You've bought into the fact that preventative equipment maintenance is the key to reduced downtime and improved production for your small business.
But you're not nearly as convinced that your current preventative maintenance routine is up to par – and that means it's time for a thorough evaluation of your entire system.
Evaluating a preventative maintenance program is a fairly logical process. Your primary job is to assess and analyze any weaknesses in the program before you make adjustments to current practices. Since operators and maintenance workers may want to maintain the status quo, both you (the owner) and your management team will need to be intimately involved in the process.
The scope and format of the evaluation process varies from business to business. But to be successful, your evaluation program will need to address several preventative maintenance considerations.
- Preventative maintenance plan. The best preventative maintenance programs operate according to a highly detailed preventative maintenance plan. If a PM plan doesn't exist, your maintenance program will be handicapped from the start. Before you do anything else, create a realistic PM plan and commit to its implementation over the next 60 days.
- Scheduled vs. actual maintenance. Preventative maintenance plans include strict maintenance schedules. It's important to determine whether or not those schedules are actually being followed. If scheduled maintenance deadlines aren't being met, then your workers haven't bought into the program. Get on it – ASAP.
- Machine standards. Preventative maintenance routines should result in compliance with machine standards. If the maintenance team is forced to make adjustments at a frequency that is outside normal ranges, it could be an indication that preventative maintenance tasks are being ignored.
- Breakdown analysis. A comprehensive breakdown analysis can highlight pieces of equipment that aren't being maintained according to the PM schedule. Sometimes the issue is the age of the equipment, but more often it's the fact that employees have disregarded PM deadlines.
- Inspection process. On a go-forward basis, it pays to implement an ongoing inspection process. Equipment can be inspected on a random or scheduled basis, with special attention given to machine condition and preventative maintenance plan compliance.