manpower required to run or verify backup processes

Creating a comprehensive plan:

  • Gather tool and equipment manufacturer (OEM) information on the tools and equipment
  • Evaluate, with the OEM, the usage and PM guidelines from the factory. Based on your application usage, create a baseline on plan for PM and repair.
  • Plan a preventative maintenance program (some areas of the plant may be different based on applications and usage of the tools and equipment)
  • Ensure the proper supplies and spare parts are on hand and a re-order plan is in place once the parts are consumed to ensure the necessary inventory is always on hand.
  • Establish checklists for each area
  • Audit the plan and implement changes based on successes or failures

The Who to Drive Success?

Personas and roles that can enhance and support the plan:

  • The best leader for any given PM program is the maintenance team.In addition to possessing the correct skills, they are experienced practitioners of the product workflow and are responsible for the high-quality output.
  • Engage the service and repair teams (internal and / or external) in the planning and feedback
  • Involve the quality team to implement the process as part of the standard operating procedure
  • Lean on your OEM and / or your distribution partner who elevate providing your sales and servicing support
  • Manufacturing and operations teams must buy-in and must be dedicated to the plan to rotate tools and equipment for preventive maintenance to having a healthy and active PM program.

The lack of expertise and acceptance from the team are the primary reason top reasons PM programs may fail.

Accessing the proper assistance, support and knowledge can help develop the correct processes and habits from the start to support the team, and to keep the program active and ongoing. 

Once the assessment and planning for the program are complete, the PM implementation team will depend on the size and complexity of the facility but in many cases, the team will be relatively small.  The focus being on the rollout, acceptance, and results of the program with the extended teams.

How can success be measured?

When the program is implemented, success can be measured and celebrated with the team involved once ongoing challenges or problems are resolved.  Depending on the tools, equipment, and the type of application, some of the performance indicators to measure success are:

  • Improved system up time
  • Reduced system lifecycle costs
  • Planned maintenance percentage - time spent on planned versus unplanned maintenance
  • Preventive maintenance compliance rate - how many scheduled preventive maintenance work orders are completed within a set amount of time
  • Critical scheduled maintenance percentage - the impact of late planned maintenance work
  • Downtime analysis for root cause and resolution timing – downtime resolution and timing

With any program, there are opportunities to enhance and supplement the program with digital tools to assist in collecting data, track the maintenance and repair, and support the team with the data to provide the information needed.  The team can and should identify this when the goals of the program are created and evaluated.

In Summary

There are many reasons why it is important to implement a preventive maintenance program and over time the program will pay for itself. Don't wait for the high cost of downtime and failure and money lost before implementing such strategy.

Implementing a preventive maintenance program will:

  • Ensure continued uptime, while reducing downtime.
  • Reduce the chances of complete breakdowns.
  • Recognize the problems earlier through a preventive maintenance plan.
  • Reduce the chance of emergency repair calls and overtime to resolve issues
  • Reduce downtime for bringing in and expediting spare parts.
  • Reduce the potential of unnecessary repairs.