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A maintenance strategy that’s based on waiting around until something breaks is rarely a successful one. Not that most facilities professionals do much “waiting around” – but, when stuck in a cycle of reactive repairs and emergency breakdowns, it can be difficult to keep costs down and maximize the utilization of available resources. Preventive maintenance, on the other hand, minimizes the chance that a piece of equipment will fail and lead to costly, unscheduled downtime.
With all of the tools and technologies and at our fingertips today, there’s no reason FMs across industries shouldn’t be engaging in preventive maintenance. All it takes is a little bit of planning, foresight, and data that you probably already have on hand. Of course, a digital facilities management platform with asset tracking capabilities helps, too. With this type of platform in place, multi-location businesses are more easily able to schedule planned maintenance according to set timelines, leading to a more consistent brand experience across locations.
Preventive maintenance helps businesses uphold regulatory compliance for core safety inspections (fire safety devices, for example) and prevents expensive emergency repair visits as well as unnecessary asset replacements. Over time, this can lead to thousands of dollars in savings in avoided fines and reduced overhead. Companies that perform regular, planned maintenance activities are also less likely to experience shutdowns or hold-ups as a result of faulty and potentially dangerous equipment or machinery.
While it’s best to go digital when it comes to scheduling preventive maintenance and following through on its completion, a template – whether produced on a spreadsheet, a PDF, or a printed booklet – is an equally valuable resource for at-a-glance record keeping. It serves as an introductory guide for new employees to follow, a visual reminder to keep tabs on infrequently utilized equipment, and a baseline for standardization of maintenance activities across multiple facilities.
To help you streamline your preventive maintenance strategy, we’ve put together a list of what to include in your preventive maintenance scheduling template, along with a few tips for getting the most out of it:
How to Create a Preventive Maintenance Template
Most preventive maintenance templates resemble a checklist, dividing out tasks and assets into categories and further classifying each activity according to frequency and importance. So, the first step to creating a template that works for your company’s FM program is to take stock of all assets and begin listing and categorizing them based on function, site, or location. Not all assets need preventive maintenance, but a large majority will benefit from it.
Once you’ve established a working list, it’s time to dig into the data. Looking at historical asset performance, manufacturer (OEM) recommendations, and prior repair history, determine a realistic timeline and frequency at which each asset will require maintenance. There may be a variety of different tasks that need to be completed per asset, some of which will require a skilled technician to perform, while others may be quickly carried out by a location manager.
Service Automation software is extremely helpful during this stage, providing direct access to historical performance, maintenance, and spending trends broken out by location or service area. The ServiceChannel platform also incorporates predictive analytics, leveraging real-time data to more accurately inform the template creation process.
Finally, get your team members involved. If you’re putting together a template to universalize maintenance across multiple business locations in a particular geography, for example, your research will need to be more exhaustive than what might be required for a single-location store. The larger your regional or national FM program, the more stakeholders you’ll want to recruit to brainstorm and offer input. Every location is unique, so there are sure to be a few site-to-site variations to note.
What to Include in Your Maintenance Template
You may want to schedule preventive maintenance for nearly every asset your facility or business supports, but budgets will often limit bandwidth to only your most vital and high-risk assets. To narrow down your list, ask yourself the following questions when selecting the assets to include in your template:
- Which assets are most critical to operational success on a day-to-day basis? Which assets most immediately impact the customer experience if inoperable?
- Which assets are most expensive to replace or service upon a breakdown? Prioritize these above less costly fixtures and equipment.
- Which assets require interval-specific inspections in order to maintain regulatory compliance?
- Which assets are under warranty?
- Which assets require seasonal or weather-related maintenance?
Assets that are already nearing the end of their lifespan should be excluded from the preventive maintenance list, and only added on once they’ve been replaced with a newer model. Likewise, brand new or expensive assets should be labeled “high priority.”
Preventive Maintenance Activities to Consider
The following are some of the most common preventive maintenance activities, broken out into categories of assets, to consider including in your scheduling template. If your business uses specialized equipment (such as kitchen or medical equipment), be sure to include those within your template, as well.
- Clean and/or replace air filters
- Clean condenser & evaporator coils
- Inspect ducts
- Inspect heat pump
- Clean drain lines
- Replace any worn pulleys or belts
- Test thermostats
- Lubricate bearings or moving parts
Electrical & Lighting
- Inspect control wiring
- Identify any potential hazards to do with switchboards, circuit breakers, transformers, fuses, fans, motors, etc.
- Inspect interior and exterior lighting, replace bulbs, inspect light fixtures
- Check for any active leaks
- Inspect for signs of corrosion
- Check water pressure
- Water heater maintenance
- Conduct backflow testing
- Confirm all pumps are operational
- Inspect toilets and sinks for damage, poor drainage, or leaks
- Clean evaporator coils and blades
- Inspect seals and fix any leaks
- Check airflow of fans and ensure no obstructions are present
- Check refrigeration cycle
- Measure refrigerant levels to track any leakage in order to maintain EPA compliance
- Professionally inspect sprinklers, alarms, and fire extinguishers
- Replace smoke detector batteries
- Test all smoke detector units
Elevators & Lifts
- Replace any burned out lights, including those in control panel
- Inspect door panels and clearances
- Check cables for any signs of wear
- Check oil levels
- Test brakes
Building Exterior & Grounds
- Aerate and maintain any lawn space
- Mulch landscaped beds
- Clean, reseal, or repave parking areas
- Check condition of sidewalks or curb
- Care for gardens, shrubs, trees; remove any dead plants or branches
- Inspect roof, clear gutters
- Wash siding, doors, and windows
- Inspect and repair signage
- Service floors, hallways, and stairs – polishing, mopping, and professionally cleaning any carpeted areas
- Clean and inspect walls for damage, especially in high traffic areas
- Clean and repair light fixtures
- Check condition of painted walls, shelves, or surfaces and repaint as needed
Creating a scheduling template is a great way to nail down your overall preventive maintenance strategy. Not only will it ensure your valuable assets reach their maximum lifespan, but it will also improve consistency across multiple business locations – a factor that heavily influences your brand’s reputation in the eyes of consumers.
It’s important to dedicate plenty of time and effort into setting up your strategy – all mandated activities should be based on accurate historical data and manufacturer recommendations. This way, servicing will take place often enough to prevent breakdowns, but not so often as to warrant unnecessary spending. When selecting the assets to include in your preventive maintenance plan, prioritize those which are most valuable to day-to-day operations and the most expensive to replace.
Finally, once your template is complete, invest in a digital facilities management platform to put it to use. Automatically schedule preventive services, monitor frequencies, and dispatch experienced, qualified technicians to complete the work within budget. With these tools on hand, FMs can guarantee increased productivity and support brand uptime – all while reducing overhead costs and creating a better customer experience for the longevity of your brand.