How To Organize, Automate, And Streamline Maintenance Work
Quality, on schedule maintenance work, is critical for ensuring smooth operations at any facility.
As the organization grows, so does the number of assets, tools, and people that need to be efficiently managed and coordinated. Sooner or later, every maintenance department has to seriously look into ways to organize, automate, and streamline its maintenance operations. We discuss the most effective solutions below.
How organizations optimize maintenance work
Maintenance work is critical for plant operations. Unfortunately, that is not always reflected in the budgets maintenance managers have to work with. As long as operations are not heavily disrupted, top management loves to chase short-term benefits. Investments in general maintenance activities are then set on the backburner.
There are organizations that understand the importance of maintenance. They are continuously working to improve the quality and speed of the performed maintenance work through means like:
Effective standard operating procedures (SOP)
Creating checklists for various activities
Maintenance automation and predictive technology
Some of these tools and practices are expensive and complex to implement. Others are simple and only require some time and goodwill. Nonetheless, all of them can significantly improve your maintenance operations.
1) Effective standard operating procedures
Consistency is necessary for sustained performance in any operation. Without a detailed set of instructions, mistakes and variability creep in, causing various problems down the line. Standard operating procedures (or SOPs) are the perfect way to counterbalance this, as they offer precise instructions on how to perform specific tasks.
Effective SOPs are created by senior staff, based on OEM guidelines and the input provided by maintenance workers that will be using them. This ensures that SOPs are accurate, follow best practices, and can be easily applied in practice.
SOPs can be used as training manuals as well. They ensure that recruits with little or no maintenance experience get a clear picture of their job description, and are quickly up to the standard required to conduct regular maintenance work. A senior maintenance technician can refer to the SOPs for a quick refresher when in doubt. Lastly, SOPs also help ensure compliance with safety standards and other industry regulations.
2) Implementing CMMS to optimize maintenance work
There is no better way to organize, automate, and streamline maintenance work than a cloud-based CMMS. It is literally what it was designed for.
As a centralized repository of all of your maintenance data, it enables you to:
quickly store and access all technical specifications, O&M manuals, complete maintenance history, SOPs, LOTO procedures, maintenance checklists, and any other important asset information you decided to track
implement and run proactive maintenance strategies, ensuring effective upkeep
Filing cabinets and excel sheets are on their way to become a thing of the past. Everything they can offer, CMMS does in a better way – at least those CMMS systems that are designed to be user-friendly. We can only speak about Limble CMMS here. We worked very hard to make software with a superb user experience that is easy to pick up even for people that are not tech-savvy.
Maintenance checklists make sure that no step is missed or skipped while performing repetitive maintenance tasks, such as visual inspections or troubleshooting. Checklists help ensure that a maintenance technician completes a task in a faster and safer way, while not compromising the quality of the maintenance work itself.
Having maintenance checklists results in other benefits. By using them, newer maintenance technicians need less supervision, especially if the checklists are used during the training and onboarding process. As an extension of standard operating procedures, checklists are a great way to standardize maintenance work.
Implementation difficulties aside, automation is often the best way to streamline any type of work. Some automation is done through CMMS, but that is only one part of the story. With the growth of IoT technology, companies can now automatically collect and access an extraordinary amount of machine performance and condition data. In the context of maintenance, this data is predominantly used to improve the planning and scheduling of maintenance jobs.
Prescriptive and predictive maintenance are great examples of how you can automate certain parts of maintenance work. Sensor and predictive algorithms can automatically track the physical parameters of critical machines. Based on performance issues and degradation signs, predictive analytics helps us diagnose potential problems, and tells us when we need to perform maintenance work to avoid incoming failure.
This lowers the need for regular inspections and significantly decreases the number of unnecessary planned downtimes, speeding up the general maintenance workflow. As a consequence, facility and maintenance managers and supervisors have an easier time planning preventive maintenance work, creating work orders, managing employee shifts, and ordering replacement parts.
Organizations that want to eliminate all excessive maintenance work and optimize their maintenance operations will have to invest in predictive technology at some point.
A lot of time, effort, and planning goes into organizing maintenance work. Without proper tools and procedures, plant operations can quickly go off the rails. Standardization goes a long way in improving productivity and the overall quality of performed maintenance work.
We hope this article helped you identify the different means by which you can improve your maintenance department – or at least gave you some food for thought. For more details regarding the CMMS and how it works, feel free to contact us anytime.
"I can track my inventory and it sends me emails when I'm running low on an item. Also that I can track how much time I'm spending on certain jobs over an extended period of time."
— Cody Jensen
Very easy to use, access
"I like the price, the fact I can see it on my phone or the computer. I like that it is internet-based."
— Curt Waisath
Valley Salt LLC
It just works
"Honestly - the customer support has been fabulous. We had a minor feature request that was deployed within 24 hours - which is unheard of. Even better when you consider our business is located in a completely different time zone (somewhere in Australia). Limble is quite intuitive and I love the ability to have assets nested within each other."
— Ed Cronin
Great for smaller or larger facilities
"We haven't fully integrated Limble yet but we are already seeing improvements in our efficiency. As we fully integrate Limble we expect to see more benefits and increase our response and completion times. The customer support has been outstanding. The Limble team is very quick to respond to any questions and they are very open to suggestions."
— Mike Hill
Children's Home of Lubbock
Limble is the best thing to happen to this company
"Limble does such a good job at keeping track of what's been done and letting me know when and what I need to do next."
— Tom Jones
Little Giant Ladder Systems
Great product at a great price
"Terrific customer service, easy to use, and at a great value. Our old Maintenance software was very difficult to use and was very expensive."
— Brian Williams
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