How to Optimize Your Maintenance Schedules & Processes to Save You Time, Money, and Energy

Date Posted: November 9, 2018
How to Optimize Your Maintenance Schedules & Processes to Save You Time, Money, and Energy

“Time is money.” We all know that proverb.

In no department is this truer than in maintenance.

Maintenance is one of the most important, yet most overburdened departments and functions regardless of the industry you’re in.

And with the more facilities you add to the mix, the more assets you need to track, and the more employees you have on board, the more complicated things become.

Thankfully, with today’s technology and insights gathered from years of research, there are key steps you can take to optimize your maintenance schedules and processes to save you time, money, and energy.

These include:

Metrics, metrics, metrics.

Metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) are important components of any business and play a strong role in maintenance departments.

Common KPIs for maintenance departments can include:

  • Annual labor cost per device
  • Average number of days each work order is past due
  • Average number of labor hours to complete a maintenance task
  • Equipment unavailability, hours per year – Unplanned maintenance
  • Maintenance backlog
  • Maintenance cost as a percentage of manufacturing cost
  • Mean time to repair
  • Number of pending work orders
  • Percentage of man-hours used for proactive work

You can use metrics to set budgets, forecast possible future spend, track trends, identify problem areas, and identify areas for improvement.

List all your assets.

Depending on who you ask, “assets” can have varied definitions, but in this case, we’re talking about the equipment in the facility (or facilities) where you work and perform maintenance.

Building an accurate list of all your equipment is a must for maintenance departments – especially multisite organizations – but one that often falls to the wayside.

Maintaining an easily-accessible and up-to-date equipment list is an excellent way to aid your department and optimize your operations.

Manage your assets based on how critical they are.

Once you have your list of assets, there are different ways you can evaluate them in terms of their criticality to determine where to spend your time and money – and when – on your different equipment.

In an article about managing assets by criticality, author Darrin Wikoff explains a specific method to evaluate the criticality of your equipment: a criticality analysis model.

To do so, he advises that maintenance teams should first determine what parameters to use to evaluate the criticality of an asset.

Some that Wikoff highlights include:

  • Ability to isolate single-point-failures
  • Asset replacement value
  • Corrective maintenance (CM) history
  • Mean time between failures (MTBF) or “reliability”
  • Mission and customer impact
  • Planned utilization rate
  • Preventive maintenance (PM) history
  • Probability of failure
  • Safety and environmental impact

After you define your criticality parameters, you can then weigh them using a scale from 0-10 based on how important they are to your organization, keeping your limit to 100. Then you will know which assets are the most critical (and why) and which are higher priorities.

This critical asset analysis model will help you to ensure that certain equipment and processes take precedence over others and consequently, prove to be a useful tool for making your maintenance schedules.

Make deliberate and logical lists of maintenance tasks.

A great way to maximize the productivity of your team is to take your basic maintenance checklist or maintenance schedule and put every task in a logical order. Evaluate each task by its importance, by how long it takes, and when you should do it, and then use this to make your list.

It’s essentially taking your schedule and making it less random and more strategic instead. You will be able to provide your maintenance team with an easy-to-follow list that will expedite the tasks included and give wiggle room if trouble should arise.

Go to the cloud and monitor your equipment in real-time.

We all know how frustrating it can be to have your equipment fail when you’re off-site or it’s off-hours and you don’t find out about it until it’s too late.  Maintenance emergencies are a real – and often quite costly – thing.

Switching to a cloud-based application and monitoring system like our HiQ eSystem Access System can solve this problem, however. By using a cloud-based system, you save you time, money, and energy and monitor your assets in real-time.

Instead of having to physically drive to your facility and check on the equipment yourself or try to divert one of your employee’s time from their already important tasks, you can easily just access your data wherever you are using your phone, tablet, or computer.

Eliminate human errors during the logging process.

“To err is human,” the English poet Alexander Pope once wrote. This is true. But “errs” cost money – sometimes thousands of dollars – and can even harm people’s lives.

Systems like the HiQ eSystem are designed to prevent this from happening. You can eliminate manual tasks and prevent human errors with automated asset management solutions.

Moreover, your employees can spend time on more rewarding and important tasks, and you can ensure accurate bookkeeping for compliance with government mandates.

Align your preventative maintenance tasks with the original equipment manufacturer’s recommendations.

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will usually provide you with a list of recommended tasks and frequency of tasks to maintain their equipment. When you’re completing preventative maintenance tasks, a good rule of thumb is to follow what the OEMs advise – at least as a starting point.

If you start to notice or are alerted to any trends or equipment malfunctions, you can modify your preventative tasks as needed. (Environmental sensors like our GlacierStorm, and Volcano can help with these notifications!)

These are just some of the many ways that you can optimize your maintenance schedules and processes to save time, money, and energy. For more information about improving your maintenance operations, get in touch today! We would love to hear from you.