Is it time to decommission your equipment?

Six ways to measure if your machine is still a productive part of the team.

01/26/2012


Excerpted from SMGlobal’s Maintenance Software Blog 

Many organizations have equipment that is several years old, maybe even several decades old. In fact there are quite a few that still use machines that are over a hundred years old! Just because equipment is old does not automatically mark it for replacement. There are several factors to consider when to finally bid goodbye to a piece of equipment.

  1. Can you still get spare parts? How much does it cost annually in spare parts to keep the equipment running? Your maintenance software can help by giving you detailed reports of spare parts use and costs over the year for different equipment. 
  2. Is better equipment available? Sometimes even if the equipment is still very functional it may make sense to upgrade and buy newer equipment because productivity is higher or maintenance costs are a lot less. Your maintenance software can give you an idea of the annual maintenance costs and downtime of the equipment you are considering for replacement.
  3. Is the equipment breaking down more frequently? Use maintenance software reports to get an idea of maintenance being done on the equipment over time. If you see trends that tell you that the equipment is breaking down more often or is needed a lot more maintenance it may be time to consider replacing it.
  4. Is the quality of the products being made by the equipment declining/ are you getting a lot of performance related complaints in spite of regular maintenance? This can be a sign of an equipment that needs replacement but can also be a sign of poor maintenance practices. Review who is doing the maintenance work and check work order feedback for signs that maintenance procedure are not being properly followed.
  5. Is most of your maintenance budget and time being spent on a few pieces of equipment? If you know that there are comparable equipment that need less maintenance that you can use instead, it may be time to seriously retire the “trouble makers” that are consuming most of your resources. Your maintenance software reports that can compare historical costs of different equipment can help you pinpoint the equipment to investigate.
  6. Do you still have the skills available to keep the equipment running in top condition? This is especially of importance when dealing with very old and complex equipment. You may only one or two craftspeople who know how to keep the equipment running. Unless you are able to implement a program of skills transfer to other personnel you may run the risk of not having the capability to fix the equipment when it breaks in future. If you have a lot of equipment you can identify such skills bottlenecks by looking at personnel usage reports in your maintenance software that show which personnel worked on which jobs over a period of time. If you see the same few people always called on to do maintenance on some of the equipment this may be a sign that you have a possible skills shortage for this equipment.


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