Webinar Highlights: 5 Actionable Strategies for Maintenance Success

The last year brought a lot of advancements to the field of maintenance. While it is an exciting time in the evolution of the maintenance profession, it can be difficult to know how these advancements can be applied to your organization. 

To provide some insight and direction, Limble held a panel webinar with industry experts to discuss the recent findings of our State of Maintenance in Manufacturing report and shed light on broadly useful strategies for maintenance success. Panelists were Bryan Christiansen, CEO of Limble, Chris Ortiz, Maintenance Engineering Manager for Louws Truss, and  Robert Penrod, Facility Manager at TurbineAero. 

Here are some of the strategies shared by panelists and key takeaways. 

Strategies for better infrastructure and equipment health

Many companies have aging infrastructure. Operating within these systems can be a major challenge for manufacturing logistics, and outdated equipment may lack helpful features that promote productivity. Upgrading infrastructure is crucial, but organizations may vary in their need for upgrades and the resources they have available.

Begin by baselining your equipment and infrastructure

Use checklists and inspections to assess equipment health and identify immediate maintenance action that is needed to get the equipment into “maintainable” order. Then, identify the maintenance tasks that need to happen regularly to maintain optimal operation. 

If you can’t tackle all your assets at once, begin with your most critical equipment first. Focus on the 80/20 rule by prioritizing the top 20% of your most critical assets based on revenue generated or importance to business continuity. 

Set goals 

Identify metrics and KPIs that you want to improve based on what is important to your organization. Maintenance staff performance, uptime, planned maintenance percentage, number of failures, and duration of downtimes and repair times are all good examples. 

Ensure you have enough data on these items to assess where you are starting from and to develop reasonable goals for improvement. 

Implement tools to help achieve goals

Tools like a CMMS or IoT sensors play a pivotal role in achieving maintenance goals. Ensure you have a platform to coordinate maintenance schedules and report work orders, as well as a cross-functional team of experts to help create maintenance plans. 

Strategies for maximizing uptime

Keeping machines operational is a primary concern for most manufacturing organizations. Reduced downtime leads to lower production costs, higher profits, and a more competitive position in the market. It also enhances overall equipment effectiveness, extending the lifespan of machinery and reducing the need for frequent repairs. 

Get a handle on spare replacement parts

One of the key strategies for maximizing uptime is to ensure you have the most critical spare parts on hand at all times. This requires reviewing OEM recommendations as well as your organization’s history of parts usage. By also taking vendor lead times into account for the most important parts, organizations can place orders early to ensure sufficient stock on hand for quick repairs. 

Involve staff in identifying problems and solutions 

There are numerous ways to engage machine operators and other staff in maintenance procedures. 

  • Implement regular end-of-shift reports between operators and maintenance teams to discuss potential issues. 
  • Enlist machine operators in daily routine maintenance such as start-up and shutdown procedures, visual checks, and more.
  • Conduct debriefs on any lengthy downtime incidents to determine how they could have been prevented and adjust maintenance activities accordingly. 

Strategies for using advanced technologies

Advanced technologies have the potential to transform manufacturing. Machine sensors and IoT technology are important tools for the consistent and accurate data collection needed to leverage predictive maintenance strategies.

Evaluate your maintenance team’s readiness for advanced technology

Before considering advanced technologies, establish your maintenance team’s readiness. By implementing advanced technologies too soon, returns can be difficult to earn. Focus first on building the basics like PMs and other strategies to reduce downtime and improve performance. 

Strategies for making the most of a shifting workforce

There remains a shortage of staff in nearly every industry, and manufacturing is no exception. A lack of qualified staff hinders efficiency, productivity, and product quality. Increased worker turnover presents its own challenges, such as a lack of internal knowledge, which makes it difficult to innovate.

Leverage experienced workers to mentor and train newer team members

One of the challenges many teams are dealing with in the face of a worker shortage is the retirement of some of their most experienced team members. Investing in mentorship for newer team members encourages knowledge transfer and builds skills for the future.

Prioritize hiring for skills you can’t train

Establishing the core values of your organization helps you identify the kinds of non-technical skills you need on your team. Critical thinking, problem-solving, and a solution focus are key to the success of a maintenance team, but they are difficult to teach. Prioritize hiring for the non-technical knowledge and attributes important to your organization. Then, train on the technical skills. 

Key Takeaways

  • Establish baseline equipment health, set goals, and implement the right tools to get your strategy in order.
  • Get a handle on spare parts management to keep your team prepared to respond to downtime.
  • Involve machine operators in the most routine maintenance activities and regularly communicate about machine performance.
  • Advanced technology can be helpful, but only if you are ready – get your maintenance procedures in order first to maximize returns. 
  • Invest in knowledge transfer and team member training to ease workforce shortages.
  • When you can, prioritize hiring candidates that match your core values and difficult-to-teach attributes – then teach technical skills on the job.
  • Just get started! Take incremental steps to use tools like a CMMS, and you’ll see the benefits quickly.

More learning is just a few clicks away

If you are looking for more valuable insights like these, visit our resources page for useful tools and links to past events.

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