Short-term expenses keep many businesses from implementing preventive maintenance plans. But a well-considered and streamlined plan can boost productivity, decrease waste, and help organizations meet their future maintenance needs.
In fact, a report by BOMA (the Building Owners and Managers Association) compared the costs of maintaining and replacing equipment and found that the longer a capital expense can be delayed, the greater its return on investment will be.
A preventive maintenance plan is an FDA requirement for many in the biomedical industry, but simply having one isn’t enough. It needs to be evolving, streamlined, proactive, and automated. Utilizing medical equipment service software can simplify that process.
Preventive maintenance work is done when there aren’t any fires to put out and creates useful information that a company can analyze to gauge when its equipment could fail in the future.
Automating the process saves time and creates accountability. It allows stakeholders to predict the hours people will put in and the parts necessary to keep things running prior to a breakdown, balancing preventive and reactive service. Techs can document what was done, record the overall health of the asset in question, and recommend repairs to keep everything online and functional.
Setting Up a Preventive Maintenance Plan
It isn’t difficult to implement best-practice maintenance planning and scheduling. There are five things to put on your checklist when getting started:
- Know the numbers.
A good preventive maintenance plan varies from business to business and industry to industry, but there’s one common thread among them all: numbers. Accurate data is the bedrock of a maintenance program. You have to know the average life span of your equipment, its age, and its failure rates if you’re going to plan properly to maintain and repair it.
- Involve key stakeholders.
When plans are created alone, they tend to be followed alone. Everyone impacted by a preventive maintenance plan should be involved in its design and implementation. Draw up a list of tasks or requirements for your preventive maintenance efforts, document which stakeholders will be affected, and get stakeholders into the room to talk through things together.
- Establish a system to identify, tag, and track equipment.
An effective preventive maintenance plan also needs to account for key equipment. Warranty information, service dates, and results all need to be recorded together. Invest in a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), like BlueFolder, to take on this project. A good CMMS can improve the reliability of your equipment by as much as 35% to 50%.
- Keep track of time.
Maintenance tasks are most disruptive when their timescales are unknown. Some tasks might take only a few minutes, but others can drag on for days or weeks — and the uncertainty can be devastating. Track maintenance as it occurs to avoid negative outcomes, and use the data to anticipate future costs, personnel needs, and downtime.
- Keep improving.
Preventive maintenance plans should evolve with your company’s needs. They shouldn’t be set up and forgotten. Hit the pause button and evaluate your maintenance systems and processes. Optimization is a constant process, so make sure you are prepared to be in it long-term.
Having a best-practice maintenance planning and scheduling framework is a key part of running any business or maintenance department. While it might require an initial investment, building and executing an effective maintenance program will cut your costs in the long run and mitigate the negative effects of downtime.
Put the right maintenance systems in place, make sure everybody in your organization understands the processes involved, and dive into the numbers. When you set yourself up to be proactive instead of reactive, you’ll find success.