The harsh winter and spring weather can inflict significant wear and tear on your manufacturing plant. Unexpected downtime is costly not only to your plant operations, but for your customers as well. With the spring season drawing to a close and summer right around the corner, your maintenance thoughts need to turn toward a repair regimen for your plant.

Now is the perfect time to start thinking about your maintenance activities to make sure your facility is ready to handle the summer heat.

Operational costs of running and maintaining plant facilities are usually the largest expense after payroll. While maintenance and repairs are an expected and inevitable part of facility management, proactive planning will help manage your unexpected costs.

Proper plant maintenance maximizes production capacities and profit potential. It also extends the overall service life of the plant, which also maximizes profit by keeping a plant in service and making money. The longer a plants equipment can remain in service, the better.proper plant maintenance helps maximize production capacities and seasonal profit potential,” says Steve Shawd with Asphalt Drum Mixers, Inc (ADM). “Furthermore, it can extend the overall service life of the plant, which again maximizes profit by keeping an established and, more importantly, paid-off plant in service and making money. A new plant is a huge capital investment. The longer one can remain in service, the better.”

Here’s a brief checklist of the items you may need to consider for your maintenance repair regimen:

  • HVAC: Keep your plant comfortable, and keep your indoor air quality high (obviously of vital importance to sterile or clean-room facilities).
  • Grounds and Landscaping: First impressions come from your plant’s landscaping, parking lot, and grounds. Spring is the perfect time for cleanup, fertilizing, flower, plant and shrub maintenance and trimming.
  • Plumbing: Do a thorough inspection-and-repair tour of water heaters, sanitary sewer lines, bathroom plumbing, potable or non-potable water systems, clean-out plugs, grease interceptors, filters, gas plumbing and any other specialty plumbing features your plant may have.
  • Electrical: Is your plant’s electric service up to the demands of your equipment and systems? Check breakers, junction boxes, weather heads, outlets, backup generators and all systems with an industrial technician.
  • Material Handling Equipment: What kind of shape are your forklifts and pallet jacks in? Are the tires good? Hydraulic systems? Is it time for preventive maintenance like oil changes, air filter changes and general checkups? If you use electric material handling equipment, are the charging stations in good shape?
  • IT: The demands of computer technology just seem to keep growing at many businesses. Spring is an optimal time to get up to speed on virus, malware and firewall protection, server maintenance or upgrades, software installation and licensing, an audit of IT costs end-to-end and replacement of any computers or systems that are at the end of their life cycle.
  • Security: Are your business’s doors, windows, and alarm systems all in good shape? What about surveillance cameras, document destruction, and security staffing?
  • Emergency Plans: This could include fire extinguishers, storm or tornado readiness, sprinkler systems and a whole host of other plans for various consistencies. It might be a good idea to meet with a consultant or other experts to draw up a comprehensive emergency plan and put it in the company handbook, so all your employees are informed and aware.
  • Vehicles: If your operation runs service or delivery trucks, spring is the perfect time for preventive maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotations, wheel alignments, transmission and cooling system service, and life cycle analysis.

To stay competitive in today’s marketplace, a factory, production, or distribution facility has to stay running at peak efficiency, and that means keeping downtime to an absolute minimum. Downtime can be embarrassing at best, and can mean a lost contract or lost customer at worst. With the right preparation and a comprehensive maintenance regimen in place, the chances of losing time and money due to failures can be kept to a minimum. Spend a little now or spend a lot later!