Manufacturing companies have plenty to worry about when it comes to the effectiveness of their machines and tools over time. Even one breakdown can result in hours or days of lost efficiency. As a consequence, it's vital for factories to have routine preventive maintenance plans in place to formalize processes of inspecting machines and making sure nothing is undergoing too much wear and tear from normal use.
Here are five ways you can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a maintenance plan:
1) Combine tasks so every individual unit is taken care of
One aspect of maintenance for companies to keep in mind is they often have many different units of the same devices or tools - machines, air conditioners, light fixtures, etc. - within their walls, according to SM Global. When you feel one may need maintenance, the same could be true of the others. With that in mind, it's wise to make sure work orders for one machine apply to all of them so that you're swapping out all light bulbs, or fixing components of all necessary machines, rather than taking it one at a time.
2) Get out in front of replacement orders
Along similar lines, if you're planning to buy a few replacement parts for a given machine, it's wiser to just make a bulk purchase of the component, SM Global advised. That way, if something breaks down unexpectedly, you don't have to wait days or even weeks to receive a replacement, giving you more return on that initial investment. Put another way, it's smart to have a few spare replacement parts sitting around just in case than to wait for something to break and lose periods of productivity while waiting for the replacement parts to arrive.
3) Review the policy
As with many other things in manufacturing, it's not usually a good idea to go with a "set it and forget it" maintenance plan, according to Reliable Plant. Instead, stakeholders should review data and processes on a consistent basis to make sure their maintenance plans are working as intended and, if not, determine the best ways they can be improved without disrupting work elsewhere in the factory.
4) Evenly distribute the maintenance workload
Another issue that often gets missed with maintenance plans is those who perform the work should not be given large amounts of projects at once, and then very little before and after, Reliable Plant cautioned. Instead, it's wise to make maintenance an ongoing task that never really ends, and in fact never really has peaks or valleys that are too high or low either.
5) Get a feel for what happens on the factory floor
Finally, it's vital for workers who use these machines or tools every day to have input in the maintenance process, because they can often provide critical insights into use and wear others may miss, according to Limble CMMS. Armed with that additional information, leaders can make even more informed decisions about the best ways to plan and implement a maintenance strategy to reduce downtime, with the goal of eventually eliminating it altogether.
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