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How to Craft a Preventive Maintenance Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Craft a Preventive Maintenance Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide

When it comes to repairs and maintenance of your industrial or manufacturing plant, you know that following a preventive maintenance plan is highly beneficial and important for your operations.

Also called a preventative maintenance plan, its main purpose is to keep your production processes as seamless and cost effective as possible. But how do you create a preventive maintenance programme and what criteria do you need to consider as you embark on this process?

What is more, what are the benefits of this undertaking? In this article, we will explore the easy steps to creating preventive maintenance plans to ensure you run as tight a ship as possible.

How to Craft a Preventive Maintenance Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide

What Is a Preventive Maintenance Plan?

When it comes to the machinery and equipment in your plant, you know that they are the lifeblood of your operations. However, many organisations still follow the approach of reactive maintenance, which takes place after a machine breaks down.

This often means that when one machine breaks down, others in the conveyor sequence or production pipeline fall out of work as well. This halt in production processes can result in costly downtime as multiple machines need to stop working for the faulty one to be repaired. This can result in corrective maintenance for emergency repairs.

The opposite of this approach is planned preventative maintenance, which is a proactive maintenance approach. What this means is that maintenance technicians, operators and engineers come on site to the factory or manufacturing facility and periodically inspect all assets by carrying out regular maintenance while upkeeping them. The purpose of this is to address potential issues and equipment failures before they become more serious needs.

For example, if a machine is adequately lubricated or a duct filter is cleaned out regularly through effective preventive maintenance, it means fewer anticipated mechanical breakdowns or blockages that could put a halt to production.

As such, a preventive maintenance or preventative maintenance plan (PM plan or PM programme) is a systematic and organised approach that implements periodic and routine maintenance activities as part of a broader organisational strategy that ensures that the condition of equipment and assets is maintained.

How to Create a Preventive Maintenance Plan

engineer working with Fabrico

Having a preventive maintenance plan is important for many reasons. However, creating and implementing a preventive maintenance plan requires patience, foresight and prior planning.

By following the right steps in terms of how preventive maintenance plans are prepared, you can give your organisation a head start and reduce unnecessary costs and downtime, which can lead to organisational inefficiencies.

With this in mind, below we present six simple steps to creating your preventive maintenance plan.

1. Set priority goals

Every organisation has its own priorities and goals when it comes to repairs and maintenance. However, you should seriously think about these in depth so that you can clearly identify your organisational goals.

Whether it’s to boost productivity through fewer machine failures and breakdowns, catch irregularities before they occur or become a problem or ensure that your team is properly distributed across multiple repair and maintenance tasks, you need to identify your goals and then prioritise them.

Prioritising will depend on your specific organisational requirements. For some, it may be important to ensure that all machines are well-lubricated. For others, priorities may include ensuring that machines are maintained in terms of original equipment manufacturer guidelines and warranties.

Whatever your goals are, make sure they are prioritised in order of importance. This means placing those repair and maintenance needs that could lead to the largest organisational disruptions first and then working your way down the list to smaller priorities, such as changing light bulbs, etc.

2. Use preventive maintenance software

Step two, after you have set your priority goals, is to use preventive maintenance software. Often, this is referred to as a computerised maintenance management system (CMMS). What this system does is link up to all your machines and help you identify where emergency repairs or regular repairs and maintenance need to be carried out.

Furthermore, this software can help you manage your inventory alongside work orders that you assign to technicians, and it can also be a big boost for productivity because every team member will know exactly what to work on at a given time.

This is often boosted by the fact that CMMS software issues notifications to smart devices, such as smartwatches or smartphones, meaning that teams will get notified in real time about what task is a priority at the given moment.

Also, when issuing work orders for your technicians or maintenance crews, you can attach vital information and documents, such as graphs, tables, warranties, manufacturer maintenance instructions, best practices, and other aspects, to ensure that they are fully prepared for the maintenance job at hand.

