The Plant Engineering and Maintenance Association of Canada has reported that up to 80% of equipment failures result from inadequate maintenance, which can lead to costly repairs, operational downtime, and decreased efficiency. However, your organization can avoid these disruptions by regularly conducting maintenance audits.
Maintenance audits are crucial for optimizing maintenance processes, practices, and workflows to ensure they are efficient and effective. They help identify any gaps in maintenance operations, leading to reduced maintenance costs, improved reliability, and compliance with regulatory obligations.
This guide will explore the importance of maintenance audits, how they are conducted, and the benefits they offer to your organization. So, let’s delve into the key aspects of maintenance audits and discover how they can help your organization operate smoothly and cost-effectively.
What is a Maintenance Audit?
A maintenance audit involves a methodical review of maintenance programs to assess their effectiveness and efficiency. This type of audit examines an organization’s maintenance practices and procedures used for maintaining assets, equipment, or facilities in detail.
The primary aim is to identify any weaknesses in the maintenance operations and implement corrective measures to enhance equipment reliability, reduce downtime, and minimize costs. Moreover, conducting maintenance audits helps companies meet industry standards, regulatory requirements, and best practices, which is crucial for ensuring safety and mitigating risks associated with equipment failure.
Asset-intensive organizations enhance the effectiveness and reliability of maintenance audits by leveraging computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS). These systems enable them to examine maintenance activities more efficiently. With this automated program, day-to-day maintenance and inspection processes, such as scheduling preventive maintenance, tracking work orders, and managing inventory, can all be recorded, managed, and audited automatically. As a result, organizations can optimize their maintenance workflow and improve their bottom line seamlessly through increased efficiency and accuracy.
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What Are The Three Types of Maintenance Audits?
Maintenance audits play a crucial role in ensuring that maintenance operations are efficient and effective. Generally, these audits are classified into the following three categories:
1. Mandatory Audits
Typically conducted by external auditors, mandatory audits are required by law or regulation. Government agencies like OSHA schedule a mandatory audit to examine a company’s maintenance policies and procedures closely. These audits ensure that organizations comply with legal and regulatory requirements and the applicable SOPs.
2. Voluntary Audits
Organizations conduct voluntary audits to obtain voluntary certifications. Although not obligatory, conducting a voluntary audit gives organizations an edge over the competition. However, the bottom line remains the same as mandatory or internal audits: specify gaps and implement recommended changes to optimize the maintenance activities within the in-house facilities.
3. Internal Audits
Internal audits are audits that organizations conduct themselves. Conducted by internal auditors who are experts in maintenance and reliability, internal audits are aimed at continuous improvement within the organization. The auditors check the maintenance operations against the internally set standards and KPIs (key performance indicators).
No matter what maintenance audit your organization is undergoing, The NonStop Suite can simplify the process. With this powerful suite of tools, data recording, tracking, auditing, and reporting have become much more streamlined. Maintenance auditors can easily collaborate on the EAM-based centralized database and share their findings to ensure your organization stays on top of its maintenance needs.
What Does a Maintenance Audit Entail?
A maintenance audit comprehensively reviews an organization’s maintenance processes for optimal efficacy and objectivity.
Auditors typically review the organization’s maintenance policies and procedures and historical maintenance records during a maintenance audit. They also interview maintenance staff and management and inspect equipment and facilities.
Generally, a maintenance audit takes a systematic close look at the following aspects of the organizations’ maintenance plans:
By scrutinizing these aspects, an organization can gain valuable insights into its current maintenance practices. This, in turn, enables the facility maintenance department to get a deeper understanding of the underlying obstructions and a clearer, more comprehensive perspective on how to overcome them.
Why Auditing Your Maintenance Processes is Important?
Any organization operating with heavy machinery and equipment needs to conduct maintenance audits periodically. Auditing the maintenance processes minimizes the risk of unforeseen failures resulting from hidden issues and inefficiencies.
As crucial as inspection and maintenance, a maintenance audit optimizes the maintenance operations for maximum reliability, safety, and efficiency. It ensures compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, which can help organizations avoid costly fines and legal issues.
Careful organizations also stay one step ahead in pinpointing potential risks and hazards timely. This timely detection can lead to a safer work environment and reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.
What Are The Benefits of Conducting Maintenance Audits?
