For most companies, maintenance represents a very significant function within the overall production environment. Automation has undergone substantial developments over the past years. The resulting complexity of the systems has made the reliability and good functionality of the machines more important than ever. This is especially true in the process industry, characterized by expensive specialized equipment and stringent environmental considerations. With profit margins decreasing, the need for a good maintenance planning and control system like CMMS  is obvious for Preventive Maintenance.

Most of the time, a good preventive maintenance plan is the result of many combined efforts and not just one single silver bullet. With increased mechanization and automation, consistent maintenance is paramount. Repair and replacement costs are oftentimes extremely high, and facility and manufacturing management managers can avoid them only through planning a systematized inspection. A skipped process can result in a machine breaking down, an occurrence that will
dramatically impact productivity and will incur substantial expenses.

In addition to helping managers identify equipment that may require maintenance, preventive
maintenance checklists also ensure that needed spare parts and materials are on hand in the event of
a machine breaking down. At the same time, maintenance checklists allow maintenance professionals
to document work they have done on the facility and machinery. In case anything goes wrong and a
piece of equipment fails, maintenance checklists come very handy as proofs of having performed your
due diligence.

Creating a Maintenance Checklist for Your Facility

The first step that goes into proper preventive maintenance is creating individual checklists for each
of the facilities you manage. A one-size-fits-all checklist is not recommended if you are in charge of
several facilities because they often have different assets and buildings. Create a checklist for every
building in your facility. Start from the top of the building, writing down each part that requires
maintenance and breaking the process into several actionable steps. Include a checkbox alongside
each step of each maintenance process, as well as a blank space for the employee to write the date
when maintenance was performed.

4 Steps to World-Class Manufacturing Maintenance

Given the complexity of the maintenance process, there are several steps you need to take in order
to achieve an efficient maintenance plan for your facility. We have broken down this process into 4
essential steps:

1. Gather Data and Calculate Downtime Costs
Gather data about machine downtime, technology usage, meantime between machine failures,
expenditures on parts, technician response time and an estimative percentage of on-time deliveries.
This is the very first and most important step you need to take before transitioning to manufacturing
maintenance best practices.
2. Determine the Value of Maintenance
After calculating the average per-hour downtime cost, you can estimate how much money
maintenance improvements can save. Reasonable assumptions can be made by applying the
per-hour cost to machine availability in order to determine how much value an increase in availability
can add to the organization. Sometimes, even a small increase of 5 percent translates into a
significant improvement.
3. Identify Maintenance Tasks
After assessing the potential savings of consistent maintenance, the next step is identifying
maintenance tasks. Reliability-centered maintenance is the most effective methodology to use, as it
comprehensively analyzes operational variables, helping establish minimum levels of maintenance in
your facility. This analysis will result in a list of tasks that will then be grouped into sensible categories
on your preventive maintenance checklist. Sometimes, doing some smoothing and streamlining of
these groups of tasks is necessary to achieve a good maintenance checklist.
4. Schedule Maintenance Tasks
The checklist you have created must be transformed into a long-range plan of forecasted
maintenance work. Each task included on the checklist must be scheduled and completed adequately.
Note that, while some tasks should be performed frequently (e.g. every month), others may be
performed every 3 or even 6 months. It is important to establish appropriate time intervals for each
task in order to ensure that your preventive maintenance plan is efficient and helps minimize
downtime costs as well.

Building Maintenance Windows into Production Plans

Preventative maintenance can take time, from a few hours to days depending on the complexity of
the process. This can greatly impact product, as production units have to stop working and make the
equipment available to the maintenance crew. In order to prevent a decrease in productivity,
manufacturing maintenance managers should build maintenance windows into production plans.

For example, it could be agreed that on Wednesday morning Production Unit 1 will stop production,
and make the equipment available to the maintenance crew for, say, five hours. During this
maintenance window, the maintenance crew can successfully assign as many people as required to
complete the planned maintenance fast and get the equipment back to work until the following week.

Creating tables or checklists in which maintenance windows are built into production plans will not
interfere with general productivity of the facility. Usually, the use of a CMMS system provides a
relatively easy solution to scheduling and planning preventative maintenance, helping reduce
downtime cost to a great extent.