Presentation Highlights: 6 Steps to Overcome Common Preventive Maintenance Challenges

At the recent Pack Expo East packaging tradeshow, Limble was excited to share the story of Matt Burtz, Maintenance Consultant (formerly with Preferred Popcorn), in our speaking session, Overcoming Common Preventive Maintenance Challenges in 6 Steps. In the presentation, Matt shared how his team increased uptime, reduced costs, and improved team morale. How did he do it? Here are the six steps to his success and a few extra takeaways to guide you.

Where were they starting from? 

The team at Preferred Popcorn needed to set up a maintenance program for a new facility. While this allowed them to focus on prevention, Matt Burtz and his team also had the challenge of building their program on the proper foundation. In addition, they needed to account for food safety regulations that required a high degree of organization and visibility to support compliance and auditing. 

Preventive maintenance program goals

The team at Preferred Popcorn had two primary goals that are very common across many manufacturing organizations. 

  • Increase uptime
  • Improve compliance

The team wanted to shift their focus from reducing downtime to increasing uptime. “We wanted to switch from being firefighters to being fire preventers,” explained Matt Burtz. Equipping themselves with the right plans and tools would allow them to perform the kind of maintenance that optimizes productivity.

They also wanted to make sure that their preventive maintenance program was organized and documented in a way that helped them improve food safety compliance.

Support from a CMMS solution

They knew they would need a good software tool to achieve that kind of organization. “My prior experience in agriculture taught me that a solid software system can really help to manage your day,” said Matt Burtz. After trialing several options, Limble CMMS was ultimately the system that met all their needs.

6 Steps to address common preventive maintenance challenges

Each organization and each maintenance program will encounter its own unique challenges. When they arise, the following steps can help kickstart – or completely reset – any preventive maintenance program.  

Step 1: Perform an asset criticality analysis

Methodically evaluating your assets can help refocus your maintenance program, ensuring protocols are built, and resources are allocated where they will provide the most significant return. 

Step 2:  Build Your Assets

Determine the most essential asset information your team must access to manage their work effectively. Build that database of asset information within your maintenance platform to ensure it is instantly accessible at all times.

Step 3: Define maintenance tasks and triggers

Use your existing asset history and the experience of your team to invest in identifying the right triggers for proactive maintenance tasks. Leverage notifications and invest in proactive work that will save on repair time. 

Step 4: Write PM checklists

Build the preventive maintenance activities and triggers into your plan so they are ready for execution. Ensure you can customize these details for your team and include visuals, pictures, checklists, and other work aids to make it your own. 

Adjust as needed to take advantage of improved machine quality due to better PMs. 

Step 5:  Test your PM tasks

Test PMs before wide implementation to truly understand their impact. Gather data and get feedback from your team before launching. Getting input helps hone the PMs and builds engagement of the individuals who will perform the work. 

Step 6: Train, launch, and fine-tune

Build out the remainder of your asset PMs and train your maintenance team for launch across the organization. Your improved PMs will inevitably result in greater efficiency and reliability, with a less frequent need for repair. Build in a process for reassessing your PM program and reallocating your maintenance resources accordingly. 

Other key session takeaways

Matt Burtz and his team at Preferred Popcorn followed the framework above to set the stage for a successful preventive maintenance program that met their needs. Here are some valuable things they learned through the process that can be applied to maintenance initiatives across any maintenance program. 

Start with assets you know well

When establishing preventive maintenance practices, choose an asset your team knows extremely well. Build an effective process for that critical asset and use it as a template for additional equipment across your operation. 

Investment in PMs and inspections can help catch issues sooner 

Preventive maintenance inspections are indispensable for identifying and fixing issues before they cause significant problems. Ensure that investments are made in their execution. Track trends in performance, breakdown, and repair data to demonstrate the effectiveness of investments in preventive maintenance.

Be flexible and open to change

Prepare yourself and your team for change. Not only will updates to a PM plan require some adjustments to day-to-day processes, but it is also essential to look for ways to improve your preventive maintenance plan as it gets rolled out.  A centralized platform for real-time communication will also make it easier for team members to stay aware of the latest updates. 

Good data in, good data out

This adage applies to any process built on data and reporting. Accurate documentation must be performed in a timely manner to produce reliable reports and analyses. Better documentation leads to better data, which in turn leads to more informed decision-making and process planning. 

Prioritize useability in a CMMS solution

For all the reasons listed above, any software solution you use to support your preventive maintenance program must be easy to use. Ease of use ensures that the software won’t become a roadblock to executing maintenance tasks and their subsequent analysis and reporting.

Taking a PM program from good to great

The efforts at Preferred Popcorn resulted in increased uptime, reduced costs, and improved morale. “Maintenance was spending more than we had in prior years, but on the flip side, our overall profit margins had increased,” added Matt Burtz. The investments in maintenance at Preferred Popcorn paid off, and their achievements are attainable at any organization by following the proper steps and using the right tools. 

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