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A Complete Guide to Planned Maintenance for Your Facility

Facilities managers should always be looking ahead. What’s the next right thing to do to ensure your facilities run as efficiently as possible? Being proactive rather than reactive combined with asset management is the key to getting and staying ahead. As a result, planned maintenance is on the rise. This concept significantly adds balance to facilities and facilities managers that understand the value in anticipating the needs of the company’s equipment and other vital components before they break down. 

What is Planned Maintenance? 

Planned maintenance is a part of a proactive maintenance strategy that focuses on reducing the likelihood of downtime disrupting your operations. An effective planned maintenance strategy shows how and what will be completed in an organized fashion while maximizing performance for longevity.

Planned maintenance is a broad category to account for maintenance activities that are done to avoid breakdowns. This differs from a preventative maintenance strategy that relies heavily on technology to predict and prevent breakdowns outside of your regularly scheduled maintenance.

Think of planned maintenance like this- when you purchase a car the manufacturer gives recommendations on when you should have your car serviced based on miles driven and time in operation. However, you also conduct regular inspections to determine if your car needs additional maintenance outside of the manufacturer recommendations. These two strategies combined allow you to anticipate any needs your car may have and prevent it from breaking down. 

Why is Planned Maintenance Important? 

Unplanned outages or mechanical breakdowns in the middle of important processes causes reactionary shifts in staffing, costs, and more. Planned maintenance helps ensure your equipment is operating efficiently and optimally while also allowing you to get the most out of your assets life cycle.

While maintenance tasks within a planned maintenance setting will look different for every organization, facilities managers that employ a planned maintenance mindset usually have better productivity, reduced costs, and can even boost employee morale.

This is because the equipment has been routinely serviced and in good working order and helps alleviate issues of equipment breaking down in the middle of a production day. A breakdown in the middle of the day has a snowball effect on the rest of the organization. Employees may have to wait for the equipment to be fixed and potentially work overtime to get the job done, service providers must be called in immediately usually at an increased cost, parts may not be readily available or very expensive to expedite, and customers may also have a poor experience.

At a minimum, planned maintenance in a facility should include filters based on the type of equipment being used. In fact, almost every industry has maintenance tasks that need addressing. This includes filters for water, paint, air, and grease. The equipment may also have belts that need to be checked for wear and tear. Compressors, instrument calibration, light fixtures, and pest control should also be on the list. Finally, HVAC maintenance is vital. The air and heating unit should be cleaned and checked regularly to make sure it is operating as it should and air flows are not being compromised.

Neglecting the importance of planned maintenance can severely impact the bottom line, which should be a major concern for facilities managers. Running the risk of having multiple equipment failures could be disastrous, resulting in lost customers, thousands of dollars in overtime for employees, and a halt in production that could last days, weeks, or months depending on the equipment, the parts, and the availability of a technician and them having what they need. 

Benefits of Planned Maintenance 

Reduce Repair Costs 
Planned maintenance makes it easier to plan for major repairs and upgrades before they are needed. That gives facilities managers time to properly budget for the upcoming cost instead of being put in a position where they have unexpected costs that could impact the bottom line. This also allows facilities managers to source the parts they need for repairs and service providers at the best cost.

Reduce Time Spent on Maintenance 
Preventative maintenance plans help facilities managers pinpoint small problems that require easy repairs before they become large, costly ones. Routine maintenance helps identify when equipment may be on the verge of failing, providing ample time to replace or recalibrate it before it breaks down. This also helps with workplace culture, reducing employee downtime and keeping them productive instead of being frustrated because they can never complete their work in a timely fashion.

Reduce Asset Downtime 
Equipment assets must be properly cared for and maintained, or they will break down and fail resulting in increased downtime and costs. These downtimes could last hours, days or even weeks resulting in unplanned equipment costs, a rush in finding parts, loss of productivity, third-party costs, and increased labor costs. Planned maintenance allows for strategic downtimes to conduct repairs to mitigate the impact on critical operations, increase asset life, and improve efficiency.

