8 Preventive Maintenance Implementation Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)
Implementing preventive maintenance has huge benefits when implemented correctly. From extending the useful life of equipment to reducing unplanned downtime, by using this maintenance strategy, a business can optimize how it utilizes assets, equipment, and its maintenance team.
^ Preventive Maintenance
Article by Bryan Christiansen
1. Choosing the wrong assets on which to implement PM
Even before you start implementing preventive maintenance in your company, you’re setting yourself up for failure if you choose the wrong assets to apply it on. Selecting the assets should be the first step, and if done right, will help you save money in the long term. However, if the wrong asset is chosen, you will face difficulties in demonstrating the benefits of preventive maintenance over reactive maintenance to higher management. To avoid this problem, ensure that the assets you choose are critical for operations and require regular maintenance to function smoothly. Find out if the equipment is vital to the company, and calculate the repair and parts replacement costs. If the asset is expensive, it makes sense to apply preventive maintenance on it, as a breakdown will result in large replacement costs.
2. Insufficient preparation and data
Being prepared is not just for Boy Scouts! It equally applies to most projects, including preventive maintenance. Before getting started with a preventive maintenance plan, you should have all the reports, breakdowns data, and maintenance logs. In addition, you need to check the original manufacturer’s recommendations as they always come with useful guidelines for your own PM plan. Without the right data, you won’t be able to create an effective preventive maintenance plan, as you will end up just guessing how much maintenance work particular asset need. To avoid scheduling tasks based on wrong assumptions, talk to maintenance technicians and machine operators to get a realistic picture.
Lack of data also means your fancy new software won’t have accurate and sufficient information to help you with creating the PM plan or with inventory and spare parts management. If you are implementing CMMS alongside preventive maintenance, legacy system data or manually maintained data often needs to be migrated to the new system. If there was ever the time to get rid of the excel files and file cabinets, it is now.
3. Lack of training for maintenance staff
Many projects fail due to improperly trained staff. A business can lose up to $13.5 million per 1000 employees a year due to ineffective training, according to one statistic. A surprising number of managers treat training as a low priority, while it is obvious that maintenance staff is the first line of defense against breakdowns and equipment failures.
If the maintenance staff is not sufficiently well trained and made aware of the best practices and philosophy of preventive maintenance, they will default to their old habits and the quality of work will suffer.
The maintenance team will need to be brought onboard and told the reason for the change to preventive maintenance, especially if you move towards a new CMMS or other maintenance software. Product demonstrations, software walkthroughs, video tutorials, and refresher training are good ideas to help the team gain proficiency in new tools.
Lastly, in case you don't already have established SOPs in place, it is recommended to formulate them now and add them to the training schedule.
"Even before you start implementing preventive maintenance in your company, you’re setting yourself up for failure if you choose the wrong assets to apply it on. Selecting the assets should be the first step, and if done right, will help you save money in the long term."
4. Lack of higher management support
If your preventive maintenance project faces delays or teething issues, a lack of buy-in from higher management can be a huge roadblock. In cases where your company has larger facilities and a heavier investment is required for imple-menting preventive maintenance, having the full support and buy-in from higher management is key.
Having an internal sponsor is great for the project and make obstacles such as approvals much easier to overcome. If the senior management understands their role in the project, gets regular updates and remain engaged throughout the project lifecycle, any possible roadblock are easier to overcome.
"If the maintenance staff is not sufficiently well trained and made aware of the best practices and philosophy of preventive maintenance, they will default to their old habits and the quality of work will suffer."
5. Not correcting bad habits early
When implementing a new maintenance procedure or system, incorrect practices and bad habits can creep in. If these are not nipped in the bud, they can blossom into large issues later, with employees logging incorrect entries, cutting corners, and getting careless about SOPs.
To avoid this problem, monitor the implementation practices and identify people who are not following the guidelines. Encourage them to report issues or deviations from the SOP and arrange refresher sessions if required. To further incentivize people following the correct procedures, add it to their annual performance appraisals.
6. Poor quality software or maintenance management system
Many organizations use CMMS to lead a preventive maintenance program because that is the most effective way to do it.
However, if the maintenance software is poorly designed and difficult to use, it can lead to issues of performance, demotivation amongst team members, and resistance to change. Including the members of your maintenance team in the process of reviewing and testing different solutions is one way to overcome this challenge.
Choosing a CMMS that is the best fit for your business is never easy. To help you make the right decision, here’s a detailed guide on how to choose the best maintenance software for your company.
7. Poorly defined goals and measures of success
You can’t fix what you can’t measure, and without well-defined goals, the project will be headed for disaster, with conflicting requirements and people working at cross purposes.
In order to show management the return on Investment and help them understand the tangible benefits of the project, you will need to show the progress with goals that are specific, measurable and attainable. This way, you can ensure future support from management when the project is rolled out to other locations, as well as when any issues crop up.
8. Demotivated maintenance team
Another challenge that you may face when implementing PM in your business is low employee morale and demotivation. For many people, changes to the way they usually do things can appear like a threat, and they may be afraid that the new system will mean longer hours and a higher workload.
"The maintenance team will need to be brought onboard and told the
reason for the change to preventive maintenance, especially if you move
towards a new CMMS or other maintenance software."
You can prevent this issue from becoming a reality by making sure everyone knows their responsibilities after PM is implemented and explaining the benefits both to them as individuals and as a company.
For example, with less downtime and breakdowns, employees will have to spend less overtime fixing faults and will get their work done faster in small bursts. In essence, helping them understand the positive effects of preventive maintenance on their daily work is a great way to keep them engaged.
"You can’t fix what you can’t measure, and without well-defined goals, the project will be headed for disaster, with conflicting requirements and people working at cross purposes."
A common misconception is that implementing preventive maintenance has to be complicated and expensive.
The reality is that neither is true if you know what you are doing. CMMS solutions can get as low as $25 per user and it is not like you need to buy any additional equipment to implement it. While it can take time to transfer all of the data if you have a lot of assets, the ROI you can see is definitely worth that time.
Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO at Limble CMMS. Limble is a modern, easy to use mobile CMMS software that takes the stress and chaos out of maintenance by helping managers organize, automate, and streamline their maintenance operations.