Every manufacturing unit has critical assets, equipment, and resources. With moving parts and shifting priorities, these assets need an effective maintenance management system for optimum operational excellence.
Maintenance planning is the core component of the modern asset management system. Overlooking maintenance can result in reduced organizational productivity, increased downtime, shortened equipment lifespan, and higher costs.
For an asset-intensive company, it is paramount to have a proper maintenance planning and scheduling strategy in place to subside these potential obstacles.
This guide walks you through everything you need to know about effective maintenance planning so you can turn maintenance challenges into opportunities. Let’s get started!
What is Maintenance Planning?
Maintenance planning is a comprehensive process that identifies, addresses, and troubleshoots potential problems in an organization’s valuable assets. This requires a keen observation of the procedures, equipment, machinery, and different components that could cause downtime. Obstacles that cause downtime can hold back the company from achieving its operational goals. Therefore, it is crucial to identify and address operational obstacles timely. Companies usually carry out a maintenance plan if one or more of the following cases:
- Decline in the production capacity due to downtime.
- Inability to complete work orders on time.
- Equipment and machinery continues to fail in its entirety or part.
- Regulations require the company to implement a maintenance plan.
What Do You Need For Proper Maintenance Planning?
An effective maintenance plan requires careful planning and execution. The right information, tools, and materials are essential for a successful plan. Maintenance managers must have a clear understanding of the scope of the work and the necessary steps to complete work orders in an efficient manner. With all the essentials in hand, a structured maintenance plan can be executed and improved over time.
A structured maintenance plan covers all the critical maintenance planning principles listed below:
- Identifying the tools for quick and accurate maintenance task completion.
- Arranging the required equipment and assembling the system in the right places.
- Obtaining and preparing all the essential tools before allocating an operational activity to employees handling machinery.
- Establishing comprehensive SOPs on how to perform particular maintenance tasks, procedures, and functions.
Types of Maintenance Planning
Enlisted below are the two main types of maintenance planning undertaken in a company:
Breakdown Maintenance Planning
Breakdown maintenance planning focuses on fixing the problem instead of acting proactively to refrain from it in the first place. Breakdown maintenance is performed when equipment, asset, or system faults and disrupts unexpectedly — thus, it becomes non-functioning. Since breakdown maintenance is scheduled after a system disruption, facility managers tend to perform maintenance as quickly as possible — so the operations can be continued again. If this type of maintenance is planned in advance, it is considered “good breakdown maintenance.”
Preventive Maintenance Planning
Preventive maintenance is a proactive approach toward system surveillance. It focuses on taking preventive measures against potential issues ahead of time. A facility maintenance manager assesses the equipment reliability at regular intervals to ensure they function uninterruptedly. This proactiveness helps the system stay up and running, subsiding any unnecessary delays in the production processes.
In comparison to breakdown maintenance, preventive maintenance is always a preferred maintenance approach as it reduces system downtime, repair needs and costs, and workplace accidents. Additionally, preventive maintenance can save from losses resulting from poor crisis management.
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How Can The Maintenance Department Benefit Your Company?
The maintenance planning department plays a prominent role in keeping operations undisturbed, smooth and streamlined. Out of hundreds of benefits, the following four are primary benefits of successful maintenance planning and scheduling:
Increase Lifetime of Assets & Reduce Downtime
Every piece of equipment needs a careful checkup and regular service for prolonged life. If a machine breaks down often, its value and lifespan depreciate exponentially. A maintenance department can turn things around by pinpointing issues, estimating their impact, and planning the steps to resolve them accordingly. In the best case, maintenance bottlenecks are resolved before they cause downtime, which is also referred to as ‘preventative maintenance.
Minimize Disaster Risk
The maintenance department’s main responsibility is to reduce the risk of disaster as much as possible. Maintenance planning, which includes small repairs, has a big impact on how well the assets perform. Facility maintenance services make sure the necessary measures are taken before something goes wrong – which is always the best solution in a disaster recovery plan.
