Proactive Rather than Reactive

“I skate where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” —Wayne Gretzky

Customer orders are backed up and your line is running at full capacity, until you hear from your Production Supervisor that one of the machines just went down. What’s worse is that the part that needs to be replaced is on back order and won’t be available for two weeks. How often have you ran into a scenario like this one or similar?

From your manufacturing equipment to your HVAC, all machines require regularly scheduled maintenance activities to operate at peak performance. However, it’s not always easy to see the benefits of a Preventive Maintenance System (PMS) or to setup an effective one.

Just like any prevention program, there are costs associated with setting up the program and the benefits are not immediately visible. Equipment that have not been well-maintained over the years will not magically transform into excellent condition just because a program has been setup. In addition to the increased maintenance costs, there will still be breakdowns and related repair costs. Preventive Maintenance is part of the Lean Manufacturing mentality and has to be part of a cultural shift within the organization.

The rewards however, will start showing in the short-term as well as being sustained in the long-term. Here are some of the benefits that can be expected from a well-designed and implemented PMS:

  • Overtime the repair costs will drastically decrease and maintenance costs will level off;

  • Machine utilization rates will go up due to minimized machine breakdowns and it’ll be easier to keep up with the production schedule to fulfill customer demand on-time;

  • Scrap rates will go down due to equipment operating at peak performance;

  • Safety requirements will be fulfilled, creating a safe work environment and increased morale.

When doing a cost benefit analysis, its important to include all hard benefits as well as soft benefits to justify the implementation of a PMS.

Another challenge is how to setup the program; which activities should be included and at what intervals. If original equipment manufacturer’s manuals are to be followed to a t, it can become overwhelming and potentially impossible. It’s important to identify the critical maintenance tasks for each equipment and have a well-trained team to carry them out. For larger organizations, these teams are the in-house maintenance departments, whereas for smaller organizations it can be shared between in-house staff and third parties, depending on the complexity of the task.

If your organization doesn’t have a preventive Maintenance System in place or you want to make sure that the program you have in place is an effective one, Verbum Consulting can help you. With years of experience in PMS, Verbum Consulting is your partner in addressing problems and finding solutions.