Preventive maintenance is critical to any business that relies on equipment to function. From production line machinery to HVAC systems, preventative maintenance practices can benefit manufacturers, schools, medical facilities, large corporations, etc., as each relies on equipment that is essential to operations.
The use of innovations like computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) has made preventive maintenance easier to track. These applications have helped organizations perform maintenance tasks in a more timely manner, increasing equipment efficiency while prolonging shelf-life. By spending less on repairs or replacement of equipment, businesses can maximize profits.
What is Preventive Maintenance?
As stated, the purpose of preventive maintenance practices is to keep a facility’s operational assets in an optimal condition to forestall breakdowns resulting in downtime. Besides enhancing the efficiency of essential operational machinery, preventive maintenance prolongs equipment life.
In the past, technicians created and update paper records to keep track of maintenance activities. This process was time-consuming and prone to errors, plus there was always the risk of maintenance worksheets getting lost or being destroyed. Reports to help management with decision-making were not available on-demand and often lacked accuracy. It was only a matter of time before software-based solutions for maintenance tracking would be developed.
The idea of keeping preventive maintenance processes and statistics and reports they generate separate from the rest of operational activities is being phased out. More and more industries are seeing the value in sharing information between these essential aspects of operation. Trying to improve the efficiency of one without addressing the other will result in avoidable duplication. Management teams today are leaning toward harmonizing information between operations and preventive maintenance.
Another emerging trend is the increased use of preventive maintenance cloud-based software instead of stand-alone systems with local servers. You can now connect to an advanced maintenance system that collects information from all of your equipment and sends it to a database hosted in the cloud in real-time via wireless sensors. Based on the data collated, these more advanced systems send your mechanics alerts on critical events. In the same way, management can generate reports on demand based on live data. These systems, along with simplified versions or products, also aid in setting maintenance schedules.
Instead of purchasing the system as a package with a one-off payment, you pay for it as a subscription service. If you’ve heard of the term Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), this term refers to such platforms. Such payment structures make preventive maintenance more affordable, especially for startups and smaller businesses.
In addition to event alerts, SaaS preventative maintenance systems create customized predictive maintenance schedules based on data collected over time. This automation offers even higher efficiency in terms of ensuring your equipment is in optimal condition.
The future of preventive maintenance is predictive maintenance. Instead of receiving a reminder a few hours prior, your maintenance system will give you a notification well before any signs of degradation, forecasting that a particular component will begin malfunctioning. If a required part needs to be ordered, your company will have ample time to do so. Even better, you won’t need to ambush your finance team with a last-minute request that will disrupt their budgeting.
With this, the possibility of operations shutting down while waiting for faulty components to be identified and replaced will be greatly reduced. This efficiency will ensure manufacturers can supply customers with a steady supply of products, hospitals don’t have to turn away patients, schools don’t have to cancel classes, and so on. This prime example of how predictive maintenance, powered by machine learning algorithms and predictive analytics, can help you retain and grow your clientele.
Another innovation scientists are refining is self-repairing machinery. After predicting upcoming repairs, your equipment will be able to resolve faults by itself using embedded materials. Your company won’t need a mechanic to conduct the servicing operation.
Get On Board the Technology Bandwagon
Becoming an early adopter of these futuristic maintenance technologies is a good idea. They have the potential to save you a lot of money by helping you avoid catastrophic failures that will be expensive to repair. They will also help you forestall any potential loss in revenue due to stalled production. You may also be able to delegate productivity more efficiently in the equipment maintenance department.