Make maintenance a dream for 2014

Companies should consider improving their maintenance in 2014 to keep their operations running smoothly


As 2014 approaches, business innovators are cooking up their heady goals: a new social network that mints billionaires; a Swiss Army smartphone that cures a skin rash and makes your coffee; an affordable electric car with a 2000 mile battery.

While some business goals are sure to grab headlines, most companies will keep their eyes on the basics with their 2014 plans: improve uptime, increase production, improve performance and cut costs. And maintenance is no exception.

Well-functioning maintenance departments already meet regularly to improve processes, increase PM completion rates, reduce turn-around times, update safety tasks, reduce the number of frequent fliers, etc. They already rely on CMMS to drive the maintenance schedule. Other maintenance organizations struggle under the weight of equipment repairs and operate in reactive mode.

Either way, if you want to make 2014 the year you’ll plan and make concrete goals to improve maintenance and reliability consider hiring an outside consultant to help you design and implement a plan to make the maintenance process smoother and more efficient for everyone.

Need some ideas for maintenance goals? Below are a few to get the process started. Most importantly, brainstorm with your team on areas you would like to improve or enhance. If you don’t have an automated CMMS, the goal is easy: find one! If CMMS is already part of the culture, consider adding these tactics to your goals list:


-  Add/decrement spare parts in with your work orders. Now, when you track WOs, you can also track associate parts and decrement them to give you an accurate quantity on hand.

-  Automate your maintenance request process. If your team still gets request on paper or via email have them submit requests through your CMMS system to end up as a WO, which you can track in a streamlined, automated flow.


-  Prioritize WOs based on a traditional priority, criticality of asset, location, etc. Most WOs are tracked by priority classification, but if you match up the work with the importance of the asset and its location you can get a more accurate prioritization.

-  Set a goal to reduce your down-time by X%. X meaning a reasonable, achievable goal. Note, to hit this target you must be able to first measure your downtime! If you can’t estimate machine downtime, head back to the “basic” section! 


-  Associate your safety programs with your PMs/WOs – JSAs, advanced LO/TO, etc. Insuring your team has proper safety-related information, proper certifications, and emergency resources helps create a safe work environment, fewer accidents and regulatory fines.

-  Start using predictive analysis to better shape your frequency/timing of PMs for offending assets. Take the wealth of operational data, much of which comes from managing WOs and predict where and when to do your PMs.

If the goal is to get the most out of your CMMS a consultant will help you gather information about your asset management goals, including uptime improvement, cost control, regulatory compliance, etc. He’ll review your list of assets, help you create the requisite PMs for each one and help you lay out a structure in the CMMS that parallels the way you run your operation. If necessary, he can guide you through entering and importing equipment data into the program.

Whether you use a consultant or tackle it yourself, set some goals. It gives you something to chase and win. Make 2014 the year you kick maintenance into high gear. 

Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group, producer of Bigfoot CMMS.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.