The idea behind preventive maintenance (PM) is that by performing regular maintenance on equipment, you reduce the chances of that equipment failing. It’s the same idea as taking your car in for regular oil changes to preempt a total breakdown.
Preventive maintenance (also called planned maintenance or planned preventive maintenance) is driven by time, meter or event-based triggers. It’s based on the assumption that a machine component will degrade within a given period of time that is common for its type. Under a preventive management approach, the relevant parts will be removed, replaced, or rebuilt on or before the expected failure point. To go with our car analogy, it’s the same as replacing your engine oil every 10,000 miles.
But preventive maintenance is not as simple as just always running maintenance on all your assets. Maintenance costs money, and you need to make strategic decisions about where and when to use it to keep your facility running optimally. The way a machine is used and how often it is used (as well as a number of other variables) directly impact the operating life of the machine and its components.
The main issue with preventive maintenance is that this approach can sometimes result in unnecessary maintenance.
Predictive maintenance (PdM) differs from preventive maintenance in that it is determined by the condition of equipment rather than average or expected life statistics. Essentially, it tries to predict failure before it actually happens by monitoring the machine during normal operations.
So in our car example, predictive maintenance would require oil samples to be taken at regular intervals and the oil replaced when it degrades beyond a certain point, rather than replacing it every 10,000 miles.
This is also called maintenance/”>condition-based maintenance. In many cases, when predictive analysis spots an issue, the repair can be scheduled at a time that minimizes the impact on production.
Establishing a maintenance program
The impact that random or unsuitable maintenance can have on your products and services, operating costs, and bottom line is significant. You need to develop an overall maintenance approach that uses the appropriate technique for each asset.
Tools like CMMS software can help you set up and adhere to a preventive or predictive maintenance strategy in a few key ways:
Tracking all your maintenance-strategies-select-model-asset-management/”>maintenance strategies in one place
A preventive maintenance program is a series of processes, guidelines, and tools that help your business do as much preventive maintenance as possible while being efficient with its time and money.
Preventive maintenance and planning fit together perfectly, just like salt and pepper, Batman and Robin, and movies and popcorn. That’s because in order for a preventive maintenance program to succeed, it requires a solid blueprint.
For facilities looking to break out of a reactive maintenance rut, a preventive maintenance plan can do wonders. Having a roadmap to preventive maintenance allows your operation to conquer unplanned downtime while staving off the temptation to fall back into a reactive approach.
A PM plan makes everything clearer so the path to reliability is obstacle-free. Goals and responsibilities are defined, timelines are understood and necessary resources are accounted for. Everyone knows what success looks like and how to sustain it.
What does preventive maintenance look like?
Preventive maintenance is maintenance that is regularly performed on a piece of equipment in working condition to prevent unplanned failure or breakdown maintenance. Preventive maintenance is triggered for an asset based on time or usage. For example, if an asset has operated for 100 hours, a preventive maintenance work order will be automatically triggered. The goal is to increase assetreliability, reduce downtime and maximize the impact of costs and labour.
For facilities looking to break out of a reactive maintenance rut, a preventive maintenance plan can do wonders. Having a roadmap allows your operation to conquer unplanned downtime while staving off the temptation to fall back into a reactive approach.
Transitioning from a predominantly reactive environment to a mostly preventive one takes time, dedication, resources and, most importantly, a plan. Achieving a successful preventive maintenance program means creating a schedule for maintenance and sticking to it. It means a reduction in unplanned downtime, backlog, miscommunication, accidents and the costs associated with each. At the end of the day, preventive maintenance will help you conquer inefficiency and improve your maintenance program from top to bottom.
How to build an effective preventive maintenance system
Each and every facility is different, with different goals, assets and resources. That’s why there is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a preventive maintenance program. However, by using these eight important elements, you can build an effective blueprint for success. Following this template for a preventive maintenance plan will go a long way to making your operation more efficient and sustainable.
Establish and prioritize goals
The first step in building a successful preventive maintenance program is to sit down and lay out what you want to achieve. Every facility has different goals and those goals influence all future decisions. Do you want to reduce downtime? Increase reliability? Cut costs? Think about the reasons for wanting to create a structured PM program and write them down.
Next, it’s time to prioritize your goals. Let’s face it, you’re always busy, and implementing a preventive maintenance plan is another huge project to add to your to-do list. With everything that’s going on, it’s nearly impossible to go full steam ahead on all your goals. By prioritizing, you know where to focus your attention and resources first when establishing a blueprint for preventive maintenance. When those tasks are firmly underway, you can begin the next step in your plan.
