A 2017 study revealed that manufacturing industries are losing over $50 billion from unplanned downtime. At the same time, many companies are struggling to enhance maintenance performance and enforce successful maintenance programs.
In any manufacturing facility, maintaining quality and safety is one of the top priorities. In pharmaceutical plants, employers even invest in a high-performance pharmaceutical flooring solution to preserve the quality of their products and systems. They want to ensure it is durable, chemical and thermal-resistant, and easy to clean.
In this article, we’ll talk about the fundamental elements of a successful maintenance management program. We’ll also discuss what each element means and how it can transform the maintenance landscape.
Work Order Management
Work order management refers to how companies handle maintenance tasks, from project request, implementation, completion, and recordkeeping.
Plenty of factors affect the company’s strategies in managing work orders, such as the number of workers and operation size. Main approaches include spreadsheets, paper-based systems, and digitized maintenance management.
A paper-based approach works best for smaller companies but is challenging to handle in terms of managing maintenance history and searching equipment. For instance, looking for the maintenance history of specific equipment may require the technician to thumb through a series of files. This causes labor inefficiency and affects the company’s reputation in how it values sustainability and its green initiatives.
On the other hand, spreadsheets work well for mid-to-large-sized operations but are difficult to maintain for companies handling several assets. One issue is the lack of real-time accessibility. Besides the difficulty in looking up and retrieving work orders, revision control is also a challenge, depending on how you update, share, and own the files.
Lastly, digitized maintenance management provides an in-depth management solution and on-demand access to maintenance and asset history. You can also associate various documentation and parts lists to other work orders and assets, which you will find helpful. The only downside is that managing the software can be difficult for non-tech-savvy workers. Training can be costly, and others may even resist transitioning to a fully automated system.
The manner of work order management is critical because every maintenance activity requires a work order. Regardless of what type of methodology you employ, it’s important to consider the overall impact of the work order and how you will handle the key elements. Ideally, the best work order management strategy should streamline the whole maintenance operation while providing optimal organizational value.
Innovating With Technology
There are plenty of technology terms linked to maintenance, such as mobility, analytics, the Internet of Things, and computerized maintenance management. These cutting-edge tools are helping companies achieve their goals in maintenance performance. They have already proven their capabilities to reduce operational costs, minimize downtime, and enhance plant performance.
It can be challenging to determine the type of solution to reinforce the maintenance program with plenty of technology choices. The truth is that there’s no definite answer about which technology works best for your operations.
Some technologies present philosophy and equipment changes. For instance, most discrete manufacturing companies have embraced robotics that takes over human functions. Plant operations may directly apply technologies, such as robotics, digital transformation, and artificial intelligence, but still present obvious impacts on maintenance.
When these technologies empower the workforce, they can substantially boost labor efficiency, enhance asset intelligence, and reduce downtime.
Acquiring Maintenance Intelligence
Data play a vital role in making business decisions and optimizing performance. To build a successful maintenance program, organizations should start gathering information related to maintenance.
The first step is knowing what maintenance information and asset are essential. Equipment history and asset information should provide relevant data during the repair and maintenance process. For example, knowing the date of purchase and the length of service of given equipment will give you an idea of whether to repair or replace it.
Detailed information about former work orders can indicate the specific issue before starting the maintenance work. Documentation, parts list, and reference drawings are examples of valuable data to support the maintenance process.
When implemented well, the maintenance intelligence can enhance decision-making, set established metrics, reinforce predictive maintenance, and facilitate asset and maintenance performance measurement.
The Bottom Line
Maintenance issues share the same set of attributes across organizations and industries. But there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, as many factors contribute to maintenance solutions. In this case, every company should establish its own maintenance goals and priorities, then create a strong maintenance program. The key elements above can serve as building blocks to deliver significant benefits, such as extending equipment lifespan, improving labor efficiency, lowering maintenance costs, and reducing unexpected downtime.