The Technology for Better Preventive Maintenance Procedures

The goal for maintenance managers is simple: Oversee the successful installation, repair and upkeep of the facility’s assets for smooth operations and on track budgets. This goal is certainly obtainable in an ideal setting where inventory is always in stock, technicians are continuously efficient and assets are always running.

Now, let’s enter the real world, where downtime is a daily occurrence and overtime hours seem unavoidable. This scenario doesn’t have to be the norm if you’re able to proactively manage workloads, breakdowns and inventory. And, it doesn’t have to be an out of reach possibility with the correct strategy implemented for less reactive maintenance.

Does your organization only service assets once they break down or are headed for a complete system replacement?

Does your organization only service assets once they break down or are headed for a complete system replacement? If so, you’re operating in a purely reactive maintenance landscape. However, in today’s era where people crave instant access to information and results, the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” way of reactive maintenance simply doesn’t make the grade anymore.

Not a mind reader? No problem. You don’t have to have any special skills to predict an asset breakdown before it happens, thanks to the help of preventive maintenance (PM) enabled by a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). It’s a one-stop technology solution for better maintenance procedures.

The Benefits of Preventive Maintenance

Often times, facilities get stuck with reactive procedures because it’s all they know. While work is getting done across the board, technicians are scrambling to manage work orders, overtime hours are stacking up due to emergency service requests and equipment, with multiple breakdowns, isn’t reaching its full life span potential.

The solution for organizations stuck in the reactive landscape of the past is to implement a PM schedule. PM schedules present these benefits facility-wide:

  • Cost savings due to less downtime;
  • Fewer machine breakdowns or operational downtime;
  • Better technician scheduling and less overtime hours and manual labor needed to complete daily tasks;
  • Longer asset life with fewer breakdowns;
  • Fewer large-scale repairs;
  • Improved response time to fulfill work order requests.

Overall, PM schedules help facilities proactively manage breakdowns before they happen for more accurate budgeting, less unexpected downtime and fewer interruptions in the production schedule, just to name a few.

CMMS and Preventive Maintenance: A Cost Saving Partnership

While you may agree that the benefits of PM are clear, a study by Maintenance Connection (Figure 1) finds that only 34 percent of survey respondents were operating in a preventive environment. That translates to more open monthly work orders and other issues, like decreased reliability, slower response times and a higher likelihood for downtime.

figure 1Figure 1: A portion of Maintenance Connection’s 2016 report that indicates 66% of survey respondents rely heavily on reactive maintenance; at right, the top industries of respondents

While implementing PM across your facility may seem like a daunting task filled with manual data entry and years from ideation to fruition, it doesn’t have to be. With the help of a CMMS, PM schedules are simple to program and organize all assets into one hub.

The best CMMS solutions have specific features that make PM implementation simple. Among the functions that can be performed are:

  • Using auto-triggered work orders for more accurate technician scheduling;
  • Setting up system-generated notifications for upcoming PM tasks;
  • Creating a list of estimated inventory needs for any PM requests in the near future to avoid inventory stockouts;
  • Adding instructions on work orders for technicians to efficiently complete requests;
  • Pulling data on historic repairs to better understand what assets may be underperforming;
  • Setting up seasonal schedules based on past downtime data;
  • Scheduling technicians proactively to avoid breakdowns;
  • Cutting back on unplanned downtime and overspending with increased asset and technician efficiencies.

If you’re still wondering if a CMMS investment coupled with a PM strategy is right for your facility, consider the following: In an updated report by Maintenance Connection released in 2017 (Figure 2), data from 1,000-plus maintenance professionals uncovered that preventive maintenance is a strong driver of CMMS adoption in terms of return on investment (ROI). In fact, the report states that 73 percent of facilities that have a preventive to reactive ratio of 50 percent or higher see significant cost savings, ranging from tens of thousands to millions of dollars from CMMS-enabled PM schedules.

figure 2Figure 2: Graph from Maintenance Connection’s 2017 State of CMMS Report shows preventive maintenance is a strong driver of ROI, as the more preventive an organization is, the more CMMS ROI it witnesses, with some completely preventive organizations saving millions of dollars

Measure PM Success with CMMS KPI Dashboards

In addition to the CMMS features, also consider the benefits of reporting on a CMMS. Creating a key performance indicator (KPI) dashboard is another component of PM success and decreased machine downtime.

The best dashboards go beyond just the health of your assets to also measure KPIs, like technician availability and response rates, for faster, more efficient PM procedures.

Specifically, consider the following factors as you build out your KPI dashboard into a comprehensive view of your overall maintenance performance:

  • Average time between failures;
  • Number of emergency work orders;
  • Percentage of work orders in a backlog;
  • Ratio of PM vs. corrective or reactive maintenance;
  • Percent of overtime, preventive and corrective labor;
  • Total unplanned downtime;
  • Total annual maintenance time;
  • Average annual downtime;
  • Quarterly or annual number of failures;
  • Percent of work orders by type;
  • Average service request duration;
  • Maintenance cost per head count.
…What maintenance manager doesn’t want to see higher ROI from technology usage or better cost savings on overall budget with PM?

With these KPIs, you’ll be able to pinpoint how much manpower, time and inventory is dedicated to a single work order, or over the span of time, like a quarter or year. From there, this sort of information can be applied to data backed decision-making to help you narrow down the exact cause of maintenance emergencies, identify underperforming assets or personnel and ward off breakdowns before they occur.

After all, what maintenance manager doesn’t want to see higher ROI from technology usage or better cost savings on overall budget with PM?

Using a CMMS to Find Maintenance Solutions

No matter your industry, company size, number of technicians, or asset management budget, a CMMS can be the solution for a variety of maintenance problems.

For instance, it can be a solution for:

Asset management: Simplifies asset management by tracking work order history and maintenance cost, and organizing all assets by location, building, floor, etc.

Work order tracking: Creates a snapshot of work order statuses and defines and assigns tasks to open technicians.

Reports on historic data: Collects real-time data on your maintenance health, like overdue work orders, backlog hours and average completion time.

Inventory and cost tracking: Automates the inventory process to alert you when levels are low, automatically generates reorders and tracks all inventory costs.

Field tasks: Provides mobile functionality, increasing team productivity from anywhere and updating work order status from the field.

If your facility is looking to improve its daily maintenance operations, save money, reduce downtime and extend asset life, it may be time to take the plunge and invest in a CMMS.