Once you know which KPIs you’ll be using to define the success, the next step is to create a framework for consistently measuring these metrics. Stats are only valuable if you are consistently using them to improve the preventive maintenance plan. It’s crucial to build processes and procedures that ensure data is collected, analyzed, understood and actioned on a regular basis. This way, you will know if you are meeting your goals and where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
Obtain buy-in from stakeholders
It doesn’t matter how much time you’ve put into your preventive maintenance program if you don’t have your entire team on board. Total buy-in is crucial as an effective PM strategy requires everyone to chip in, from a technician who must input data to a reliability engineer who reads that data and makes decisions based on it. What seem like small details add up to make a big difference. That’s why establishing the concept of total productive maintenance is so important to creating a strategy that works.
Getting buy-in from all stakeholders for a preventive maintenance plan includes having discussions about goals, skill sets, needs, resources and more with each member of the team. This will give you a holistic view of how an increase in scheduled maintenance will affect each person and the team, how people might react to change and what is necessary to execute your strategy with fewer snags.
Leverage the right technology
Technology is one of the most important ingredients for an effective PM strategy. Leveraging a digitalsolution allows you to efficiently arrange all the smaller tasks required for your facility to embrace a PM mindset, such as scheduling, inventory management, reporting and organizing work orders. If your facility operates on a legacy system, such as pen and paper or Excel, now is the time to plan for a transition to a digitalsolution.
There are several factors that must be considered when maintenance-software-and-tools/”>choosing the right technology for a preventive maintenance program, including the skillset of your team, budget, asset capabilities, team preference, datasecurity and more. One of the most important things to remember when looking for preventive maintenance technology, such as a CMMS, is ease of use. If a system is too hard to understand and use properly, it will not be used effectively and all the time and money invested in the solution will be for naught.
Make sure your PM triggers are accurate
Because all effective PMs are built on accurate triggers, this is a crucial step in building a preventive maintenance plan. Matching maintenance tasks with the right trigger will help your operation flow efficiently and will ensure assets are as reliable as possible. These triggers should also be known by all members of the maintenance team so no task falls through the cracks. Automated scheduling and mobile notifications are two tools that make this simple to do.
It doesn’t matter how much time you’ve put into your preventive maintenance program if you don’t have your entire team on board. Total buy-in is crucial as an effective PM strategy requires everyone to chip in, from technicians to reliability engineers.
When defining a maintenance-triggers/”>preventive maintenance trigger for an asset, it’s important to look at a few variables. This includes the manufacturers recommended guidelines, the performance history of the asset, how critical the asset is to production, the cost of repair vs. maintenance and the projected future use of the asset. When you take all these elements into account, you should have a good idea of when to trigger maintenance for a particular piece of equipment. This number should be fine-tuned moving forward to optimize your preventive maintenance.
Train and implement
At this point in your quest for an effective preventive maintenance program, you probably know what needs to be done and how it needs to be done. Your team, on the other hand, probably does not. It’s important to remember this and create a training strategy so everyone can get up to speed. Team members should be trained on any new technology as well as any processes and procedures that come with a shift to preventive maintenance, such as prioritizing work orders, creating failure codes, and accessing documents digitally.
The obvious next step is to implement your preventive maintenance plan. If preventive maintenance-teams-can-avoid-the-top-osha-violations/” >maintenance is something completely new for your team, you might consider a pilot program at one site, one section of your facility or a few particular assets. This way, you can help your team adjust to a new way of doing things while working out the kinks in your PM program.
Build a preventive maintenance checklist to analyze results
Once your preventive maintenance plan is in motion, it’s important to keep an eye on the numbers. It is essential to have a maintenance-checklist/”>preventive maintenance checklist that helps you to consistently track KPIs, such as mean time to repair, planned maintenance percentage and mean time between failures. Analyzing these stats and comparing them to pre-plan numbers should give you a good idea of how your program is impacting the efficiency of your maintenance operation.
Check these metrics against the benchmarks you established when you were first building your preventive maintenance processes. This will help you identify where you are hitting your goals and where you aren’t so you can target issues in your program before they get out of hand. Take advantage of data capture tools to make tracking and analysis easy, quick and actionable. For example, there are many automated reporting templates you can use that are commonly available in maintenance management programs.
This is one task you should never feel is complete. Your preventive maintenance program should always be under construction as you continually fine-tune, improve, fill in the gaps and fortify procedures that are working well. Use the data you capture through sensors, work order notes and digital reports to see where strengths and weaknesses lie. Uncover opportunities to improve and focus on embracing preventive maintenance wherever possible in your operation.
One crucial element in this phase is to include all stakeholders, such as technicians, operations, reliability engineers, etc., in the process of improvement. Digital profiles and forums for team members make it easy to schedule a time to get feedback, work through problems and review issues that have been flagged while you smooth out any wrinkles in your plan.
