Timing is everything

We’ve all heard the joke about what’s the secret to great comedy… timing!

But it’s not just when delivering a joke and its punchline that timing is important; it’s also a vital component of any preventative maintenance schedule.

Implement a system where any maintenance is performed too often and you’re immediately wasting money and resources, perhaps replacing parts when they still have significant useful life in them.

On the other hand, if you leave it too long between maintenance work orders, you run the risk of breakdowns, leading to unexpected costs and downtime of equipment, which results in further unnecessary expenditure.

And this is just for the businesses that actually keep organised asset records and create preventative maintenance schedules in the first place. There are also many companies with regrettably inefficient or non-existent asset records. Or they have them, but are particularly negligent when it comes to their upkeep. And this is understandable. When work orders are mounting up and you’re trying to stay on top of the core day-to-day business, it’s all too easy to let the other stuff get sidelined, relegated to ‘housekeeping’ and little more.

Getting your house in order

But however tedious it may feel, auditing your maintenance schedule will pay dividends – in efficiencies, in the reduction of unplanned downtime and, as a result, in cost savings.

The first thing to remember with any maintenance schedule is that it is never a ‘set and forget’ affair. Not only does the equipment change or get added to, but also budgets are altered year on year, and staff churn can also have an impact. These reasons alone are enough to recommend automating your maintenance schedule with an asset management solution like Asset Aviator. Because the right asset management software will supply you with all the data you need to ensure that your maintenance schedule audit is comprehensive and complete – and no important information falls through the cracks.

A preventative maintenance audit will give a holistic picture of all maintenance being carried out. Is it being done at the right time and in the right manner? Is the work that your maintenance team is performing having a positive impact on equipment performance, usage and availability?

It should also show any wider impacts on the health and safety of the building and the equipment within it.

Importantly, it will help you ensure your schedule is working at the right frequency – hitting that sweet spot between leaving it too long and risking unplanned breakdowns or asset failures and performing unnecessary maintenance too early in the piece.

It will also show help you ensure that all and any maintenance is planned and scheduled in an organised manner – that nothing is haphazard or left to chance. And this will again maximise budget by reducing both short- and long-term asset risks.

So in a practical sense, what are the strands of data an audit of your preventative maintenance schedule should provide?

  • all work order information during the period since the previous audit
  • a clearly demarcated separation of unplanned versus planned or preventative maintenance
  • identification of equipment that appears to fail frequently or requires more than expect unplanned maintenance
  • work orders of planned or preventive maintenance that seem to be the biggest drains on time and money, and
  • the usage of maintenance parts.

Auditing your preventative maintenance schedule may not be the most thrilling aspect of running a business. Indeed, it’s something that could be filed under housekeeping, and who finds housekeeping fun? The answer is few of us. But we all know what happens when it’s neglected. The house fails to run properly, repairs and maintenance get out of hand, occupants are always playing catch-up and budgets go through the roof.

An asset management software solution like Asset Aviator can be the key to making sure your organisation’s house and the equipment within it run like clockwork.