Preventive maintenance provides companies with several important benefits related to costs, errors, and health and safety. These benefits include:
- Improved reliability and life of equipment
- Fewer costly repairs and downtimes associated with unexpected equipment failure
- Fewer errors in operations as a result of equipment working incorrectly
- Reduced health and safety risks
A good PM schedule should prevent equipment from failing unexpectedly, reducing cost, saving time, and ensuring your operation continues to run smoothly, efficiently and productively.
Preventive maintenance offers several key advantages for businesses, including:
1. Improved Safety
Maintaining assets prevents potentially dangerous failure, mitigating against injury and any associated liability lawsuits.
2. Greater Equipment Lifespan
By making sure equipment runs according to guidelines you will help improve the lifespan of the asset. Failing parts reduce the life of your equipment, resulting in expensive repair or replacement.
3. Improved Productivity
Statistics show that poor maintenance can reduce a company’s production capacity by 20%. By meeting maintenance requirements, you can prevent this fall in productivity as well as reduce downtime to enable greater efficiency and productivity.
4. Reduced Costs
It is estimated that running a piece of equipment to failure can cost ten times as much as performing periodic maintenance. The expense comes as a result of unexpected downtimes and repairs. By understanding the maintenance requirements, you can schedule necessary repairs or part replacements at a suitable time, whether that can be achieved internally or requires an outside professional.
5. Reduced Energy Consumption
PM can also have an environmental benefit, since poorly maintained electrical assets tend to use more energy than those that are functioning correctly. Of course, there is also the financial benefit of lower energy bills as a result.
While the advantages of preventive maintenance are clear, there are a few potential challenges associated with a PM schedule:
1. Budget Constraints
Some smaller businesses have found that advanced digital maintenance solutions are expensive due to high price software and the cost of hiring external experts. Such budget issues have meant that some consider PM to be a luxury rather than a necessity. Fortunately, this situation has begun to change in recent years as more affordable options are entering the market.
2. Additional Resources Required
Completing preventive maintenance may require more staff, parts and time. This requirement means that some companies will focus their preventive maintenance on essential, business-critical assets only.
As mentioned above, PM can be time consuming. Inspection of complicated equipment can be a laborious task, which can lead some to try to skip some routine inspection and maintenance jobs.
4. Organisational Difficulties
Organising your preventive maintenance can be difficult, especially if you have hundreds or thousands of assets to maintain. These difficulties are, however, greatly reduced through the use of a maintenance software program. A dedicated PM program cuts out the need for binders of paper and people remembering what should be done, and when.
Preventive maintenance requirements differ depending on the equipment being maintained. Example tasks may include cleaning, lubrication, replacing or repairing parts, or even partial or complete overhauls.
More obvious examples of preventive maintenance include ensuring production line equipment is working efficiently or heating, ventilation or air conditioning elements are inspected, cleaned and updated.
However, other areas in a business also require regular maintenance. Water supplies need to be sanitary, electrical systems have to be safe and compliant with legislation, and doors, lighting and flooring also needs to be checked to ensure they are all working correctly and not potentially hazardous.
As highlighted above, PM software can greatly simplify the coordination of your preventive maintenance tasks. Good PM software will be able to track and store your preventive maintenance requirements and data. This can make it easier to manage work orders, purchases, inspection records and inventories.
Preventive maintenance software can prioritise your tasks as well as offering the information required for work to be completed. A PM program can also plan when tasks should take place based on your operational needs, thereby reducing disruption to your work schedules.
Corrective or reactive maintenance is when you wait for a problem to occur before addressing it. Often a small problem will go unnoticed until it becomes a larger issue. This is called the ‘run to failure method.’
However, this type of corrective maintenance isn’t cost effective, as it increases unexpected downtimes, which can incur unplanned expenses. These expenses can go beyond the cost of repairing or replacing equipment to also include lost productivity and overtime labour costs to meet deadlines.
A run to failure working model could also cost you reputation if your lack of PM means you cannot complete work on time for a client or customer.
Predictive maintenance (PdM) is an advanced form of preventive maintenance that aims to reduce the number of planned tasks in a PM schedule.
PdM analyses data collected from experts, equipment readers, and past experience to determine when specific conditions have been met. Increasingly, Industry 4.0-based Internet of Things feedback is also being used to inform PdM and help further optimise PM requirements.
While the cost, complexity and time taken to gather data can prove a barrier to the widespread adoption of PdM, a well-informed system will enable more financially sound decisions to be made for the ongoing maintenance of your assets and equipment.