The bottom line on building a preventive maintenance program
Creating a successful, sustainable, and effective preventive maintenance program doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of planning, but it’s worth it when you achieve the many benefits. It’s important to build a sturdy strategy by identifying goals, creating proper KPIs and triggers, discussing the plan with stakeholders, leveraging the right technology and conducting training. It takes consistent analysis and fine-tuning to ensure all your careful planning doesn’t go to waste. And just remember, a well-oiled preventive maintenance program is not an unattainable dream for maintenance operations; it’s a viable option for all.
Work orders are the engine of your maintenance operation. They power your team and move work from point A to point B. But there are millions of engines in the world, from rusted duds to high-powered studs. This article is about mastering the maintenance work order so your operation can run as smooth as a luxury sports car.
What is a work order?
A work order is a document that provides all the information about a maintenance task and outlines a process for completing that task. Work orders can include details on who authorized the job, the scope, who it’s assigned to, and what is expected.
Work orders are are crucial to an organization’s maintenance operation. They help everyone from maintenance managers to technicians organize, assign, prioritize, track, and complete key tasks. When done well, work orders allow you to capture information, share it, and use it to get the work done as efficiently as possible.
While a work order and work request sound similar, they have a few key differences. A work request is used by non-maintenance staff to make the maintenance team aware of a task. For example, a machine operator might submit a work request when equipment breaks down. The work request is reviewed by a maintenance manager, who adds extra information, schedules the task, and assigns it to a technician. The work request is now a work order.
The work order process
Every maintenance work order has a lifecycle with three main phases — creation, completion, and recording. These phases can be broken down into several steps. Understanding each step and having a solid work order process ensures tasks don’t get stuck in one phase and turn into backlog.
Step #1: The task is identified
Maintenance tasks fall into two groups, planned maintenance and unplanned maintenance. Planned maintenance encompasses all the jobs you know of ahead of time, like routine inspections, and unplanned maintenance includes all the tasks you can’t foresee, like an unexpected breakdown.
The details of the job are put together and submitted to the maintenance-teams-can-avoid-the-top-osha-violations/” >maintenance team for further action. For example, when a machine breaks down, an operator creates a work request and submits it to maintenance. If a task is planned, a work order is created and triggered at the proper time.
Step #3: The work order is prioritized and scheduled
Some jobs are more time-sensitive than others. A burnt-out light bulb doesn’t need to be fixed immediately, but a broken conveyor belt might. That’s why you need to prioritize every work order that hits your desk.
After prioritizing, it’s time to schedule. Work orders can be scheduled based on a set deadline, planned maintenance-triggers/”>maintenance triggers, or dedicated blocks of time. Setting a deadline keeps everyone accountable and informed so nothing falls through the cracks.
Step #4: The work is assigned and completed
It’s time to turn those words on a page into action. The work order is assigned to a technician, who completes the task. This can be a five-minute check of equipment, or it can be a complex repair job that takes several days.
Step #5: The work order is closed and documented
Once all the terms of the work order are completed, it can be closed. Managers may need to sign off on the work order for compliance requirements. Once closed, the work order is filed away. A properly organized work order log is crucial for building asset histories, reviewing past solutions, preparing for audits, and more.
Step #6: The work order is analyzed and/or reworked
Closed work orders contain valuable information. They can provide insight into your processes and systems that can be used to fine-tune your operation. Having a work order log also allows technicians to quickly spot any missed steps or alternate solutions if an issue flares up again.
How to create a maintenance work order
Work orders are like anything else your facility produces — they must be made well and free of defects. If one part of the process is off, it can affect the entire line. So what information makes up a great work order?
Description of issue: What’s the problem? What did you hear, see, smell, or feel at the time of failure or leading up to it?
Scope of work: What work is required to get the job done? What skills are needed?
Parts and tools required: Are there any parts that need to be replaced or special tools that need to be used?
Health and safety notes: What safety procedures and equipment are needed? Have there been any accidents or near-misses while working on a similar issue or asset?
Date requested: When was the work order created and submitted?
Requester name/department/contact: Who created and submitted the work order?
Expected completion date: When should this work order be completed?
Actual completion date: When was the work order completed and closed?
Expected hours of work: How many hours should it take to complete the work order?
Actual hours of work: How many hours did it take to complete the work order?
Task checklist: Is there a step-by-step guide to completing the required work?
Priority: How important is this work order? High, medium, or low?
Assigned to: Who will be doing the work? Is more than one person required? Is an outside contractor required?
Associated documents: Are there resources that can help the work order be completed more efficiently, like SOPs, manuals, diagrams, videos, asset history, purchase orders, or images?
