It’s better to take a car into a garage for a yearly tuneup than to break down on the highway. In the latter scenario the costs will be substantially greater. The same rules apply to business, particularly within the manufacturing sector.
Corrective maintenance is hugely overstated. Companies often spend tens of thousands (sometimes more) of dollars every year simply rectifying mistakes and issues that could/should have been avoided in the first place. While fixing problems creates the illusion of greater profit margins, it’s actually incredibly wasteful.
Preventative maintenance is the process of “fixing” problems before they occur, and therefore, hindering or preventing issues that could affect day-to-day operations. Preventative maintenance usually occurs while a piece of machinery is working properly and efficiently.
Implementing a Preventative Maintenance Plan
Surprisingly, one of the biggest hurdles managers face is getting higher-ups to agree to implement a preventative maintenance plan. Many regard it as an unnecessary luxury that’s not essential to operations. There’s no point fighting a battle you’ll lose. So, instead of making your case verbally, you should prove that it’ll work.
Start small by implementing changes on the most important production tool that requires regular maintenance. Calculate how many times the selected machine has needed to be fixed in the past, along with the costs. If you don’t have that data available, give it your best guess.
When you’ve got the numbers simply work out what you can do to reduce the costs. Perhaps a monthly tuneup on a machine that needs to be fixed every quarter will be more cost effective in the long run when downtime, labor costs and other potential losses are taken into consideration.
Presenting Your Findings
When you have quantified the data, calculate how much you’ve saved as a percentage. Craft a compelling presentation summarizing how you want to implement the same changes across the board in order to streamline efficiency and save money. Devise a formal plan with a few bullet points to highlight what you will change.
Remember to lay out all that’s wrong with the current method, explaining its limitations and why corrective maintenance is more costly than preventative maintenance. Get your numbers as close to the mark as possible: how many times do you have to replace machinery? How many working hours are lost to downtime?
Lastly, show off the potential return on investment that preventative measures could provide and ask for input. Business is a team effort and you’ll likely need to refine your strategy when you’ve spoken to technicians, operators and managers.
When you’ve convinced upper management and you’re ready to start, all you need to do is decide whether to implement the plan manually or to use a CMMS system. The latter will automate the process and is definitely the safer option. However, if you’re running the plan on a trial basis the former may be a more viable option, at least until you start seeing results and can convince the higher ups to invest further.