Equipment Maintenance

Implementing a Preventive Maintenance Program

Creating a preventive maintenance program is one of the most important steps in ensuring the seamless delivery of quality products to market. This primer on how to implement a preventive maintenance program will get you started.

Reliable equipment is the building block of successful small business manufacturing.

If you leave the maintenance of manufacturing equipment to chance, you'll pay for it in reduced outputs, disrupted processes and unfulfilled customer orders.

A preventative maintenance program is your best bet for hitting production targets on time, every time. But implementing a preventative maintenance program isn't straightforward. In addition to the details involved with creating a new system from scratch, be prepared to meet resistance from workers who are averse to a more rigid approach to equipment maintenance.

A firm commitment from owners and managers goes a long way toward the implementation of effective preventative maintenance. Here are a few other tips to help the process go as smoothly as possible.

  • Identify preventative maintenance tasks. You can't implement a preventative maintenance program until you have accurately identified maintenance tasks on a machine-level basis. Each piece of equipment should have several recurrent preventative maintenance tasks that need to be addressed.
  • Assign maintenance frequency. Frequencies vary by machine and task. Although it will take some work, make sure each task is scheduled for maintenance according to production demands and manufacturer recommendations.
  • Designate workgroup responsibilities. Now that you've identified preventative maintenance tasks and determined how often they'll need to be done, the next step is to determine who will be responsible for doing them, either on an individual or workgroup basis.
  • Integrate with equipment scheduling. Preventative maintenance scheduling software is useful because it helps integrate maintenance downtime with production schedules. You could coordinate preventative maintenance with pen and paper, but a good piece of software makes life a lot easier and leads to a more cohesive PM system.
  • Record maintenance activities. Maintenance activities need to be adequately documented and reviewed by qualified managers. Again, preventative maintenance software can make simplify this job because it gathers maintenance records in a single location for easy management access.

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