How do you keep your maintenance program on track and yield the best results from your investment? These six principles will help:
1. Plan, rather than react. Focus resources on preventing downtime, not on reacting to downtime you should have prevented. When there’s a failure, determine the cause and figure out how to prevent that cause going forward. For example, motors in the finishing area fail frequently. The cause is a solvent that gets into the windings through the motor vents—so capture and exhaust the solvent, or use totally enclosed motors.
2. Be equipped to do the job. Thinking you can do the best job without the best test equipment, tools, and training is wishful thinking. Thinking you can do any job safely while skimping on safety training, PPE, and an (almost) obsessive safety culture is dangerous thinking.
3. Follow the plan. A plan is won't work if you don’t follow it. Sure, you may need to adjust it and make an occasional exception as exceptional circumstances (and common sense!) may dictate. But don’t stray from the plan just because someone in operations or management yells loudly enough. Always explain the plan, and if someone wants an exception, have them make a logical case for it. For example, all the maintenance for Line 3 is in the CMMS and scheduled for two months from now. But one month from now, this line is being tapped to fill huge orders and operations wants you to do all the PM work now instead of when runtime is so critical. There is only one correct answer and “we’re sticking to the plan” is not it.
4. Actively seek feedback and advice. This is a tough job, and you can’t know everything! Yes, of course get feedback from operators and maintenance people, but go well beyond your immediate surroundings. Good sources include industry publications, industry forums, industry standards, seminars, workshops, classroom training, reference guides, and peers that you network with through industry organizations.
5. Adjust as needed. Getting all that feedback and advice is pointless if you don’t use it when it may make a difference.
6. Keep others in the loop. Don’t just change something “in the back office.” Communicate changes and special activities to those who may be affected. For example, you could email the relevant department heads and supervisors that you’re conducting both a thermographic survey and a power analysis on Area X next Thursday, instead of just the usual voltage checks. Then share with them your findings (just be succinct). They will appreciate being kept in the loop, and you’re showcasing how maintenance is staying on top of things.