Did you know that thirty-four percent of unscheduled equipment downtime is a result of aging equipment and nine percent due to lack of maintenance?
This happens when businesses do not have an accurate maintenance plan to execute maintenance activities efficiently. Without a plan, businesses find it challenging to ensure that maintenance is conducted timely and therefore, experience frequent breakdowns.
Following pre-defined steps helps make the maintenance approach toward all maintenance activities uniform. This, in turn, helps optimize business processes and allocate the right resources, equipment, and set timeframes to complete the required maintenance tasks.
This article explores how maintenance planning works and how it can be expedited.
What is maintenance planning?
Maintenance planning refers to the process of organizing and managing strategies to execute maintenance activities systematically. Identifying and prioritizing operational needs is one of the most important components of effective maintenance planning.
One of the primary goals of maintenance planning is to increase the lifespan of assets by keeping them in optimal condition. It includes devising maintenance strategies so assets are timely maintained – reducing costs associated with asset breakdowns.
Types of maintenance planning strategies
There are various types of maintenance planning strategies each tailored to business needs and requirements. Some types of maintenance planning include:
-> Predictive maintenance
Predictive maintenance is dependent upon up-to-date data and statistics to forecast future asset failures and downtime. This involves conducting asset inspections to assess their condition. The aim of collecting this information is to schedule maintenance at the most appropriate time, so asset uptime can be maximized in the most cost-effective manner.
For example, installing sensors on an industrial pump at a manufacturing plant to identify the pump’s vibration levels and parts misalignment can help identify potential issues in its performance.
Predictive maintenance heavily relies on thresholds and data so if an asset is deviating from its performance, then managers can be alerted. These alerts serve as an indicator of problems in the assets that might occur in the future.
-> Preventive maintenance
Preventive maintenance involves inspecting, maintaining, and servicing assets every now and then to avoid potential breakdowns and prolong the asset lifecycle. Pre-determined maintenance schedules and regular inspections are the best way to maintain assets and avoid downtime.
Detailed maintenance records can be maintained in the form of asset history to account for all maintenance activities on the asset. For instance, conducting regular checks on an office printer to make sure it works properly.
-> Reactive maintenance
Reactive maintenance includes carrying out maintenance or repair after an asset has broken down unexpectedly. This means maintenance occurs as a result of malfunction as compared to foresight.
With reactive maintenance, it is difficult to predict when a particular repair will be required making it challenging to prepare spare parts and materials needed. The damage could also be more than anticipated leading to high repair cost. For example, replacing a forklift’s tires after they have completely worn out.
-> Condition-based maintenance
Condition-based maintenance involves analyzing and monitoring existing asset conditions through inspections, tests, and sensory devices to determine when maintenance is required. It is a strategy that tracks the actual condition of an asset to decide whether it needs maintenance or not.
For instance, to ensure that a crane is well-lubricated, the oil levels can be checked every now and then to maintain the right amount of oil.
Difference between maintenance planning and scheduling
Maintenance planning and maintenance scheduling are two interrelated activities – each dependent on the other to effectively execute business operations. They both help streamline daily maintenance processes. The following table explains the difference between the two for better understanding:
|Maintenance Planning||Maintenance Scheduling|
|Purpose||Focuses on what maintenance tasks need to be carried out and why they are important.||Puts the maintenance plan into action by determining when maintenance tasks should be executed.|
|Scope||Applies to the entire maintenance program from identifying maintenance requirements to devising appropriate strategies for the plan’s execution.||Caters to daily and weekly maintenance activities by ensuring timely scheduling of repairs and services to prevent breakdowns.|
|Tasks||Involves:Identifying maintenance goals Determining the type of maintenance required Developing strategies Establishing safety protocols and compliance with regulations Setting budgets and estimating costs||Involves:Assigning date and time to repairs Prioritizing maintenance tasks based on needAdjusting schedules to account for emergenciesCommunicating schedules to maintenance teams Tracking progress of service/repairs|
Benefits of maintenance planning
When implemented with the help of a maintenance management platform, a robust maintenance plan helps reduce downtime costs. It also enables administrators to identify and implement the best maintenance strategy for a business based on its maintenance needs.
