The 3 underlying goals of any maintenance management strategy are to reduce downtime, cut down maintenance costs, and plan ahead. A decent CMMS software can help you achieve all of that and more. But to reap those benefits, you first need to set up a CMMS schedule for your organization.
As a maintenance manager, you need to know exactly when your assets will be needing some overhauling to keep them up and running.
And the only way to streamline your activities and always stay ahead of an equipment failure is to create comprehensive schedules. In this article, we’ll break down the 3 most common approaches to creating a CMMS schedule.
Let’s jump right in.
Why Maintenance Scheduling is Important
Asset management – especially if you have thousands of items to look after – isn’t exactly easy.
After all, it’s the central component of any preventive or predictive maintenance program.
That being said, a maintenance manager has to carefully plan their activities ahead. Waiting for the assets to break down and bring the operations to a halt defeats the purpose of having a CMMS (keep in mind that we’re not talking about unplanned maintenance/repair work).
A great maintenance program should help keep track of the asset’s performance and health at all times, leading to reduced failures.
By setting maintenance operations on regular intervals, managers can:
Automate their work order management to a great extent
Improve their inventory management as they’ll always be able to anticipate the requirements of spare parts
Reduce the frequency of maintenance requests and emergency work
Keep the equipment in tip-top condition
Always have qualified personnel available to handle the maintenance work
Furthermore, managers will get enough time to focus on other things that are crucial to their roles.
Different Ways to Go About Creating a CMMS Schedule
Creating a maintenance schedule isn’t as easy as marking your office calendar with activities that you need to perform (unless you only have a handful of assets to take of care).
It requires determining the appropriate volume of preventive maintenance work, based on the special requirements of your assets, the volume/duration of your operations, and the environment in which you operate.
There are a few different ways you can go about creating a CMMS schedule. Depending on the type(s) of assets you have, you may only use one, a combination of both, or all.
Let’s take a look at what they are and how you can set them up in your maintenance management software:
1. Creating a Fixed Maintenance Schedule
The most common method of creating a CMMS schedule is to use a fixed maintenance.
This is what most managers do when creating a preventive maintenance program.
This approach involves creating maintenance tasks on regular intervals (on a calendar). Here’s a quick breakdown of the entire process:
2. Understand Your Maintenance Needs
Before you create a preventive maintenance schedule, you need to understand the special requirements of the assets under your care.
In other words, you need to determine how often you need to perform maintenance.
This should factor in:
How old your assets are
The rate at which you use them
The frequency of failures
Availability of spare parts
Cost of maintenance
The specific instructions of the manufacturer
Start creating a comprehensive maintenance plan/schedule in your CMMS by keeping all of the above in mind.
3. Implement the Schedule
Once you create and set up the CMMS schedule, share it with the rest of your maintenance team.
Get their input to find out if it’s doable with the current resources that your organization has.
Furthermore, create detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to do the maintenance tasks. These instructional resources should also be shared on the SERPs.
4. Monitor the Results
With your fixed maintenance schedule up and running, the only thing left to do is to track its effectiveness.
In addition to determining the overall performance of your assets, you should also see if you need to tweak the intervals.
See if you can extend the total time a certain asset needs in between maintenance. This will help you avoid unnecessary maintenance costs.
5. Leveraging Meter Readings to Create Schedules
You cannot set maintenance tasks in advance for certain assets. You can only initiate work orders when it’s needed.
For instance, you can use the total number of cycles, the total number of miles, etc. for assets whose operations can’t be determined in advance. Maintenance will depend on how much they’re utilized.
In such a case, a great way to set up a CMMS schedule is to leverage meter readings to determine when maintenance is needed.
Here’s how to get started:
1. Refer to the Suggestions of the Manufacturer
Before anything else, refer to the special instructions of the manufacturer(s) of the assets.
If possible, manufacturing companies always specify round figures in relevant metrics (X cycles, Y miles, Z hours, etc.) after which the equipment requires some maintenance.
If you’re unable to find such information in the manual of an asset, get in touch with the company.
2. Link Up with Your Computerized Maintenance Management System
The next step is to train your equipment users and maintenance technicians to enter the meter readings of the relevant machines in the CMMS.
To ensure data quality, have your technicians enter the data in the exact same way.
You can then set up work orders in your CMMS which are triggered when the equipment reaches a certain level of usage.
Make sure to leave some room for unexpected delays.
3. Setting Up a Maintenance Schedule Based on Events
Another way of setting a maintenance schedule is to look at certain events.
In this case, an “event” usually means another maintenance task. However, it can also mean other, unplanned events.
Basically, you schedule a maintenance activity based on the completion of other planned maintenance work.
In that way, this approach integrates with the rest.
4. Review Your Regular Maintenance Activities
First and foremost, you need to take a quick look at your existing preventive maintenance activities.
Ask yourself – what other maintenance work would be required with the activities in your calendar?
For instance, you might need to perform a certain task after the servicing of your HVAC system.
5. Factor in the Unexpected Events
In addition to the planned work, you should also factor in certain events that might warrant investigation and maintenance, such as a sudden drop in the performance of an asset, the way it sounds, moves, etc.
Specify these circumstances in your CMMS so that you can trigger maintenance work orders accordingly.
Effective CMMS schedule planning boils down to just one thing – understanding what your assets need.
Based on your requirements, you can either settle for the fixed approach, meter-based approach, event-based approach, or all of them.
You can even go one step further and use a modern predictive maintenance software that uses IOT sensors to collect real time data, performs analysis, and provides smart suggestions on when to schedule maintenance.
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