3. Develop a maintenance schedule

In our brief definition of planned preventive maintenance above, we mentioned that preventive maintenance is carried out periodically. This could mean that maintenance tasks are carried out daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, bi-annually or even annually. The latter is referred to as an annual preventive maintenance plan.

Naturally, the time for inspections and maintenance will vary depending on the specific asset in question. What organisations often do is implement trigger-based events to signal when maintenance needs to be carried out.

For instance, you know that your car needs to be serviced either after reaching a certain mileage or after a certain distance has been driven. The same is true for your machines and equipment. Each one has its own lifespan and warranty, and as such, each one needs to be maintained at different intervals.

CMMS software is perfect for keeping track of these maintenance tasks because when they receive a trigger, they will notify the maintenance manager of the event in question, enabling them to take timely action to maintain the asset before it breaks down.

4. Provide implementation training

As a maintenance manager who is responsible for preventive maintenance planning, there will be a lot of information and data that you will be confronted with. From priority goals to using a CMMS system, this can become a daunting task.

However, if you find this task challenging, you should not assume that your team will not feel that way either. This is why it is essential to ensure that your maintenance crew is well-trained to implement preventative maintenance tasks according to priorities, goals and clear instructions.

They need to be connected to your CMMS software and know how to receive and update work orders. They also need to have best practices in mind when carrying out a maintenance task so that your organisation can enjoy the benefits of equipment that runs like a well-oiled operation.

5. Create a preventive maintenance checklist

To cross your “t’s” and dot your “i’s”, you should also create a preventive maintenance checklist. This means that every technician operating on a given task has a checklist of items to check off the list once they start working on a task and as they finish working on it, too. This checklist is a way of double-checking that nothing has been left unattended or unaccounted for and that there are no gaps in the work carried out.

Your checklist will help you track key performance indicators (KPIs), such as mean time to repair, planned maintenance percentage and mean time between failures. What you should also do as a best practice is compare these metrics to your predetermined priority goals that you established at the outset of the process.

6. Monitor and make adjustments

Whether you use a preventive maintenance plan template or you create your own custom plan, it’s essential to remember that your work is never finished.

You will be in a continuous feedback loop through which you monitor your progress, use data to drive improvements and decisions as well as make adjustments and tweaks where necessary based on maintenance history metrics.

This will ensure that your manufacturing facility’s preventive maintenance operations are smooth and optimised for the benefit of the entire organisation.

This process, when your team performs maintenance and carries out preventive maintenance work, will involve constant fine-tuning and the involvement of all stakeholders because both your technicians and upper management need to be aware of any changes taking place so that they can react accordingly.

Key Components of Successful Preventive Maintenance Planning

Successful preventative maintenance planning entails awareness and consideration of several key components.

In the section below, we outline what these components are and how you can best optimise your organisational operations for smooth production.

Involvement of all stakeholders

Getting the buy-in of all stakeholders in your organisation related to your equipment preventive maintenance plan is an essential component of success.

Upper management and decision makers need to understand the importance of cost savings associated with implementing a preventive maintenance plan.

They also need to be on board when you implement your CMMS software so that everyone is on the same page.

Just as your senior management needs to give the thumbs up for the preventive maintenance plan, so too does your team of technicians, engineers and operators.

Everyone needs to be aware of what their roles and responsibilities are in the process of carrying out preventive maintenance and they also need to know how, or what is the most effective way, to do so.

Effective team communication

When implementing your preventive maintenance plan, you also need to ensure that you are regularly and clearly communicating with your team.

With a CMMS at your disposal, you can make use of automated notifications that your team members will receive on their smart devices, such as smartwatches.

When everyone has clarity about what is expected of them, there are less likely to be communication failures, resulting in delays or work being incorrectly carried out.

Clear and effective team communication is vital for the success of the ongoing process, which is your preventive maintenance plan in action.

Comprehensive asset inventory

Another key component of a successful preventive maintenance plan is carrying out a comprehensive asset inventory. This means knowing as much as possible about each piece of equipment under your control.

