The preventive maintenance component of computerized maintenance management software platforms has become one of the primary draws for companies large and small. The reason is simple. Business owners know the best way to improve their operations and the bottom line is to anticipate, schedule, and regulate routine equipment maintenance.
Companies that have it, love it. Preventive maintenance programs help in a number of ways, starting with reducing unexpected, costly equipment repairs and the associated lengthy, unplanned production operation stoppages. A PM program can streamline the entire maintenance process by facilitating efficient technician deployment and saving time through quick work order assignment and parts replacement. Finally, one of the most valued benefits of a PM program is increasing the longevity of company assets.
What about companies that don't have it? They want it. And providers are listening. A quick search on Google generates more than 13 million results for “preventive maintenance." Among the results are many CMMS providers that offer PM modules. It’s safe to say that preventive maintenance is universally appreciated. But does everyone appreciated it for the same reasons? Does everyone enjoy the same benefits? let's look at how the benefits are spread across different departments and employees.
Front-office folks make sure that the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. They are also the number crunchers responsible for accounts payable and receivable and making sure that the numbers add up; hopefully in the black. The front-office employees love CMMS preventive maintenance makes the company cost effective.
Preventive maintenance wins votes from the front office for a bunch of reasons, including:
The key factor for any investment is the return on investment (ROI). CMMS packages involve upfront (onboarding, training) and ongoing (subscription) costs, and for that reason, a decision to implement one must include the expectation of a reasonable ROI. In order to assess the ROI on preventive maintenance, a baseline cost of maintenance must be established based on a number of variables that at a minimum include the cost of labor, parts, and equipment replacement. These baseline costs can then be compared at the end of the first year and at set intervals. A recent study by Jones Lang LaSalle (The Case for Preventive Maintenance, 2019) took into account costs for equipment degradation, energy efficiency and inflation. The study reported that preventive maintenance resulted in a 545% ROI. Results like this would make any front office smile.
Increased Asset Life
Before companies made the switch to CMMS-backed preventive maintenance programs, equipment repairs were typically conducted on a reactive basis. In other words, repairs were done only when a piece of equipment broke down. There were no routine checks to ensure equipment was operating as it should be, nor were machines maintained it by routinely replacing small parts that could impact overall function. In the short run, this strategy may have been seen as cost effective – until an unanticipated malfunction caused a lengthy disruption in production on top of a required replacement of expensive parts. Preventive maintenance programs not only reduce unexpected equipment breakdowns and minimize production interruptions, they also increase the lifespan of existing assets. The savings on just one piece of equipment alone would more than pay for the cost of a CMMS system.
It goes without saying that routine maintenance involving a minor part replacement is less disruptive to a company’s operations than the impact of an unanticipated major malfunction. One of the benefits of PM programs is that variable schedules can be established for company assets. In other words, equipment that is critical during high volume productions periods can be scheduled for a PM during low volume periods instead. The short periods of disruption associated with preventive maintenance overall as well as the ability to schedule PMs according to production periods results in increased equipment uptime.
Lower Labor Costs
In keeping with the cost benefits of PM programs, associated labor costs are also found to be lower over time. This is because routine maintenance checks and small fixes take less time to do than major repairs. And less time translates into lower labor costs.
I told you this place was haunted. Look, it's the ghost of a missed PM!
Like the people in the front office, maintenance managers also appreciate the benefits that CMMS preventive maintenance programs offer. In general, preventive maintenance software makes their job easier and more predictable. By minimizing the chance of unanticipated major equipment malfunctions, they can turn their attention to daily scheduled maintenance. The following are some of the reasons why PM programs rate high with maintenance managers:
Better Inventory Planning
By scheduling routine maintenance checks, managers can predict and ensure that the needed parts are always on hand. They can also check previous maintenance reports to determine if added parts may be anticipated on particular assets.
Improve Labor (Resource) Management
The overall objective of CMMS systems is to improve maintenance operations by making them more efficient. The PM component of these systems is specifically designed to do this through its variable scheduling capabilities. Applied strategically, maintenance managers can deploy technicians in a way that improves labor utilization. For example, in a large facility where similar types of equipment are grouped together, a PM can be scheduled using one maintenance technician to carry out tasks on all of them.
Fewer Overtime Hours
Increased efficiency is also evident through a reduction in overtime hours. Since unexpected malfunctions require immediate repairs, technicians may have to put in overtime hours to lessen operations disruptions. Overtime hours associated with unanticipated repairs simply add to overall maintenance costs. Apart from the cost of overtime itself, technicians find having to do a major repair under tight time constraints to be stressful. In a review of scientific literature, Chan (2017) noted that when employees work fewer hours, the quality of their work goes up. In practical terms, not only are overtime hours costly, they may also negatively impact technician productivity.
Stay Within Their Annual Budget
Nothing is more satisfying to maintenance managers than being able to report that their operations fell within their annual budget. This is possible because of PM programs' ability to schedule routine maintenance strategically that in turn reduces labor costs, operations disruptions, and unanticipated major malfunctions. Preventive maintenance also reduces overtime hours and ensures that maintenance managers have the needed parts on hand for PMs as required.
The maintenance techs are the people who make it all happen, so making their jobs less stressful is important. The CMMS preventive maintenance component offers the following benefits that are directly suited toward technicians’ needs:
Going Home at the End of a Shift
Reducing unexpected equipment malfunctions means no surprises for maintenance techs. Through regular maintenance on all equipment, unforeseen problems are kept to a minimum. This means that having to work late after a full day becomes less likely. In the end, there will always be last-minute issues and a couple of midnight calls back to the plant. PM schedules are not magical. But, they make these stressful situations both less likely and, when they do happen, less serious.
Knowing What Their Day is Going to be Like
Since PM programs reduce the surprise element in maintenance, techs can be reasonably assured as to what their tasks will be from day to day. Because preventive maintenance is scheduled well in advance, techs can check the schedule for what's been lined up for the days ahead. Since CMMS systems are accessible on multiple devices including smartphones, techs can check their schedules whenever and from wherever they are.
Having a Chance to Prepare for Maintenance Tasks
A predictable workweek gives techs the opportunity to review and prepare for tasks in advance. They can make sure they have the right tools and parts, and also make sure they fully understand upcoming maintenance tasks and repairs. Nothing is better at killing motivation and wasting time than a tech arriving at an asset only to discover they have questions about the work order.
PMs are Generated More Carefully than Rushed, On-Demand Work Orders
It only stands to reason that when preventive maintenance orders are scheduled in advance, more thought and detail go into them. Because PMs are designed for repeated use, maintenance managers can take the time to make them as comprehensive as possible. This means they may include floor maps, barcodes, serial numbers, and images in the work orders. It's possible and easy to include this information even when pressed for time. Each one takes only a click or two. But when trying to generate a work order to repair a water tank that's right now spraying water across the factory floor, it's only natural for even the most consciences manager to create a bare-bones work order.
Work Gets Done Under Ideal Conditions
The predictability that PM schedules offers means that techs can approach their day’s tasks being prepared and confident. Preventive maintenance makes the tech’s job easier and less stressful. Doing an urgent work order while a production line is on hold becomes a rare occurrence with CMMS systems. Instead, techs can focus on making minor adjustments to equipment during times of low usage.
CMMS preventive maintenance applications meet the needs of all company stakeholders from the front office and maintenance managers to technicians. Having a sound PM program in place translate to happy and productive employees, and that in turn means a successful company.