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Set up a Preventive Maintenance Program in 6 Simple Steps

By Reena Sommer | August 25, 2017

Preventive Maintenance Program

preventative maintenance program increases equipment and asset uptime, boosting efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Life without a program means unanticipated breakdowns, reactive repairs, and production and employee downtime — all of which drive up costs. For the average maintenance department, regular equipment checks often take a back seat to day-to-day demands. But when small preventive tasks are ignored for too long, expensive problems develop.

A full-featured CMMS (computerized maintenance management system) offers preventative maintenance as one of its key modules. Getting the most out of your CMMS software starts with a solid preventative maintenance program. Here’s how you can build one in six steps. 

Step 1 : Create a Preventive Maintenance Plan

Before you put any preventative maintenance procedures into place, it’s important to ask some key questions.

“Who will be involved?” Depending on your company’s size, this may include maintenance managers, maintenance technicians, and even people from the accounting or finance departments.

“How do you get staff buy-in?” Be transparent and inclusive. Clearly explain the benefits of a preventative maintenance program, involve staff in the planning process, and assure them their input is valuable to the project’s success.

“What are the goals?” When making your list of desired outcomes, be as specific as possible. Try to have a percentage or amount for each goal. For example, reducing reactive maintenance costs and equipment downtime by 25%.

Step 2 : Take Inventory of Equipment and Assets

Going through your facilities and creating an accurate list of equipment and assets may seem time-consuming, but it’s essential to the success of your preventative maintenance program. The more data points you collect, the better. Basic information includes equipment ID, location, make, model, and serial numbers, along with associated elements like operating manuals, replacement parts, purchase and warranty details, manufacturer and supplier information, and equipment life expectancy. A complete facility and equipment audit is a critical first step in setting up maintenance checks on key operational equipment and assets. If you don't know what you have, there's no way for you to build an effective program to look after it.



Step 3 : Develop Preventive Maintenance Tasks

Once your list is complete, you need to decide which preventive maintenance tasks to include. You'll need to pull information from three sources. First, look at the equipment and asset manufacturers' recommendations. The O&M (operation and maintenance) manuals include both tasks and suggested frequencies. Second, look at the people, tools and materials, and current best practices associated with each task. With a clear idea of the required resources, you can start to develop time estimates. Third, look at any preventive maintenance schedule, no matter how informal, you already have in place.

Step 4 : Create Preventive Maintenance Schedules

Given the range of resources needed for preventative maintenance, scheduling must be efficient. Start with your list of preventive maintenance tasks ranked by priority. Higher-priority tasks generally have longer intervals, require more time and resources, and may need to happen at specific times. For example, they might happen quarterly or annually and be tied to the beginning of the heating or cooling season. Lower-priority tasks happen at shorter intervals. They might need to be scheduled monthly or weekly. For maximum productivity, use lower-priority preventative maintenance tasks to fill the gaps between the higher-priority tasks that take longer to complete. Creating a balanced schedule allows you to better accommodate on-demand maintenance.   

preventive maintenance program

Step 5: Train Your Maintenance Team

The best way to complement all the work you’re putting into a preventative maintenance program is full-circle implementation. However, this is easier said than done — failed implementation rates start at 40% and are as high as 80%. This is due to thinking an investment in CMMS software alone will power your preventive maintenance initiative. In the end, a CMMS is most effective with a preventative maintenance plan that your maintenance staff fully understands and embraces. They are your core CMMS software end-users, so their proper training is essential to your preventive maintenance plan and CMMS working together seamlessly.

Remember that not everyone is tech-savvy. So getting your staff to embrace change and become comfortable using the technology should also be factored into how much time you dedicate to consultation and training. In the end, you won’t see a high return on your investment without first ensuring that staff buys into the preventative maintenance plan and then uses the CMMS software to its full potential.

Step 6: Analyze - Adjust - Improve

Maintenance management is dynamic, which means you'll need to analyze the results of your preventive maintenance program and make adjustments as necessary. A good program identifies which equipment and assets require more time and attention, leading to procedural and scheduling changes. You can plan for smaller reviews every six months and larger, more detailed reviews every couple of years. Major changes in or updates to equipment and assets are also a good time to reexamine your preventive maintenance schedule.

Developing and implementing a preventative maintenance program takes time, energy, and resources. But once it’s in place, the long-term benefits of a CMMS-backed program far outweigh the costs and headaches of the reactive, run-to-failure maintenance model.

At the very start, it can all seem a bit daunting. Remember that many businesses use consultants and CMMS providers to help set up, assess and fine-tune their programs. You don't have to go it alone.

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Topics: Facility Management Preventive Maintenance work order management cmms equipment downtime equipment management preventative maintenance plan equipment maintenance equipment audit

Reena Sommer

Reena Sommer

Reena Sommer originally hails from Winnipeg, Manitoba and currently resides in the Houston, Texas area. In 1994, she graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Ph.D. in Psychology, Sociology and Family Studies. Reena is a regular contributor for Hippo CMMS.

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