3 Ways to Improve Your Maintenance Operations

According to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency, meticulous maintenance systems will result in better employee safety, equipment durability and cost management. Here are three ways to streamline your maintenance operations.

Maintain Accurate Records
The first step in improving maintenance operations is to ensure that work orders are accurate, digitized and completed on time. An accurate, digital work order history will provide the maintenance background for every piece of machinery and equipment. The written work order should include parts used, fault codes, work types and work hours. Maintenance office staff and purchasing agents can enter all of this into the maintenance information management software, along with the craft codes, vendor costs and brief descriptions. An accurate and easily accessible history will empower managers to forecast maintenance needs. Having maintenance information digitized will allow provide managers access to real-time and informative reports that can cut costs and streamline operations.

Develop an Effective Preventive Maintenance Program
The key to any effective maintenance program is a well-managed preventative maintenance (PM) program. For new companies, PM programs should be based on proven, standard systems. Starting out slow and methodical will allow personnel to ensure that critical equipment and systems, such as utilities and power-distribution, run smoothly. In the beginning, keep the process and requirements simple, then gradually expand as employee and maintenance personnel participation increases. To be effective, the PM system will need standard inspection checklists for personnel to use. Once procedures are standardized and maintenance is experienced, they can train machine operators to perform the inspections themselves. At least 80 percent of all maintenance work should be preplanned and scheduled with sufficient time and resources available.

Set High Goals and Continually Improve
Once the maintenance system is successfully running, setting reachable and measured goals will ensure continuous improvement. In order to be considered successful, top management and employees should be committed to the program and maintenance personnel should well-trained. The maintenance management system (MMS) should be full of useful data with an accurate inventory. Once these are accomplished, consider sending out employee or client surveys to ascertain safety, quality and performance. Performing annual internal audits will ensure that policies and procedures are followed. For example, check to see that reports are detailed, work requests are complete and that equipment work histories are up to date. Be sure to set up and adjust detailed performance measures that monitor all maintenance aspects, such as inspection timeliness.

Finally, make sure that front-line maintenance supervisors are in the field at least 60 percent of the day. To achieve this goal, reduce mandatory meetings and allow supervisors to delegate tasks to subordinates, such as re-assigning menial administrative tasks to support staff and complex maintenance tasks to experienced technicians.