Notes: Are there any other observations that might be helpful in completing the work order or reviewing the work order after it closes, such as the frequency of an issue, troubleshooting techniques, or the solution reached?
Maintenance work order management
Simply creating a great work order doesn’t guarantee success. That work order must also be managed properly. A solid system for managing the lifecycle of a work order ensures it is passed smoothly from one step to the next. This helps you avoid all sorts of problems, like a lack of accountability, high costs, increased downtime and crushing backlog. Let’s look at the pros and cons of a few work order management systems and how they measure up.
In case you’re new to the topic, metadata refers to the data about the data within documents that you have stored. Some simple examples might include the document title, relevant keywords, and the names of contributors or owners. Initial discussions about metadata tend to revolve around the ways that proper metadata makes searches work faster and better, as we’ve discussed in the past and how metadata adds structure to unstructured information.
At the same time, you need to consider your metadata as more than just input for the kinds of searches that you perform as part of your routine workflow. If you don’t take some effort to plan out your metadata strategy, you could regret leaving out important information that can serve you, your customers, or your partners later.
How Metadata Quality Can Translate Directly to Extra Profits or Losses
Obviously, if searchers can find the information they seek faster and more efficiently, they can work more productively. The oft-quoted IDC statistic says that “the knowledge worker spends about 2.5 hours per day, or roughly 30% of the workday, searching for information.” If that figure is even half right, the consequences of not finding data are huge. In the context of find-ability of information, metadata is like a weathercock pointing users to relevant content — and with M-Files pointing them to that content, regardless of which system that content may reside in.
Your organization should have an easy time translating that benefit into additional profits. Still, improved metadata can even more directly translate into improved profits, better data and security, and lead to money getting paid or spent where it’s supposed to be. Consider a couple of examples that may help you think of some metadata you should plan to include.
An Example of Metadata Issues in the Music Industry
CMSWire addressed this topic by using the example of streaming music with services like iTunes, Pandora and Spotify. Most people who use these services search with obvious tags like musician, song title, or music genre. Still, a contract to pay royalties for each time the music gets played may include plenty of people besides the musicians. Sometimes the sound engineer, producer, and others earn a share. These days, streaming content is not just for amateurs, so the data required to pay royalties has grown more complex and massive since some of these services began.
Apparently, making sure that everybody who deserves a royalty payment is recorded in the song’s metadata has become a real problem in the music industry. Thus, billions of dollars of lost revenue are sunk into a digital black hole because of the different ways that various services record or fail to record this kind of information.
Streaming services can face legal problems and damage to their reputation if they neglect to pay everybody on the contract. Skilled professionals can lose their hard-earned royalties. Pay-per-play services like this must make sure they can track their content reliably.
Saving Metadata for the Future
Most of us probably focus on managing enterprise data for internal use, so nobody’s direct paycheck depends upon it. At the same time, you may be presented with extra tags from certain systems that you don’t need currently to fuel any features of your system. The decision to include or exclude that information can make an impact on your current or future bottom line and, of course, impact profits and perhaps, paychecks.
Certainly, you need to consider features that improve the current user experience and support business functions. You also need to avoid using tags that could have a negative impact. For instance, you may need to take care that personal data from customers doesn’t constitute a privacy violation. However, you should also look ahead to think about some future features that you may need.
An example of metadata you might consider may not just include document authors but also every document editor. Let’s say certain errors have been consistently introduced to certain documents, and you need to find the source of them in order to provide training.
In a potentially worse case, you could need to trace a chain of custody for information in the case of suspected fraud. Even if you don’t need to know everybody who edited a document for your routine business process, you could save yourself a lot of grief if you have it on hand when you do need it.
And let’s not forget the tremendous metadata-creation/” target=”_blank”>impact that artificial intelligence has in automatically suggesting metadata values. Today’s artificial intelligence will help create and add better metadata with less effort. Plus, it will work with all types of files, including text, graphics, audio, and video.
Your Metadata Strategy Can Have a Real Financial Impact on Your Company
You can’t always predict the future; however, you can prepare for it by taking these steps to develop your metadata strategy:
Consider involving various stakeholders when developing your metadata requirements. Certainly, you could invite typical system users and also people who work upstream and downstream of the business area. You might even call in an attorney to discuss potential compliance and other legal areas.
Besides considering routine business practices, try to think about rarer but essential uses of search tags. What kind of information should you keep in case of errors, audits, or even digital mischief?
Finally, consider the direction of growth trends in your business or industry to ensure you capture data when you have it and won’t regret failing to capture it in a couple of months or years. The extra effort you take to plan your metadata strategy today can save your organization money, work, and in some cases, grief.