Maintenance audits are crucial for organizations aiming to optimize maintenance operations, minimize maintenance expenditures, and boost asset uptime. A successful maintenance audit can provide numerous benefits to an organization, including but not limited to the following:
1. Improved Asset Reliability and Availability
Maintenance audits point to where preventive maintenance practices can be improved. By advancing this facet of the maintenance plan, organizations can increase asset reliability and availability, resulting in fewer breakdowns and reduced downtime.
2. Improved Regulatory Compliance
Maintenance audits are important to determine fallacies and fine-tune everything from schedules to standard operating procedures. This ensures compliance with legal and regulatory requirements and subsides penalties and legal issues.
3. Data-driven Decision-making
Valuable data collection is another aspect where maintenance audits prove to be advantageous. A meticulously conducted audit captures real data on the effectiveness of maintenance work and preventive maintenance schedule.
By analyzing this data, organizations can make informed decisions to improve their operations and induce accountability in the maintenance team.
4. Risk Management
Organizations can forecast and resolve potential risks and hazards associated with maintenance operations. By addressing these risks, organizations can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, improving employee safety and reducing liability.
5. Reduced Maintenance Costs
Periodically conducted audits successfully point to the areas where maintenance costs can be reduced without compromising asset reliability and availability. This reduced maintenance cost is followed by increased ROI (return on investment) and profitability.
What Are The Phases of a Maintenance Audit?
A maintenance audit is a complex, multi-phase process that requires careful consideration. Enlisted below are the three critical phases of a maintenance audit and their corresponding activities:
Before starting the audit, the auditor conducts a pre-audit phase, which includes data gathering and risk assessment. During this phase, auditors collect information about the organization’s maintenance program to develop the audit plan. The pre-audit phase is carried out in two steps:
- Data Gathering: Data gathering involves collecting information about the organization’s maintenance processes, such as maintenance schedules, equipment inventory, maintenance records, and maintenance policies and procedures.
- Risk Assessment: The risk assessment phase involves identifying potential risks impacting the audit, such as safety hazards, security concerns, or regulatory compliance issues.
In this phase, the auditor conducts an on-site evaluation of maintenance processes in action, reviews the documentation, and interviews maintenance personnel. The auditing phase is broken down into three systematic processes:
- Site Visit: During the site visit, auditors inspect the organization’s facilities, equipment, and infrastructure to assess their condition and identify maintenance issues. This on-site inspection helps ensure that the maintenance program is implemented as intended.
- Document Review: The document review phase involves reviewing the organization’s maintenance records, policies, and procedures. The auditor checks maintenance documents, such as maintenance schedules, work orders, and equipment history. This documentation analysis helps in evaluating the effectiveness of the maintenance program.
- Interviewing Personnel: The auditor interviews maintenance personnel, such as technicians and supervisors. These interviews help gain valuable insights into the maintenance program’s effectiveness, which helps improve the current maintenance strategies.
After completing the audit, auditors analyze the findings from the audit, prepare the audit report, and present the results to management.
- Analysis of Findings: The auditors review the data collected during the audit to identify the loopholes in the current processes. This analysis critically helps facility maintenance managers issue recommendations to overcome the obstacles and improvise the maintenance program.
- Preparation of Audit Report: Based on the analysis of findings, the auditor prepares a comprehensive report that summarizes the findings from the audit, outlining recommendations for significant improvements.
- Presentation of Results: Finally, the audit report is presented to the organization’s management for review. This report essentially provides a roadmap for successfully implementing the improvement changes.
Integrate The NonStop Suite into your organization and simplify, streamline, and systemize maintenance audits. The NonStop Suite is an asset-maintenance and management software to advance and automate data recording, tracking, monitoring, and auditing. Ultimately enhancing the data accuracy and effectiveness of maintenance operations and improving the bottom line.
Achieve Excellence in Maintenance Audits with The NonStop Suite!
Maintenance audits are essential to maintaining the reliability and availability of critical assets, equipment, or facilities. Auditing can identify areas of improvement in the maintenance process, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and reducing maintenance costs over time.
The NonStop Suite is an EAM-based asset management and maintenance tool that provides organizations with a comprehensive platform for conducting maintenance audits. This digital solution allows for systematic data gathering and document review, facilitating thorough and effective audits. The NonStop Suite offers real-time data analytics and reporting capabilities, empowering organizations to promptly make data-driven decisions and implement corrective measures.