We know that there is truth in the old maxim, “it is better to be proactive than to be reactive.” Nowhere is this more the case than in the manufacturing sector. But how can we be sure that the maintenance tasks we carry out are effective? How do we know if we are conducting maintenance at the right time, and how can we strike the right balance in terms of time and expenditure?

To answer these questions and more, take a look at our guide to best practices for preventive maintenance in manufacturing.

Scheduled vs Unscheduled

In an ideal world, all our maintenance tasks would be preventive ones, eliminating the downtime associated with mechanical failures and other unforeseen mishaps in your manufacturing line. In reality, this is almost impossible to achieve.

Instead, an organization should aim to schedule as many maintenance operations as possible on a rotational basis, conducting maintenance work before it claims one of your machines and saps your productivity. The generally-held Gold Standard for scheduled maintenance work is around 85% of all tasks, although any organization achieving 75% or more is performing very well.

But this still begs a question: how can we schedule maintenance work for problems that we do not know to exist yet? Read on to find out more.

Allocation of Resources

Too many companies in the manufacturing sphere are not allocating their human resources in a way that will facilitate effective preventive maintenance. It makes sense to deploy your best mechanics and engineers in practical tasks, and assign other members of your workforce to handle the administrative and reporting tasks that usually follow. However, this could be costing you money in the long run.

Try to ensure that your maintenance teams are equipped to handle both tasks, as it is through in-depth and expert reporting that you are able to gain a better understanding of the health of your machinery and business assets. It may seem wasteful to have your mechanics handling reporting tasks such as these and you may be reluctant to increase the size of your workforce to accommodate the extra load, but the benefit that this will deliver to your organization should not be underestimated. Increased awareness of what preventive measures are required and when they must be carried out is something that is worth spending money on.

Software Infrastructure

Manufacturing organizations – particularly larger scale companies – churn out vast amounts of data on a daily basis. This data relates to everything from production levels of individual machines and time elapsed since the last inspection to faulty or damaged parts, quality control, machine downtime, and everything in between.

Keeping on top of such a cumbersome and unwieldy stack of information is almost impossible to achieve manually. A robust and reliable software platform must be implemented to handle it. A CMMS – or computerized maintenance management system – will take this data and use it to provide an insight into what must be done to ensure the smooth running of your machinery, enabling you to stay ahead of the curve and schedule maintenance tasks which are preventive rather than restorative.

A software platform like this can even be used to generate a report regarding your return on investment – or ROI – by calculating the costs and expenditure avoided by scheduling preventive work in a timely manner. This provides a key element that all business owners require when forging ahead with a new initiative; the proof that it is cost-effective. By implementing a reliable system of maintenance reporting and scheduling, and by underpinning these endeavors with the appropriate piece of CMMS software, you can provide proof to partners and investors alike that your actions are moving the organization forward.