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What is Preventive Maintenance?

by James McDonald on May 3, 2019
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Preventive maintenance is a strategy of proactive maintenance that keeps assets in optimal condition and reduces unscheduled repairs. Preventive maintenance is implemented with the objective of increasing asset lifetime and preventing untimely breakdown. This includes working to avoid printers from becoming unusable, software from becoming ineffective, or office environments from becoming too hot because of A/C issues. Preventive maintenance essentially combats anything that would put the workforce on hold or call the company's reputation into question. But how do you implement preventive maintenance effectively? Below, we will discuss some specifics about how to get the most out of this valuable strategy. 

“By first defining what preventive maintenance (PM) is, and then educating and training people in the current state of their actual PM performance, the groundwork for improvement is laid.” -Torbjörn Idhammar 

Where is Preventive Maintenance Needed Most?

Preventive maintenance should, ideally, work for all aspects of a company, as regular checks can be of assistance for any hardware, equipment, software, etc. Nevertheless, some systems and equipment may be used more regularly or at a higher volume than the rest and, therefore, should be focal points for your preventive maintenance service. Also, make sure the preventive maintenance technicians are familiar with the equipment and systems they are performing maintenance on. This should be one of the initial conversations when setting up a preventive maintenance service.

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Create a Preventive Maintenance Schedule

Once the areas for maintenance have been identified, create a regular schedule for when the preventive maintenance will occur and stick to the schedule. Avoid the pitfall of postponing service for the sake of savings because a system or machine isn’t currently having problems. The goal of preventive maintenance is to assess potential problems before they arise and minimizing the effects of system breakdowns through regular check-ups. Replacing or overhauling a system will cost much more in the long run.

Develop a Checklist

preventive_maintenance_checklistOnce a schedule of preventive maintenance has been created, develop a checklist for what services will be provided within the preventive maintenance process. This is beneficial for both the technicians performing the preventive maintenance and the organization itself, as the technician can work step-by-step to avoid overlooking any areas and the organization knows which areas are regularly serviced. Additional areas or equipment requiring preventive maintenance can also be added to the existing list as needed, without worrying about prior maintenance focal points being lost in the shuffle.

Consider the Tools

By now, everyone has heard the term “there’s an app for that.” In today’s world, there’s a mobile application and/or software to complement just about all of your business needs. When it comes to planned maintenance scheduling, there are even some free options available, such as Outlook Calendar; but they come with their own set of issues. While you might be tempted to invest in a tool specifically geared towards preventive maintenance, doing so often means buying into redundancy.

A more viable and efficient approach is to choose a SaaS option that handles all of your maintenance needs. Facility Management Software (FMS) is a more robust tool that allows you to schedule both preventive maintenance and regular service requests, communicate with technicians, and provide details regarding the service request. And since all of the other software modules tie in with your FMS, data is stored and updated in real-time across the entire platform.

Workforce and Techs Work Together

One of the most valuable assets in the company are the workers who use the systems and equipment on a daily basis. Tap into their knowledge and observations about the health and well being of the systems and equipment. They can, in turn, pass this information along to the technicians so problems are identified quicker and solved with little, if any, downtime.

Refer to the Technicians for Upgrades and Replacements

Although preventive maintenance is designed to keep everything running, there are times when replacements or upgrades must be made. The regularly scheduled preventive maintenance process can be used to determine the remaining life of company assets and often techs are able to make the best recommendations for what should be replaced, especially since they have a very clear understanding of what your needs are, based on the scheduled preventive maintenance services. This is also beneficial in choosing systems or software which could be effective add-ons to make your operations that much more efficient. 

Appeal to the Bottom Line Savings for the C-Suite

Any CEO or CFO is going to consider the company’s budget and the pros and cons of the expenditures. Especially when paying for a service in which the work seems minimal, the C-suite may be hesitant to jump on board. This is where a comprehensive cost analysis of regular preventive maintenance service versus equipment replacements, and the downtime associated, can be illustrated. Once the bosses are able to rationalize the money saved through a preventive maintenance plan, they are more likely to understand why it is such a necessary service/tool.  

Preventive maintenance software is a tool that is rapidly gaining traction in most industries. The initial costs of implementation are dwarfed by the potential costs of replacement or upgrade. Furthermore, this process gives a regular snapshot of the system and equipment health, which keeps FMs, the workforce, and C-suite abreast of their organization’s equipment standards. The benefits of preventive maintenance are numerous and should be explored by all progressive businesses and organizations.

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