Medical checkups are great because they give you and your doctor a chance to check the status of your health - hopefully before anything major pops up. Your facility’s health is no different. HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems, as well as the other heavy machinery in your facility, benefit from preventative maintenance in the same way. But preventative maintenance only works if busy facility staff can remember to get it done. With all of the other tasks that are a part of their schedules, that’s no guarantee. So how can you help to ensure the facility stays operational, and make sure the higher-ups don’t have to worry?
What Is Preventative Maintenance?
Preventative maintenance can be defined as routine and periodic inspections of equipment with the intention of spotting small issues or warning signs of potential future failures. Preventative maintenance highlights areas of concern and allows action to be taken in a scheduled and controlled manner before failure occurs. This includes inspecting equipment of every kind, including the condition of individual parts and the overall operational status and efficiency of the machinery.
What Are the Benefits of Preventative Maintenance?
The biggest payoffs from preventative maintenance are reduced costs, increased productivity, and reduced equipment failure. Catching and preventing major issues before failure also allows assets to operate much longer. In many cases, preventative maintenance is required by the warranties on new equipment, so that a record of maintenance can be referenced in the event of a failure or warranty claim. Because preventative maintenance identifies issues early on, the expected lifetime of equipment is easier to estimate. This knowledge can be used to prevent some of the surprise capital expenditures that can really mess up a facility’s budget. Properly executed preventative maintenance truly pays for itself.
Preventative maintenance requires thinking ahead and scheduling. Being able to account for all of your equipment, knowing how much attention each piece will need, and knowing when and how often each piece of equipment will need attention, requires careful planning and consideration. Research has shown that preventative maintenance is most effective when it is scheduled at least a week in advance. Although not all maintenance can be planned out ahead of time, a good target is for 80% of maintenance activities to be planned and 20% to be unplanned.
How Do I Start Preventative Maintenance Planning?
So now you see the benefits of preventative maintenance, but how do you start planning it out? Organization and preparation are key to successful preventative maintenance programs. Some of the key steps for planning out your preventative maintenance are:
- Compiling information on existing equipment.
- Listing the priority of equipment for your facility.
- Determining what PM needs to be done for each system/piece of equipment.
- Creating a task list that walks through how to perform PM for each system.
- Determining how often it needs to be done.
When determining how often PM should be performed and also what tasks should be accomplished during PM (what parts should be inspected, what levels need to be checked, what components have to be replaced), use any operations and maintenance manuals that came with the equipment. If you don’t have these manuals or can’t find them, reach out to the manufacturer and start collecting this information. Having all of these documents in one place will make planning and executing preventative maintenance easier in the future. Knowing the critical components in your facility will also help you determine what you need to do when planning and executing preventative maintenance. Gather the model numbers and serial numbers for all of your equipment. Document the current condition of all of your facility’s equipment. The procedures for performing PM on each piece of equipment need to be created so that the same maintenance can be repeated over time. Based on how critical the equipment is to your facility’s operations, along with the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, determine what your facility’s schedule will look like - what needs to be done now, what can wait until next month, and what needs to be done annually, for example. Most importantly, adjust your schedule as the needs and equipment of your facility change.
Also be aware of what can be handled by your team, and what you may need outside experts to help with. Preventative maintenance can seem unnecessary or overwhelming, especially with everything else on your plate. But don’t worry, you’re not in this alone - Tate’s experts are here to help. Tate’s factory-trained experts can implement a PM schedule and maintain equipment (and equipment histories) to keep your facility up and running. To get started with your preventative maintenance, and your PM plan, contact the experts at Tate Engineering today.