With planned maintenance, these problems are resolved before they become an issue. A planned maintenance program gathers data and looks at the data analytics to determine the priority levels of certain equipment when equipment is due to be serviced or replaced, makes sure parts are available and ready, and the technician is scheduled. 

The Industry Approach 

Planned maintenance can be used across many different industries with different implementations.

In retail, HVAC systems, lighting, flooring, cleaning, and other systems are crucial to keeping the customers flowing. A rotating schedule should be in place that addresses all these variables to prevent a disruption in operations. If the air conditioning goes out in your retail facility during the summer, customers will spend less time in your store, and therefore spend less money. This directly affects your bottom line.

Restaurants have a lot of standard operating equipment such as the HVAC system, grease filters, ovens, refrigerators, and more. There is a lot to keep up with, so utilizing a maintenance schedule is important to ensure all bases are covered. For instance, an oven breaks down in the middle of the dinner rush hour, and orders are unable to be filled. That results in canceled orders, frustrated customers, and a loss in revenue.

Grocery Stores 
Facilities managers at grocery stores have a lot of moving parts. From systems to federal regulations, every area must be addressed. Without a planned maintenance system, it is easy for some maintenance activities to fall through the cracks, resulting in breakdowns at inopportune moments. For example,if  one of the refrigerators stops working and the food goes out of temp you now have product loss and reduced inventory. This results in unhappy customers, increased costs, and loss of credibility. 

Getting Started with Planned Maintenance 

It’s easy to get started with your planned maintenance strategy with a simple five step process.

1. Identify your problem and create a work order
The first step to a successful planned maintenance program is to first identify the problem you want to solve. This step requires exact information including the asset in question, details about the problem, and any other issues that relate to the problem. This will help you create your work order and, as the facilities manager, you can decide if this should be a one time work order or occur on a repeating schedule.

2. Inspect the facility worksite and assets
Once the work order has been created, the next step is to inspect the asset and the worksite where the maintenance work will take place. You should document the scope of work to be completed, any parts or materials that are required, and the tools the technician will need. At this time, you should also check the worksite for any obstacles that could affect how work is conducted.

3. Document processes to complete work and order the necessary parts
Before the maintenance begins, it’s important to document the processes and procedures that will be required to successfully complete the work. This includes shutdown procedures, access requirements, and safety procedures. At this time, you should also order any parts necessary to complete the work.

4. Assign a priority level to the work order
Once the work has been outlined and necessary materials have been ordered, it needs to be prioritized. Prioritization can be as simple as low, medium, high or even a numeric scaling system such as 1-5. When assigning priority, you should consider the importance of the equipment, the resources available, and the risk of delaying completion.

5. Schedule and complete the planned maintenance
Once you’ve planned for your maintenance task you can begin scheduling the work to be completed. This phase is all about who will complete the work and when based on the priority level you previously assigned the task.

Technology can also be an asset to your planned maintenance strategy, however this takes time and money for proper planning and execution. Here is a brief overview on the components needed to begin incorporating technology into your strategy:

  • IOT devices for asset tracking

These devices are usually GPS-chip sensors to track movements and overall health of the asset.

  • Asset tracking software

This is a centralized system that allows your company to track real-time details about each asset.

  • Training on new technologies

Learning a new technology can be challenging. Each person on the team using the technologies must be fully trained to understand and be able to troubleshoot at a moment’s notice.

  • Time to fine-tune the process

Time is money, but there must be dedicated individuals overseeing the implementation to work out the kinks and ensure the processes are working.

The initial costs of planned maintenance don’t have to be expensive to still reap the benefits. In fact, you can start your strategy with a low lift and still reduce your average repair and maintenance spending by up to 22%.

The Impact of Planned Maintenance 

While it can take time to create a successful planned maintenance strategy and implement the schedule, it is important for facilities managers to consider the positive impact a planned maintenance structure has on the organization. Having a reduction in asset downtime, maintenance, and repair costs increases efficiency and productivity leading to a strong ROI while improving the culture and safety of your employees.

If your facilities need help in creating and managing your planned maintenance program, the ServiceChannel can help. Contact us today!