Planned maintenance, sometimes called preventive maintenance, is the process of providing regular cleaning and minor repairs to equipment rather than waiting until the equipment fails to make repairs. The benefits of planned maintenance are many and can be broken down into a handful of distinct groups. No matter how you approach the idea, the bottom line is more productivity with greater potential profits for the company.
By carrying out maintenance on a proactive, rather than a reactive, basis, you can decrease equipment downtime and reduce the number of major repairs.
A planned maintenance system allows front-line supervisors and managers to spend more time managing production and less time dealing with the consequences of system failures. Planning maintenance sessions also allows production facilities to avoid costly time lost when operations are interrupted for routine cleaning and upkeep. Managers can include reassignments in daily work schedules so production is not affected while crews perform maintenance.
It is far more cost-effective to use minimal supplies in keeping a system in top operating condition than to invest in replacement apparatus or extensive parts lists as minor failures cascade into major malfunctions. Saving money in parts or equipment replacement can be a huge savings for the company, boosting bottom-line profits.
Without preventive maintenance, equipment operates at an ever decreasing rate of efficiency until it breaks down completely. When that break comes, the production of the company comes to a standstill and hourly employees suddenly becoming a profit drain on the company. Preventive maintenance avoids such unexpected machine failures and helps keep the company running smoothly without undue interruption.
Equipment that is well-cared for will last longer, whether you are cleaning the brushes on a floor cleaner, changing the oil in a fork truck or tightening hinge screws on a high-traffic door. Compared to the price of replacing a hinge, the time expended to tighten loose screws is negligible and the ultimate benefit is not having to replace the hinge for many years, if at all. Preserving the lifespan of equipment is among the many benefits of planned maintenance.
In Preventive Maintenance Principles, a training course for high-end digital equipment, MIT’s Scott Couzens and Scott Hiroshige point out that planned maintenance provides an excellent opportunity for training and a suitable method of keeping employees on light duty in productive applications. Because planned maintenance does not entail a complete tear-down of the equipment, it can give students or entry-level employees an opportunity to become familiar with equipment they later will take on the full responsibility of operating.