Maintenance technician performing preventive maintenance on a rooftop unit.

Preventive maintenance (PM) is one of the foundations for a well-run maintenance program. While many maintenance departments have procedures in place, there always room to improve a preventive maintenance plan. Continuous improvement leads to growth, so you should always look for ways to make your current processes better. If you are looking to take your maintenance operations to the next level, follow these 12 tips for improving your preventive maintenance plan from our computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) experts.

Tips for your Assets

1. Make a comprehensive list of all assets the maintenance team is responsible for maintaining.

This can be a good place to start—in order to improve preventive maintenance through better planned maintenance of vital assets, you need to know where and what all of them are. This list should include all the specifications and maintenance instructions of every asset, from the HVAC system to essential production line equipment, buildings, vehicles, and property. Many CMMS systems have an asset hierarchy capability, in which you can link various parts to their assets, assets to their locations, and more.

2. Assess all of your assets.

This assessment should include the condition of the equipment, repair history, total hours of operation, downtime, and estimated life expectancy. There are a handful of questions you can ask to carry out a complete assessment of your equipment:

  • What does it take to maintain your equipment? (e.g., tools, parts, labor resources, and costs)
  • Is it cheaper to replace older models than to continue performing maintenance on them?
  • Does the cost of downtime outweigh the cost of replacing the asset?
  • Do any of your existing assets pose a safety hazard?
  • Does your current equipment meet all organizational goals?
  • Do you have the parts inventory to service machines quickly?

3. Listen to your assets.

In an ideal world, you would perform the same preventive maintenance tasks on each asset at regular intervals without any need for variations. Of course, the world of maintenance is far from ideal, so it’s important to listen for noises (and look for signs) that suggest your assets need some additional TLC. For instance, are bearings squeaking from dirty lubricants as a result of excessive wear? Are motors noisy from machine overload? Is there water dripping from pumps?

If any of these are occurring, perform the necessary repairs sooner rather than later, and adjust your upcoming preventive maintenance schedule accordingly. While the repairs themselves fall outside of planned preventive maintenance, staying on top of these minor unplanned preventive maintenance tasks will minimize production downtime or conflicts in your preventive maintenance schedule.

4. Develop standards for measuring performance and improving efficiency.

This can be accomplished through analyzing maintenance reports, determining what benchmarks need to be set, and setting clear expectations for your machine performance and your people. You can use a number of asset management Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to make decisions to improve upon your preventive maintenance plan.

Tips for your People

5. Assess your maintenance team.

When trying to improve any type of process, you need to know where everyone on your team stands. Here are a handful of questions you can ask to determine what changes you may need to make within your team to improve your preventive maintenance plan.

  • Are all of your maintenance team members qualified to perform your preventive maintenance tasks on all assets?
  • Will improving your preventive maintenance plan require any help from third party services?
  • Do you have adequate resources to keep up with preventive maintenance or do you need to hire additional team members?
  • Do you have backup resources in the event of an injury or leave of absence, so that crucial PM jobs don’t get missed or delayed?
  • Who is responsible for which assets?
  • How are staff members held accountable for ensuring PM deadlines are met?

6. Involve stakeholders.

Ask key CMMS stakeholders for  input on how well your current CMMS software is meeting the organization’s needs (if applicable). Reports can be used to compare and contrast various metrics related to preventive maintenance over time. When other stakeholders are involved, you are more likely to receive budgetary support you may need to obtain additional resources to improve upon your PM plan.

7. Create a checklist to use with every PM job.

These can be distributed to your team via printed documents, email, or included in the attachments area of your CMMS. Checklists can be as general or specific as you like. Since every asset requires different PM, you can create a general list with blank fields to fill out for each asset, or create a customized list for each type of asset. When expectations are clearly laid out, it makes it easier to stay organized and ensure standards are met.

Tips for your Workflow

8. Measure the percentage of preventive maintenance tasks completed on time.

It is essential to track metrics and performance in order to improve your preventive maintenance plan. Doing so allows you to focus on setting goals like to achieve (if you’re not satisfied with the current level of PM compliance), and leads to further analysis of data that would reveal what is preventing tasks from being completed on time.

9. Do not perform unnecessary preventive maintenance.

Focus on eliminating tasks that do not add value. According to Reliable Plant, 30% of preventive maintenance tasks organizations carry out do not add value to production. Examples of these tasks include duplicate jobs, tasks done too frequently, and jobs that should be conditioned-based instead. When you determine what those are for your team, you can take them out of your maintenance schedule.

10. Create maintenance kits to complete preventive maintenance jobs more efficiently.

Kits are tools and supplies that can be bundled together to carry out a specific task. For example, you might create a kit with a the appropriate type and amount of motor oil, rag, funnel, drip pan, and owner’s manual to perform an oil change. Having these kits ready means that a maintenance technician can “grab and go”, rather than searching the stockroom and gathering all these supplies.

11. Create and maintain a centralized database to schedule and track preventive maintenance tasks.

This is much easier to do with a CMMS. A CMMS stores all types of maintenance information, including asset specifications, maintenance work order history, tasks lists, attachments such as owner’s manuals, vendor contact information, inventory, and more. It is essential to have the support of a software system to facilitate the best preventive maintenance plan possible.

12. Look for areas of improvement after the plan has been implemented, review the plan periodically, and make changes where necessary.

This last tip ties all of them together. After implementing changes, you should continually evaluate your improved preventive maintenance plan and continue to make changes as your maintenance management needs evolve.

Improve your Preventive Maintenance Program with FTMaintenance

FTMaintenance is designed to help you improve your preventive maintenance program. If you’re currently tracking your preventive maintenance activities via pen and paper, spreadsheets, or emails, our CMMS will make everything much easier for you. You can employ flexible scheduling in the CMMS, including either date or run-time based PMs and receive automatic notifications in advance of due dates. Request a demo today to learn more about how FTMaintenance can help you improve your preventive maintenance plan.