Leveraging a well-developed plan, you can achieve high operational performance in several ways, such as:
-> Timely response to equipment failures
You can quickly identify equipment failures and address them before they lead to costly breakdowns if you cross-check your completed activities with your maintenance plan. This way you can better allocate the appropriate resources and time to prevent failures that lead to longer equipment downtime and decrease equipment efficiency.
With a plan in hand, you can identify gaps in maintenance beforehand and ensure that you are meeting the goals set. This way, the focus is on planned maintenance which often consumes fewer resources and is less expensive than reactive maintenance – leading to overall cost optimization.
-> Guidelines for streamlined maintenance management
Maintenance planning helps establish standardized procedures and processes through guidelines. These guidelines outline the steps and actions required for various maintenance tasks, ensuring that technicians follow consistent practices. By standardizing maintenance procedures, organizations can reduce the risk of errors, oversights, and inconsistent maintenance, leading to enhanced equipment performance and reliability.
For example, a detailed inspection guideline provides a comprehensive roadmap to each maintenance manager, allowing them to follow consistent, established protocols that sidestep anomalies and help achieve better results across the entire team.
-> Improved reliability and equipment availability
A well-designed plan is aligned with your business goals and maintenance needs, and allows your maintenance manager to implement the appropriate maintenance strategy. It helps you better plan operations, ensure timely completion of your maintenance tasks and even detect potential equipment failures.
Combined, these factors make it easier for you to compare the achieved goals with your plan – using performance metrics and KPIs – to better plan all maintenance activities. In this way, you can ensure healthier and well-functioning assets.
Key considerations for effective maintenance planning
A maintenance plan must be flexible enough to cater to variability in equipment performance and unforeseen circumstances. So, the ability to adjust your plan according to business requirements and needs helps you avoid substantial repair costs.
Let’s help you understand the maintenance planning process involved in making and adjusting a perfect plan for your business with the help of a maintenance management system!
1. Identify the problem areas
The first step in planning and utilizing a cloud-based platform for maintenance involves identifying and resolving the existing problems with your assets. Audits are a helpful way to recognize potential issues. Conduct a thorough analysis of your assets and identify items that need special attention. Further, audits help ensure that your equipment is up-to-date with safety requirements.
Inspections also play a vital role in identifying problems and developing a plan for remediation. Depending on the nature of the problem – for example, an aged generator, punctured tires, or broken filters – inspections offer the opportunity to analyze what action plan is best suited for the required repair work.
Inspections reduce delays and lost productivity, while also speeding up the identification of inconsistencies and conditions that were overlooked in previous maintenance sessions.
Leveraging a dedicated maintenance management software solution helps drive more effective inspections, seamlessly plan maintenance sessions, and improve the overall efficiency of your assets.
2. Recognize high-priority tasks
When you are handling the maintenance of multiple assets, it is important to determine the priority level of every asset for repair – for example, marking an asset high-priority when a particular repair is urgently needed.
For example, two assets require attention: one is currently undergoing inspection, while the other is experiencing a breakdown and requires immediate repair. In this case, it’s important to have a process that allows you to note and communicate the best repair order, fixing the breakdown issue first. A well-designed maintenance plan facilitates quick responses to such emergencies by clearly managing repair prioritization.
Additionally, by considering the impact of maintenance tasks on performance factors, such as productivity and efficiency, maintenance managers can recognize tasks that directly contribute to achieving those objectives. These tasks may involve maintaining critical production equipment or improving the reliability of key assets.
By identifying these high-priority tasks, organizations can align maintenance efforts with broader business strategies, such as complying with regulatory standards.
3. Develop a preventive maintenance (PM) program
A preventive maintenance program that prescribes regular maintenance tasks should also include identifying potential repairs and prioritizing assets. A PM program saves maintenance costs and greatly reduces the chances of unexpected asset breakdowns that can negatively impact productivity.
