As a manager, your job is to proactively oversee your facilities’ ever-growing list of maintenance needs, while doing so with efficiency and cost-effectiveness in mind.
At the core of these processes and decisions lies preventive maintenance.
Managers, maintenance workers, and businesses have varying opinions about preventive maintenance and its significance to daily and long-term maintenance goals.
But some of the best in the business agree creating and implementing a long-term plan for preventive maintenance, in addition to routine and reactive maintenance, is essential for facility success.
Creating a long-term, proactive preventive maintenance plan will ensure your equipment generally lasts longer, performs better, runs safer, and ends up costing you less in the long run.
When you compare the cost of parts and labor, plus downtime or aggravation costs, emergency and reactive maintenance work can end up costing you four to six times more than if you had opted for preventive maintenance.
So why doesn’t everybody focus on preventive maintenance as their number one strategy to avoid system breakdowns and emergency repairs? We’re shedding light on the truths behind 5 common myths of preventive maintenance.
Myth #1: It’s impossible to actually accomplish preventive maintenance
The key to creating a successful preventive maintenance plan is setting realistic goals and establishing a well-defined and periodically reviewed schedule (with flexibility to be adjusted as necessary).
Make sure everyone on your team knows and understands this process and its overall importance.
Communication is key.
- Create a checklist of everything that needs to be inspected, replaced, or fixed. Here’s an example checklist.
- Then set up a detailed schedule when these maintenance checks should occur.
- Helpful hint: To set the precedent, it’s important these tasks are never canceled or late. Ideally, your completed on-time preventive maintenance percentage should be greater than 95 percent.
Myth #2: It’s everyone’s job
If everyone assumes someone else will do it, preventive maintenance tasks will never get done. Nobody wants to choose to complete these small, seemingly menial tasks.
So not many will.
The only way to ensure these tasks get completed and not passed off from one team to another, is to assign preventive maintenance tasks to a specific group of individuals or team member.
This way there’s no question about who’s responsible for any given task—specific assignments add accountability and communication avoids confusion.
You also want to avoid causing your team to feel overwhelmed.
A large task load up front with everyone expected to get the tasks done is quite a lot to handle in addition to other daily work.
By splitting up the responsibilities between individuals or several team members, you simplify the entire daunting preventive maintenance schedule down to a few tasks per day/week, and lighten the load for everyone.
Myth #3: No one takes preventive maintenance seriously
Preventive tasks can be boring and tedious, so it's no surprise many maintenance crews put off or completely ignore them.
To embrace the significance of preventive maintenance, a change in perspective must start with the manager, and trickle down through every team and member within the department.
Start by creating a leadership culture with strong beliefs about workplace accountability and discipline surrounding preventive maintenance.
Explain to everyone on your team the significance and money-saving qualities of preventive work. Set high standards and expect your team to meet or exceed them. This shift to acknowledging and respecting preventive maintenance practices requires every employee’s cooperation.
While the business goals of preventive maintenance are compelling to managers and the company as a whole, team members may require additional perks to uphold these standards long-term.
Inspire motivation to follow the goals and schedule by adding additional incentives for individuals via reviews, raises, and bonuses.
Myth #4: There’s no way to tell if it’s working
With proactive thinking and planning, seeing the overall benefits and positive impacts of a preventive maintenance plan become clear. Follow the steps below to document the impact execution has on your company.
- Take Stock of Your Current Equipment Operations. Before even defining and creating goals, begin by taking detailed notes about your business’ equipment and equipment operations. Note machine failures, how much downtime that occurs, and yearly costs of parts and emergency repair. With this data you can determine the average cost for one hour of machine downtime—thus giving you specific information on which to base your preventive maintenance goals and plan.
- Determine Your Preventive Maintenance Goals. Once you’ve completed step number one, you can identify defined business goals to create your plan. Does your team need to focus on saving money? Improving efficiency? Reducing equipment failure? When you establish these goals, you can build a preventive maintenance plan that addresses the specific needs and objectives for your business.
- Keep Track of Your Goals. Be diligent about noting the progress of monthly, quarterly and annual goals to see if you’re hitting your objectives. These can include:
- Number of projects completed
- Percentage of those completed on time
- How many times you had issues with equipment
- Cost of parts & repair
Compare your current data with what you compiled before implementation. Any improvement, even the slightest percentage, can make an enormous impact on costs of equipment repair over time.
Myth #5: Preventive maintenance is painfully manual
You may be asking, ‘What’s the best way to keep track of all of this information?”
Luckily, the Repair and Maintenance Industry has followed the world into the technology era. The days of manual pen & paper methods and never-ending spreadsheets are a thing of the past.
An abundance of affordable, easy-to-use software exists on the market today. Give your team the tools they need to succeed with CMMS technology.
CMMS, or Computerized Maintenance Management System (or Software), is designed to simplify maintenance management. Software is helpful because it stores all maintenance data in the cloud, and empowers you with all the information you need to make the most informed decisions possible.
For more on this, download The 2019 Complete Guide to Facilities Management.
Conclusion: Preventive maintenance is a win-win-win
There are several clear-cut reasons why preventive maintenance really is the most proactive and cost-efficient way to approach maintenance management.
By utilizing available tools—such as team communication, motivation, and CMMS software—implementing a strong and effective preventive maintenance plan has never been simpler.
When executed well, it helps to reduce the maintenance backlog and avoid deferred maintenance to maintain and improve the performance, safety, and longevity of your facilities’ equipment.
By eliminating system failures and breakdowns, costs of replacements and repairs will be reduced, and time can be allocated towards growth and expansion, instead of reactive maintenance.
Overall, preventive maintenance is a win-win-win situation for everyone involved.
How will you begin implementing these steps within your team today?