As companies grow in size and complexity, maintenance tasks that were previously managed by “pencil and paper” or spreadsheet approaches are now found lacking. And when it comes to the added maintenance costs associated with time, resource and staff allocations, this is where these approaches have been found to be most wanting.
To overcome these limitations, a complete reworking of asset management has taken place; both in terms of the approach used as well as the methods employed. In the past, asset maintenance occurred on a reactive basis; meaning that, repairs were dealt with as they arose. Although there may be some short-term gains with repairs done on an “as need” basis, the long-term costs of operation shutdowns as well as replacing (rather than repairing) equipment tend to be much higher. Instituting a preventive maintenance program for all-important assets is one way that a growing number of businesses are overcoming unforeseen and costly repairs. In contrast to a reactive maintenance approach, preventive maintenance is performed while the equipment is still working, thus averting unexpected breakdowns and prolonging their lifespans.
For the past two decades, Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) systems have increasing become the preferred maintenance management solution for companies representing a wide range of industry, service and corporate sectors. These sophisticated and robust automated systems utilize thousands of data points that at any given time provide a user with an overview of a facility’s operation or alternatively, the status of an individual piece of equipment. These systems have the ability to monitor inventory levels, track work orders, quickly generate accurate reports, and most important, they can instantly determine which company assets require preventive maintenance. CMMSs offer business owners an efficient facility management solution that overtime offer benefits such as increased organizational efficiency, extended equipment lifespans, better time management and labor utilization and ultimately, reduced costs and increased profits.
While CMMS generated preventive maintenance programs are viewed as a quantum leap in facility management, proper implementation is key to its ultimate success. To aid in successful implementation, here are five pitfalls to be avoided during that process:
Being Unclear about Goals for the Preventative Maintenance (PM) Plan
Every company is unique in terms of its operation, resources and industry. When planning a PM program, it’s important to examine expectations for it. A starting point in this process is a careful examination of a facility’s maintenance and resource allocations as well as its assets including their ages and repair histories. These factors should be kept in mind since the scope of a PM plan is largely dependent upon the size and structure of a company. Not doubt, improving profits and a return on investment (ROI) are common business goals for all companies, but the question remains, how do these translate into PM goals? For companies on a growth curve, it may mean maximizing staff utilization. On the other hand, for companies who have recently transitioned to new equipment and technology, it may mean finding ways to use them most efficiently. By clarifying a company’s maintenance goals, priorities for a PM program can be established.
Having an Over or Under Inclusive Inventory List
Developing an inventory list is an essential precursor to implementing a PM program. The challenge in this regard is to sort out which assets should or should not be included in this program. Although there is no cookie cutter formula to making that determination, there are some guidelines to assist maintenance managers in selecting the assets that will most benefit from routine management. The best candidates for inclusion are those assets with the following characteristics:
- A critical operational function
- Failure modes that can be prevented with routine maintenance
- A likelihood of failure that increases with time or use
One the other hand, equipment that experiences random failures unrelated to maintenance (i.e., circuit boards) or does not serve a critical function, is less suitable to a PM program. Including only those assets most suited for PMs will increase its efficiency as well as aid in meeting the goals set out for the program.
Failing to Create a Preventive Maintenance programs are not a “one size fits all” undertaking. In fact, one of the huge benefits of a CMMS software is that PMs can be customized to meet any company’s needs. For that reason, it’s important to not only establish which assets are to included in the program, but to also decide how often routine checks should be conducted. There are a number of factors that go into making this determination including the size and scope of the operation, the type, age and repair history of assets to be maintained as well as the recommended maintenance protocols set out by equipment manufacturers. By evaluating PM reports once a program has been in place for approximately six months, changes can be made to it if needed, to further enhance operations and cost efficiencies.
Failing to Have the Appropriate System Supports in Place Today
Many CMMSs are web based and do not require software to be installed on company computers. It also means that these systems can be accessed using any device that has Internet access. On the other hand, there are also excellent systems that require maintenance management software to be added along with having minimum hardware system specifications (i.e., processor speed, RAM and storage). Regardless of the CMMS system chosen, it is important to be aware of what supports are required; be they mobile devices that will augment cloud based CMMS access or specific computer hardware that will accommodate running the maintenance software.
Inadequate Training of CMMS Users
A successful PM program is largely dependent upon the users who will implement it. Failure to consistently and appropriately utilize the PM program will fall short of achieving its intended goals. The reality is that some maintenance employees may be resistant to change or even intimidated by a move toward an automated system that comes with a basic training component. CMMS vendors can help employees break through this barrier and encourage compliance through a variety of onboarding options that include online manuals, training videos, webinar recordings, in house training as well as ongoing email, chat and telephone support.
Preventive maintenance software is a central feature of CMMS systems. It is also a powerful tool for companies wishing to operate better, faster, smarter, and oh yes, leaner! Finding a CMMS generated PM program that is the right fit for your company is just one part of the “results equation”. The other part relies on maintenance managers implementing it successfully.