We’ve already established that preventive maintenance plays an important role in any organization’s operations. Today production industries are focusing on 24-hour operations to maximize output. To achieve this, machines are pushed to their limits. This results in the early wear and tear of machine parts, and increased machine failures.To counteract these problems, maintenance departments implement preventive maintenance programs. But in the end, only 6% of facilities managers feel their program is effective.
So the question becomes, what’s standing between the maintenance department and success?
We know effective preventive maintenance programs help facilities run smoothly. But we also know that few companies feel their program really works. We can conclude that the benefits are obvious but not guaranteed. And that leads us to the question, what are the challenges of setting up a good program and how can organizations overcome them?
Before you read more, don't forget to download part two of our preventive maintenance strategy series.
Lack of maintenance skills in your maintenance team can be a major stumbling block to setting up an effective program. There’s a chance that new tech does not know certain machine parameters or is having a hard time catching up with some of the new features in the CMMS software. To overcome these issues, industries need to refocus on training. Normally, the average organization spends between 6-8% of total working hours on technician training and development. Excellent organizations spend around 18%.
How to train your technicians
Training schools/ colleges are good resources for training technicians. Unlike your factory floor, they’re custom-built for training new skills, and technicians can learn to inspect, operate, and maintain a wide range of equipment. Although the technicians are trained by others, organizations should take complete responsibility for their employees’ education. They need to do everything from previewing the class material to ensuring classes are being attended.
Unlike colleges that tend to cover a wide variety of material, third-party training firms offer tailored training focused on meeting your specific needs. Because the training is done right in your facility, technicians gain direct experience working on key assets.
Provided by the equipment manufacturer, vendor training is crucial when an organization installs new equipment. No one knows the ins and outs better than the company that builds it. It's important to work with the manufacturer to establish processes for operation, maintenance, and repair.
Keep in mind, only training your technicians won't work, it’s important to enforce new maintenance practices in your organization.
An unbalanced schedule will also result in an overall ineffective maintenance program.Scheduling too much one week and not enough the nest confuses then overworks technicians. According to a study, maintenance technicians with an unbalanced work schedule usually spend around 22% of their time hunting for parts,12% of their time looking for tools, and around 7% of their time waiting for permits and supervision. In past studies, it was observed that by developing an effective maintenance schedule organizations were able to improve their direct work time on machines from the 20-25% range to around 55%.
It’s important to ensure a more balanced maintenance schedule for technicians. Try to assign work in such a manner that everyone knows what to do and when to do it. This will help them focus on one piece of equipment at a time and maintenance activity can be done more effectively. Your production activities and maintenance activities should be carried out in an integrated way to avoid failure and machine downtime.
Lack of buy-in from upper management
In industries with continuous production, preventive maintenance is widely implemented. But sometimes resistance to change from upper management affects the overall preventive maintenance program. Many organizations are taking loans to invest in capital expenditure to upgrade their productive assets, and equity investors don’t show active participation for preventive maintenance activities. The unavailability of data required for preventive maintenance also contributes to a lower interest in maintenance programs by upper management.
Wondering how to overcome these problems? We have already looked at it in How to Win Over Upper Management with CMMS Software. Effective use of preventive maintenance software can help organizations increase asset life, production, and lower maintenance costs.
Incomplete task descriptions
At the heart of any preventive maintenance program lies an understanding of your entire equipment tree. Developing an incomplete task plan results in higher maintenance time and reduces overall production for the organization. An incomplete job plan will result in:
- Unavailability of required spare parts
- Unreliable and incomplete data
- Longer maintenance time
The better you know about your equipment tree the better the maintenance plan you can develop. To gain a better understanding, it is always best to read the maintenance plan provided by the manufacturer. Also predefining precisely when to do maintenance in your task description helps to develop an effective preventive maintenance program.
An effective preventive maintenance implementation produces a long list of benefits. It's crucial to understand, though, that they're possible, not guaranteed. Only by identifying and overcoming common preventive maintenance software implementation challenges can you finally move beyond reactive maintenance practices.
Could your preventive maintenance program be delivering more?