Reportedly, using preventive maintenance saves companies between 12 to 18% in overall costs, and each dollar spent on preventive care is paid back by at least five dollars later.
Below are several reasons why well-planned preventive maintenance plays a crucial role in any maintenance strategy:
- Assessing equipment needs: In the planning phase, equipment needs are evaluated to determine which assets require preventive maintenance. This includes assessing asset criticality, history, current condition, and forecasted use. By analyzing how frequently an asset is used, a maintenance planner can plan and schedule its maintenance accordingly.
- Documentation and tracking: Using a dedicated process or platform for documenting your preventive maintenance activities makes it easier to track your team’s performance over time. The platform gives you a holistic view of all your PM-related actions, and completed work orders, and enables you to easily schedule tasks for the future.
Generating historical reports can expedite your decision-making by consolidating aggregate data into convenient views. They allow you to compare actual performance metrics with targets or benchmarks, and implement corrective measures to enhance overall maintenance effectiveness.
- Maintenance checklists: Checklists provide a structured approach toward carrying out maintenance tasks by outlining each step that needs to be followed for each task. Providing technicians with a guideline helps ensure consistency in the completed work so that compliance standards are met and quality is maintained. Checklists help technicians validate each step in performed maintenance so that no essential steps are missed.
4. Streamline inventory management
Procuring essential parts and materials is a critical aspect of a successful maintenance plan. Before initiating the repair process, maintenance managers inspect the asset in detail to quickly identify the spare parts and materials needed to finish the repair on time.
A maintenance management system makes this process smoother by allowing you to track and manage your inventory effectively, saving time and costs. You can also specify your inventory needs by keeping a centralized record of all your inventory – both purchased and consumed. This level of management can prevent overstocking and understocking while allowing you to maintain just the right amount of inventory along with a comprehensive record of the total associated costs.
Such a system also streamlines the inventory procurement process, enabling smooth communication between maintenance planners and the procurement team, and preventing any delays in supplies. With enhanced communication, team members know where and when certain inventory is needed.
You can also check if you currently have enough inventory to avoid purchasing new stock – helping you make better procurement decisions and avoiding unnecessary costs.
5. Track metrics
Maintenance managers rely on maintenance metrics to discover actionable insights that will guide decisions about business process improvement. A maintenance management system improves data accessibility for managers, helping them better track these key metrics, including Equipment Uptime and Average Response Time.
Additionally, maintenance planning is streamlined when you have targeted metrics to compare your performance before and after the maintenance strategies are deployed. With a baseline to compare your results with, you can better plan for the future and make more successful decisions. This data-driven approach to measuring the success of your plan enables evidence-based decision-making and helps maintenance planners prioritize improvement initiatives.
Effective planning is the key to streamlining maintenance management processes. A maintenance plan serves as a centralized guide for maintenance managers to enhance productivity and ensure that no issues go unresolved.
Following your maintenance plan is easier and more convenient with a maintenance management software solution. Creating a maintenance plan is a time-consuming process, but the operational benefits are well worth the investment for efficiency, productivity, and cost savings.
A strategic approach to maintenance management is your best path to ensuring targeted levels of uptime, and enhanced productivity!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a maintenance management system?
A maintenance management system is a platform designed to manage, streamline, and optimize maintenance activities and efficiently perform maintenance-related tasks.
What is the maintenance planning process?
The maintenance planning process aims to improve asset reliability and ensure safety at workplace. The process typically includes steps such as identifying maintenance objectives, creating an asset inventory, assessing asset criticality, budgeting, scheduling maintenance, and reporting.
What are important factors to consider for optimized maintenance planning?
Optimized maintenance planning is critical for reliable maintenance operations. Some determining factors that support maintenance planning include maintenance prioritization, condition monitoring, maintenance strategies, spare parts inventory, and maintenance schedules.