Once it’s decided to implement a new or improve an existing program, many asset managers are at a loss for where to begin. It doesn’t have to be a hassle or headache. Rather, simply following a few tips and approaching the process with thought and planning will ensure the desired end results are achieved.
Each operation will have its own variables dependent on each machine’s application, servicing facilities, service people and site management practices. Before developing a new program or improving an existing one, it will be beneficial to gather and review all information and documentation regarding the current PM practices.
In the event no official documentation exists, it must be created. The manager in charge should meet with the appropriate team members, including those who are actually performing PM tasks, to determine what is actually being accomplished vs. perceptions of what is being accomplished. Once this information has been organized, it can be used as the basis for a world-class program.
PARTICULAR PM PRACTICES
In order to be effective, PM practices must be developed for each machine model and each machine application. Using one set standard across machine models and applications may result in over-servicing or under-servicing a machine, both of which may be detrimental to the equipment and its associated maintenance cost.
As a starting point, managers should look to the equipment manufacturer’s guidelines. Most major manufacturers have developed and documented inspection programs for various intervals on their machines. The inspections are based on average machine applications, and assume proper operation and the use of fluids and filters that meet or exceed manufacturer recommendations.
After looking at individual manufacturer guidelines, the next step is to look at hour intervals. These are generally established as eight hours per day, five days per week and 176 hours per month, and generally repeat every 2,000 hours. The manufacturer’s criteria must be considered as a starting point and modified to fit each application and circumstances in order to be effective.
The intervals that are selected and established for each individual operation must be designed to the company’s machines, specifications, policies and a host of other variables.
DEDICATED POINT PERSON
When the PM program has been clearly defined, the final step — aside from actual execution — is to establish the point person for implementation. Whether it’s an appointed technician, the shop foreman or the asset manager, tasking one person with implementation and follow through ensures the program won’t fall off or become nothing more than a manual that ends up at the bottom of a desk drawer.
Technology has made it easier to ensure PM programs are successful. Telematics allows precise monitoring and delivers real-time data even when the machine and fleet manager are out in the field. It’s all in how much the fleet manager chooses to utilize the technology and delegate tasks.
The value of a strong, proactive PM program can’t be overstated. From excessive and unnecessary repairs, to added costs from lost productivity when a machine goes down, PM is one of the most important investments an asset manager can make in his or her fleet. With a small up-front time investment and ongoing commitment, any asset manager can implement a PM program, or take a current one from average to world class.