A well-planned maintenance schedule is the only way to keep your manufacturing equipment in top condition. By carefully monitoring the machinery and fixing any issues as they arise, you can prevent expensive repairs or replacements. This way, you can keep your costs down and avoid any unexpected downtime.
Improves Workforce Efficiency
If a company does not have an efficient maintenance plan, on average, only 35% of work time can be spent on assets, which is not ideal. However, if a company does have a reasonable maintenance schedule, this number can be improved to 65%. This means that the productivity of the workforce has increased and less of the workers’ total work time has gone to things unrelated to assets. This type of increase in workers’ efficiency helps the company move forward to achieve its operational goals more quickly.
Tips for Effective Maintenance Planning
To carry out adequate maintenance planning, every asset-intensive organization must follow these expert-recommended tips:
Maintenance planning starts with timely reporting of the issues that need the attention of your maintenance personnel. Keep an eye out for the key performance indicators (KPIs) to identify an emerging issue in time. Whether in response to a work request or a scheduled maintenance activity, two things must be clearly outlined and reported to the concerned department:
- The WHAT — What maintenance tasks need to be completed?
- The WHY — Why should we use a particular approach for completing a particular maintenance task?
Pro Tip: Prepare maintenance checklists with The NonStop Suit’s dynamic e-forms for easier record-keeping, data accessing, sharing, and tracking.
Once you have nitpicked the main problem, it’s time to detail the HOW (how the maintenance tasks should be completed). Inspect the worksite thoroughly, state the scope of maintenance work, enlist the required tools, and mention any part replacement needed.
Pro Tip: Use the NonStop Suit’s NFC tag system to make all the equipment history accessible with one quick scan. NFC tags make maintenance planning more efficient, systematic and digitized.
Opt for the Preventive Approach
Out of the two maintenance approaches, we know that preventive maintenance wins the battleground — and for all the good reasons! Preventive maintenance is always done before your equipment grinds to a halt. Hence, you are not left with out-of-control maintenance costs, lost revenue, and loss of top talent. So, when it comes to maintenance planning, think proactively and act preventively.
Enhance Productivity by Using CMMS
CMMS software sits at the core of a modern maintenance management system. Facility managers and the maintenance team utilize computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) to simplify the creation and execution of a maintenance plan. For auditing and maintenance scheduling, integrating an efficient CMMS software such as IBM Maximo provides centralized information on equipment, work orders, and work requests. From maintenance planning and scheduling to control activities, the entire maintenance work becomes more manageable than ever.
Keep Track of Data With CMMS
Developing an effective maintenance plan entails keeping up with relevant and up-to-date data — all of this is possible through data tracking with the CMMS. Once a maintenance plan is executed, prepare an extensive status report with detailed feedback and submit it to the planning department. This record-keeping habit will save you from repeating mistakes and ensure that work orders are enhanced and functional. Additionally, status reports enable the maintenance planner to use the information to improve future processes. They can review all the past considerations and inputs from equipment experts when recreating a maintenance plan in the future.
Maintenance planning is a never-ending job that keeps evolving with time. A maintenance manager is always supposed to maximize the efficiency of scarce resources. This efficiency, however, is impossible to achieve without an efficient maintenance management system.
The NonStop Suite brings you smart solutions for a simplified maintenance process. The dynamic electronic forms outperform the typical paperwork that is difficult to manage, share and track. You can automate the maintenance documentation process in the e-forms while your data is securely stored in a cloud-based EAM (Enterprise Asset Management). Another remarkable feature The NonStop Suite offers is the smart NFC asset tagging system for easier maintenance work process digitization. The NFC tags allow you to scan the equipment and review the maintenance history in real time. Hence, you can make maintenance planning more modernized, manageable, and efficient than before.
Shall you want to streamline maintenance planning and scheduling and stay on top of your maintenance goals, contact the NonStop Group today or book a free product tour