It also means documenting each piece of equipment’s expected lifespan, intervals for periodic maintenance as well as all spare parts, tools and equipment that you and your maintenance team will need to use to ensure that they can carry out their work seamlessly.

Knowing what assets are in your portfolio, as well as the spare parts in your inventory, allows you to plan ahead better, avoid long wait times for spare parts to arrive and ensure a smoother maintenance process for everyone involved.

Consistency

When it comes to consistency, you need to have clear KPIs that you are constantly monitoring and tracking.

If you monitor one KPI this month and another next month, you will never have a clear picture of the health of your machinery and organisational productivity levels.

Measuring KPIs is a good way to ensure that you regularly gather data and feedback and make necessary adjustments and modifications to ensure that your organisation’s maintenance goals are always on track.

CMMS Implementation

The last component you should consider as you build and create your plan for preventive maintenance is the implementation of your CMMS.

A CMMS has multiple benefits and functionalities, among which include: defining preventive maintenance tasks, simplifying the creation of work orders, tracking maintenance costs and labour time associated with preventive planning activities and others.

Implementing a CMMS will enable your organisation to increase equipment reliability and reduce operational costs and disruptions, which often result when unforeseen malfunctions arise.

Benefits of Planned Preventive Maintenance

There are numerous benefits of preventive maintenance and planned preventive maintenance.

Some of these are discussed in more detail below.

  • Reduced equipment downtime: Equipment downtime is the time during which a machine is not operational due to a malfunction or breakdown that is unexpected and unplanned. When you implement planned preventive maintenance, you are ensuring that there is a much lower frequency of the need to carry out emergency repairs and maintenance, which leads to lower equipment downtime.
  • Higher productivity: Having your manufacturing plant operate like a well-oiled machine is critical to boosting your productivity levels. However, for this to happen, you need to ensure that your assets are fully operational at all times. With planned preventive maintenance, you can boost your overall organisational productivity as your machines will run as and when they should with few to no disruptions due to malfunctions or breakdowns.
  • Lower costs: Another important benefit of planned preventive maintenance is that it can result in lower costs for your organisation. When an asset needs to be fixed, it often requires spare parts, time and labour resources all operating together to bring the asset back to functional capacity. However, each of these aspects has an associated cost. As such, you can enjoy great cost-saving benefits when your machines are operating as and when they should.
  • Enhanced safety: With planned preventive maintenance strategies and efforts, you will reduce the chance of creating unsafe working conditions for your team members as well as minimising occupational hazards that could lead to injuries, accidents or other unforeseen safety-related problems. It’s also a great strategy to follow as it helps you stay more compliant when safety and other audits are due as part of your organisation’s regulatory compliance requirements.
  • Better client satisfaction: The higher your output at a faster rate and at higher quality with minimal defects, the higher the chances of boosting your clients’ satisfaction levels with your products. This not only means you can cater to your existing clients better. It also means you can expand to new markets and scale your organisation at a faster rate, thus helping your business grow.

Get the Perfect Preventive Maintenance Plan With Fabrico

fabrico website

We already mentioned the importance of implementing a CMMS to craft your preventive maintenance plan.

However, if you are still searching for the perfect solution, you’ve come to the right place.

Fabrico’s CMMS is the ideal choice for manufacturing and industrial environments where machinery and assets play a crucial role in the business’s operational and productivity requirements.

Discover the preventive maintenance functionalities of Fabrico today! To explore this maintenance management tool in more detail and enhance your efforts through powerful preventive maintenance software, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Conclusion

When it comes to preventive maintenance, it’s essential to have a solid plan in place in order to ensure that your organisation takes advantage of continuous improvements.

One of the best ways to achieve this goal is by implementing a CMMS for tracking maintenance operations, among other benefits.

With Fabrico’s CMMS, your maintenance plans can now receive enhanced details and data that can help you make data-driven decisions for greater productivity.

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