Fine tuning your preventive maintenance schedule
What comes first: corrective or preventive maintenance? Well, the industrial engineers would say “PM,” of course. But the reality of busy schedules and a reduced labor force often set in and best laid plans slip.
Example: Company X has older, inefficient ventilation in one of its production facilities. The HVAC breaks down frequently, is expensive to run, and finally management agrees to replace it with a brand new, more energy efficient system. Since the conversion, air quality and temperature have never been better, and the cost savings is tangible.
During installation, the manufacturer strongly advises Company X to follow a recommended maintenance plan. The maintenance supervisor asks her administrator to make sure the PM calendar is set up in the CMMS. The team is so happy to not be dealing with the older, often malfunctioning system they wonder “why bother doing anything; the system is brand new!”
PMs are dutifully set up and the automated reminders/PM work orders churn out every month. The challenge begins when the technician assigned tries to balance PM work orders on a combination of assets, including a shiny, new ventilation system and other antiquated, poorly-running systems that should be replaced.
The reality is that technicians will likely continue to “MacGyver” older systems to keep them running and the new system will be ignored since it is humming along nicely. There are just not enough hours in the day. Reality forces us to make compromises.
For example, perhaps the environment of this new system is not as harsh as, say, the average saw mill or steel plant, and maintenance staffers agree they can skip a PM or two. Not that they would delete the PMs—they would use a specialized status in the CMMS system to indicate that the PM was “skipped” due to lack of need, but continue to monitor.
Sometimes these choices have to be made. If all of a sudden the CMMS issues an actual corrective maintenance work order for this system, it indicates that the team has to get back to a more frequent schedule, but it may not need to be as frequent as the manufacturer’s recommendations.
A good CMMS system can deliver the information users need to better fine-tune their PM schedules. If a less-rigorous PM schedule gets the maintenance team slapped with a corrective work order, it’s time to adjust. Sometimes it is the other way around. If the CMMS system tells the maintenance manager ‘all is well’ with an asset, that may be a signal to shift resources to other equipment in greater need.