How To Minimize Unplanned Downtime With Preventative Maintenance

For a manufacturing or industrial operation, every lost minute of production time is critical. Unscheduled downtime can end up costing significant time and money and businesses need to find ways to stop, or at least, minimise delays and disruptions.

Despite the obvious negatives arising from unplanned downtime, many operations see ongoing equipment testing and inspection as a burden. In reality however, it is a business imperative and very often, is a competitive advantage.

The issue shouldn’t be approached from the linear perspective of ‘we need to keep our equipment running at optimum production levels, so what must we do to prevent break downs?’ Instead, it needs a dynamic, positive problem-solving mentality that incorporates every aspect of the business, but most importantly, which focuses on the human element.

Preventative maintenance isn’t new and there have been many different incarnations of the concept over the years such as overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), total productive maintenance (TPM) and reliability centred maintenance (RCM). But because people make things happen in the workplace, it’s so critical that organisations create a culture where everyone understands their roles and responsibilities AND follows through on them.

Even if the business relies on automated equipment – it’s impossible to avoid production losses simply because you have the right testing instrument, please visit sites :- or simplyorganizedonline because you have drawn up reams of detailed maintenance policies or procedures. The human element is ultimately responsible for making sure that things run smoothly, efficiently and cost-effectively.

So, as you work through this checklist of how to use preventative maintenance to minimise unplanned downtime, keep your people top of mind and find ways of encouraging and empowering them to solve the problems. They’re your frontline so invite their input and involve them in the decision-making process. Employee mindset and a determination to solve problems proactively rather than reactively will determine the success of your preventative maintenance schedule.

1. Get your machine operators to ‘own’ their processes

When workers take responsibility for basic maintenance work and problem notification on their machines and the process, it not only increases their skills and empowers them to push for optimal outcomes, the continuous monitoring also reduces the likelihood of unplanned downtime.

2. Schedule planned maintenance far in advance.

As obvious that sounds, it’s surprising how many operations only make short-term plans. Plan well ahead to take advantage of slower output times (for example if your operation slows down over Christmas) and ensure that you allocate sufficient downtime for a comprehensive check. In addition, you need to ensure that your team practices regular, ongoing preventative maintenance strategies which include things like keeping equipment clean, using appropriate lubrication and using non-destructive testing equipment (like laser alignment systems) to ensure machinery is operating optimally.

3. Ensure you have the relevant parts and accessories

Many operations have fallen into the trap of stocking up with tools, parts and accessories necessary for both scheduled and emergency repairs, but fail to replenish their inventory as these are used over time. This can result in longer than expected equipment stoppages and production delays.

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