Some of the most successful businesses recognise that maintenance planning lies at the foundation of equipment reliability and operational excellence. From reduced downtime to optimised performance, the benefits of a comprehensive maintenance plan are numerous.
However, many organisations still have some way to go before achieving best practice in their maintenance plans. We explain what maintenance planning is, its benefits, and how to implement these plans.
What is maintenance planning?
Maintenance planning includes identifying potential issues ahead of time and taking measures to address them, to either prevent or minimise the issues. An effective maintenance plan covers the what, why, and how.
- What – What is the work that needs to be done, and what are the materials, equipment, and documentation you’ll need?
- Why – Why are you replacing the hinge, valve, or seat? What specific outcome will this achieve and how does it boost efficiency and support your bottom line?
- How – How will the work be done? By specialist technicians, in-house staff, or both?
You can also understand maintenance planning in terms of planning versus scheduling. Planning addresses what, how, and the time estimates for the maintenance work. Scheduling, on the other hand, looks only at the how: when does the job happen and who does it? So ideally, planning should always come before scheduling. Planned maintenance can also have a preventative aspect, where part of the purpose is to avoid equipment failure, high maintenance costs, and production interruptions.
So for example, you can base your schedules on pre-defined triggering mechanisms like periodic intervals passing, a metre reading, or a condition assessment. An asset management software platform incorporating maintenance planning tools (or a computerised maintenance management system) would allow you to set up these pre-defined triggers and lay out a comprehensive schedule. You might be able to use the platform to assign work, schedule weekly job lists, and prioritise different maintenance jobs.
Some asset management software platforms might even integrate with Microsoft Office tools like Outlook and Projects, so you can drag and drop to share worklists. You can use these software platforms to create, track, and store job reports, backlog jobs, and triggers for maintenance tasks. If you’d like to find out how to use the maintenance-planning features in asset management software, contact SmartAsset today to book a free demo.
The benefits of maintenance planning
The benefits of maintenance planning encompass efficiency, lowered costs, minimising interruptions, and maximising equipment lifespan.
- Reduce downtime – A proactive approach to maintenance could minimise equipment downtime. Your supervisors and managers can then focus on production, productivity, and generating profits – rather than getting delayed by system failures
- Avoid major repairs – Major repairs can be expensive and can take equipment out of action for extended periods of time. Planned maintenance could prevent small problems escalating into major issues and reduce the need for major repair jobs. In turn this could lower overall repair and equipment-running costs.
- Limit interruptions – If you carefully plan your maintenance sessions, you can schedule repairs and upkeep work to limit interruptions to production. This has positive impacts for productivity, efficiency, and your bottom line.
- Lifespan and efficiency – Adequately serviced equipment usually doesn't need to be replaced as frequently, so you’ll likely reduce your equipment-ownership costs over the longer term. Well-cared-for equipment not only typically lasts longer; it usually performs better. Planned maintenance could extend the working life of your equipment and ensure it operates at maximum efficiency.
- Proactivity – Taking the proactive approach afforded by effective maintenance planning can support better organisation (as opposed to chaos), budget projections, quality outcomes, and higher morale. These factors can in turn support efficiency and productivity.
- Higher residual value – With a maintenance plan, you can better preserve the value of your equipment, which means you’ll get more money back when trading it in or otherwise disposing of it.
- Boost safety – Equipment failures can pose work health and safety risks for your staff members, and an appropriate maintenance plan can limit the possibility of catastrophe equipment failures.
How to implement maintenance planning
At a general level, your maintenance plan should include the what and the how of the job: what’s to be done, when will it happen, and who will do it. Clarifying the why (what you’re trying to achieve) can align your overall maintenance-planning strategy with your overall goals.
Depending on your organisation and your equipment, your maintenance planning could include various individual tasks. For example, you’ll need to appoint a suitable person as your planner if you haven't already. You might need to define or verify your existing maintenance work processes. You’ll need a process for logging and sending work requests, and a means of communication between operations and maintenance personnel (or contractors).
Tracking equipment performance outcomes via the right KPIs and metrics could also be important, and an asset management system incorporating maintenance-planning features is essential. With such a system, you can easily make use of hierarchies and categories, track idle versus work time, and review historical data to make smarter projections.
Finding the right asset management solution for you
SmartAsset is a best-in-class asset management solution with comprehensive maintenance-planning features. To find out more, contact us now tobook a free demo. Alternatively, feel free tocontact our friendly team for a discussion about your business needs.