Steve Ninnes, CEO and Founder of MEX says that growing business confidence in the post-GFC period may lead companies to be complacent about their asset maintenance programs.
As businesses move from an asset consolidation phase characteristic of difficult times into an asset acquisition phase, it will be even more imperative for management to continue the cost-containment measures they readily embraced during the GFC period.
An effective asset maintenance process is a key part of these measures. While improved asset maintenance systems are adopted early when business conditions deteriorate, these programs are often the first measures to slide as business conditions improve.
As market demand returns, companies can be distracted from containing costs by growing revenues. As new priorities emerge, the benefits of a bona fide asset maintenance system are at risk of being forgotten.
Computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS) are an innovative way that many engineering and manufacturing businesses embed best practice asset management into their processes.
Key advantages of CMMS
- Helps users increase their efficiency in maintaining assets by:
- Recording preventative maintenance
- Maintaining work order data and scheduling
- Monitoring labour productivity
- Reducing equipment downtime
- Preventative maintenance saves engineering and manufacturing companies millions of dollars a year through simple preventative work
- Allows companies to continuously monitor their assets to ensure high standards of operation
The CMMS process
Usually managed by the maintenance department, regular inspections are an integral part of preventative maintenance programs and are designed to determine the current condition of machinery, infrastructure, inventory and other assets.
This data is then entered into a CMMS, informing facilities managers about assets they own and manage, the work that needs to be done and has been done on an asset as well as information on manpower usage, spare parts, costs and failures of an asset.
Simplicity is a key aspect of an efficient inspection program and ideally should be performed on a handheld unit to minimise paperwork and double handling.
With unique advances in mobile technologies, asset intensive companies are now more equipped than ever to design a quick and efficient inspection procedure that better manages their assets and inventory.
Developing a cost-saving, efficient preventative maintenance strategy depends upon two factors:
- Mining quality and accurate data
- Management buy-in
Mining quality and accurate data
Accuracy of data determines the efficiency of the asset maintenance program.
Every person has a different perception of an asset and its performance. It is important to remove ambiguous criteria from inspection reports.
While auditing assets, specific questions in the inspection report ensure that the opinion of the inspecting person is avoided. The inspection focuses on answering the same specific questions each and every time the same asset is inspected.
Ambiguity then disappears in the asset inspection and the quality of data received increases remarkably, which in turn can be converted into useful information.
Information is only useful if acted upon.
If asset inspection is treated by management as an administrative exercise, preventative maintenance will cease to be a strategic and valuable forward-planning tool. It also leads to complacency among the staff.
Securing management buy-in and training the staff to produce quality and accurate inspection data allows companies to integrate routine inspection results with preventative maintenance work.
This also allows for transparency and benchmarking so that the data recorded is properly reviewed, trends identified, and long-term improvements sought.
Integrating the right preventative maintenance management strategies through CMMS solutions will help drive profits in manufacturing and engineering companies ensuring efficient use of their assets in good times or bad.