Preventative maintenance practices have the potential to create significant productivity and revenue gains, but they can also prove expensive and complex to enact, especially if employees lack the industrial training needed to understand how maintenance and operations tasks align.
In theory, a preventative maintenance strategy will involve applying maintenance on machines and assets just in time to avoid any operational disruptions. In practice, this means that your maintenance teams must have a clear idea of how day-to-day operations are handled to ensure they schedule and coordinate preventative maintenance activities with operations needs.
Complexity a major challenge in preventative maintenance programs
A report in IMPO Magazine explained that preventative maintenance initiatives often fall apart over time because of a combination of problems with affordability, security, reliability and complexity. Industry expert John Neeley told the news source that these four roadblocks to preventative maintenance success can often come down to technology, and emerging solutions have evolved to a point that industrial organizations can overcome these challenges.
While technology is beneficial in overcoming preventative maintenance challenges, Neeley explained that the end goal is to simplify processes for the user. The scheduling, measuring and day-to-day management processes that come with a preventative maintenance program can put an overwhelming burden on end users, and tools that simplify these tasks allow individuals to more easily take on the challenges that come with trying to stay ahead of maintenance demands, the report said.
Understanding operations requirements can play a key role in this simplification process by eliminating unexpected hurdles and roadblocks that can come into play when maintenance employees end up interacting with operations teams.
Preventative maintenance and operations
Improving productivity within operations is often the primary goal of a preventative maintenance program. Achieving this end is only possible if your maintenance teams have a deep understanding of everyday operations. This means they need to understand scheduling and resource management tools that hold clues to when the best times to perform maintenance on machines will be. They must also understand the implications of production tasks so maintenance isn’t scheduled at a time when a machine will, for example, still be too hot to interact with because of recent use.
Training maintenance professionals in ops tasks, or cross training, allows them to have broader insights into the types of issues that will impact them on a day-to-day basis, making it much easier to establish preventative maintenance programs and simplify processes along the way.