Facility managers have a critical task: they keep everything running smoothly to avoid unforeseen equipment or utility breakdowns that can affect productivity. With good planning, they can even generate savings. One way to cut costs is by fixing system and equipment failures before they can happen. This result is achieved through preventive maintenance.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find time in your facility’s schedule for equipment maintenance. As a result, the equipment wears out until a severe problem appears, increasing costs and downtime.
That’s why a good facility manager must be aware of the need to schedule preventive, rather than reactive, maintenance services regularly. Understand the benefits of this practice and how it can save you both money and work.
Preventive vs. Reactive—Which Kind of Maintenance is Better?
Both maintenance strategies have advantages and disadvantages. Simply put, reactive maintenance means fixing things once they are broken and waiting for work orders to be filed. This practice is prevalent in organizations that have difficulty closing their production lines for preventive maintenance services.
Continuing a process or running equipment until failure can be practical for smaller, less critical assets, whose maintenance or replacement cost is minimal. Strategically, however, reactive maintenance is unsuitable for more expensive and complex machines. Furthermore, reactive maintenance can cause problems to build up, overloading your staff and forcing the company to stop operations more frequently.
On the other hand, preventive maintenance requires the planning and organization of the facility manager to predict and identify crises before they happen.
Through measurements and tests, the degradation of assets is frequently inspected to minimize severe and unexpected damages. Systems and equipment are also kept up to date, replacing parts before they can break. When executed correctly, preventive maintenance means that problems are identified and fixed before they can get worse and cause major breakdowns.
How Preventive Maintenance Saves Your Facility Money
A good preventive maintenance program can yield noticeable results in a short time, as well as significant savings in your budget. These benefits happen for the following reasons:
- Less Downtime– Whenever machines need to stop for urgent maintenance, productivity is impacted. Preventive maintenance reduces this downtime by keeping equipment in good condition.
- Savings On Complex Reactive Maintenance– When more complicated and expensive equipment suddenly stops working, maintenance or replacement can be expensive. Effective preventive maintenance reduces this risk, preventing last-minute and expensive specialist hiring in emergencies.
- Greater Operational Efficiency– Frequent preventive maintenance ensures that equipment will be kept in ideal condition to operate at all times, without the risk of unexpected failures or even less-than-optimal operation.
- Increased Service Life– Equipment that is operated without stopping will wear out naturally. Preventive maintenance allows you to assess equipment condition, replace parts, and fix minor problems, allowing assets to last longer with less investment.
What Systems Benefit From Preventive Maintenance?
In short, all of them. All you need to do is determine the most suitable times and periods to schedule equipment maintenance without impacting your organization’s routines.
For instance, as the weather gets warmer, you have more freedom to schedule preventive maintenance on the boiler, leaving it in perfect condition for the coldest months. As the weather cools, you can schedule maintenance on your HVAC system, ensuring that your air conditioning will be in working order come summer.
How To Start Using Preventive Maintenance Today
Many more experienced workers already do preventive maintenance throughout the workday without knowing it, simply because they know the details of some machines, what services they require, how they can and can’t be used. However, putting a thorough, team-oriented preventive maintenance plan into practice requires work, commitment, and some upfront investment until everything is working correctly.
To start your team off on the right foot, look into high-quality preventive maintenance software from professionals like FMX to help create a service schedule. This software allows you to track data such as the percentage of scheduled maintenance, the general effectiveness of each piece of equipment, and the average time between failures.
CMMS software (Computerized Maintenance Management Systems software) like this will only work if you integrate your team into the process. It’s necessary to create a training strategy for the new technology. Consider implementing the system gradually, one area at a time or for some specific assets, so that your workers can better adjust to the new practices.
If It’s Not Broken…Take a Look Anyway
There’s an adage that says, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” This philosophy may make sense in some situations, but not for facility managers: you need to be sure that your equipment will not break, so that you don’t have to fix a more significant problem later on. Preventive maintenance can make everyone’s life less complicated.
It’s possible to keep things running with reactive maintenance. On the other hand, the practice of only repairing equipment when something breaks can leave your team stressed and overloaded, and considerably affect your assets’ life cycles.
A well-run facility is more efficient and safer. When things like the air conditioner work well, the environment is more comfortable for employees and customers alike.