Is your industrial plant or manufacturing operation struggling with unexpected equipment breakdowns and lost production time? A maintenance plan, also called a preventive maintenance plan or PM schedule, can be a valuable tool for project management. These plans help reduce or even eliminate the need for reactive maintenance and unexpected downtime, avoiding the situation where machines are run until they break.

Maintenance plans also contribute to increased productivity by offering advantages across different areas of a company. This includes the facility management team and the technicians who carry out any type of maintenance strategy.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at maintenance plans, explore their benefits, and discuss how to put them into practice in your operation.

What is a Maintenance Plan?

Think of a maintenance plan as a roadmap for keeping things in good shape at your facility. It outlines the tasks needed to care for your equipment and helps ensure it runs smoothly for a longer time. By following a plan, you can avoid unexpected breakdowns and the need for major repairs.

Having an effective maintenance plan helps you keep your equipment working well for longer. While a basic plan can be helpful, a well-designed plan will get the most out of your maintenance efforts.

What Makes a Good Maintenance Plan?

A well-organized maintenance plan should cover all the important aspects of running your equipment smoothly. This includes having a complete list of everything you need to maintain in your facility, like boilers, pumps, and roofs. This list helps ensure you don’t miss anything important.

The plan should also outline the specific tasks you plan to do for each piece of equipment. Whenever possible, try to match these tasks to the specific equipment they apply to. A clear schedule for these tasks will help guide your entire maintenance program.

To keep your equipment in top shape, it’s important to consider the skills needed for each maintenance job. You wouldn’t want someone without the right skills working on your equipment. Thinking about the different levels of maintenance (preventive, corrective, etc.) can help you figure out the skills needed for each task.

When Does a Maintenance Plan Come in Useful?

Many things benefit from having a maintenance plan. Maintenance isn’t just about fixing things that break or replacing worn-out parts. It also involves regular check-ups to prevent problems from happening in the first place. Maintenance plans are used in many fields, and here are three common areas:

  • Buildings and Facilities: This includes things like water systems, heating and cooling, plumbing, electrical work, and painting. It can also involve landscaping, cleaning, and fire safety equipment.
  • Machinery: This covers keeping machines running smoothly in places like factories, hospitals, construction sites, and labs. It also applies to vehicles like cars and airplanes.
  • Electrical Systems: This involves maintaining the equipment that supplies electricity to buildings, whether homes, businesses, or factories. Think of things like lights, fans, generators, and electrical wiring.

Getting Started with A Maintenance Plan

Here are some key things to consider when building a solid maintenance plan:

  1. Team: A reliable team is crucial for a successful plan. If possible, dedicate a team with the right skills for different maintenance tasks. The size of your team will depend on your organization and its maintenance needs.
  2. Scope: Clearly define what your plan is for and which areas it covers. This includes prioritizing tasks and figuring out the order in which things need to be done, along with the skills needed for each job.
  3. Work Instructions: Having clear instructions helps ensure tasks are completed efficiently and correctly, while also reducing reliance on others.
  4. Schedule: Scheduling is important for a smooth-running maintenance plan. Consider factors like task priority, resource availability, and the schedules of both your operations and maintenance teams.
  5. Tools & Materials: Think about the tools, spare parts, and other supplies needed for maintenance tasks.
  6. Contractors: Some tasks might require outside specialists or contractors. A good plan should include work order details, contractor information (like the company name and their estimated costs), and any other information your management needs.

Step By Step Guide to An Effective Maintenance Program

Step 1: Submit a Work Request

When you need maintenance work done, start by submitting a work request. This request should provide some details about the issue, including:

  • What needs fixing (e.g., equipment malfunction, leak)
  • When the problem started (if applicable)
  • Where the problem is located
  • How likely the problem is to worsen
  • Any suggested actions to take temporarily
  • Potential risks involved if the issue isn’t addressed

Step 2: Review the Request and Plan the Work

Once a work request is submitted, someone will review it to understand the problem. They’ll then create a work order that details what needs to be done. This work order will typically include the following:

  • The necessary tools and resources
  • Whether any outsourcing might be required
  • Any specific requirements for the job

Step 3: Draft a Schedule

After reviewing the resources needed, a draft schedule is created. This schedule prioritizes the work orders based on importance. When creating the schedule, it’s helpful to group similar jobs together (e.g., work on the same equipment or area) to keep the maintenance crew efficient.

Step 4: Discuss and Finalize the Schedule

The draft schedule is then discussed with relevant teams, especially those who might be impacted by the maintenance work. Once everyone agrees on the final schedule, it’s typically documented and shared with the rest of the business to keep everyone informed about the planned work.

Step 5: Carrying Out Maintenance Tasks

Once the maintenance schedule is finalized, it’s shared with the maintenance teams. As they complete their assigned tasks, it’s helpful for them to keep a simple log of the time spent on each job. Additionally, any technical observations or insights they have after finishing the work can be recorded. This information is then used to improve equipment performance and make adjustments to future maintenance plans and schedules.

When To Evaluate Maintenance Plan?

Unsatisfactory Customer Service

Happy customers mean a smooth-running department! As a maintenance manager, keeping an eye on customer satisfaction is important. If people feel their requests are handled promptly and efficiently, they’ll be happy. But if not, it’s time to investigate.

Regularly check if your team listens to customer needs, handles requests well, and tracks complaints. Discuss these points at meetings to see how you’re doing and identify areas for improvement. Strong customer service is the foundation of a great maintenance team!

Plan Cannot Benefit From Technology

If you cannot take advantage of or incorporate the latest technology, then your technicians won’t be as effective as they can be. If they are unable to send work orders or receive maintenance work requests and updates via mail or text, it’s time for CMMS to step in. If the technicians can access work orders in the field, they will make fewer mistakes, save a lot of time and have a faster turn-around.

The facility maintenance software has a lot of features that can be integrated seamlessly with the current and existing technology to manage the facility effectively. For example, you can keep track of maintenance inventory & supplies and also track inventory costs as it is one of the significant sources of maintenance department expenses.

Rising Maintenance Budget Without a Reason

You must be able to reduce expenses in a maintenance budget to achieve profitability. However, if you see the maintenance expenses shoot up without adding any more assets to maintain, it is a matter of concern. Study the final numbers and determine what’s causing the increased costs. If you are overstretched, create a strategy for cost reduction.

Cannot Track Actual Costs and Labor Hours

If you manage a large maintenance department, you might have hundreds of work orders coming in each month. This will make it challenging to track material and labor overruns and you may experience budget issues. Implementing computerized maintenance management systems will help you track cost and labor overruns. Moreover, it will allow you to keep tabs on the duration of maintenance tasks. If it’s taking longer than what the actual work order requires, it raises a red flag.

Deteriorating Maintenance Plan Health

You want to create a maintenance plan that has optimal performance, but if the plan’s health and performance are constantly deteriorating, it is a sign to bring in CMMS. There may be certain design issues or the implemented plan may not meet its goals, all of which indicate that a new maintenance plan is due.

Premature or Unexpected Equipment Failure

Every piece of equipment has an approximate replacement date but if you find yourself replacing parts earlier than expected or there are premature equipment failures, it is time to review your plan. You may need to change the audit work procedure and look at the history reports for failure and repairs. Don’t even think of doing it manually as it will be extremely challenging and time-consuming. Asset management software can help you conduct regular audits and get the kind of information you need.

How NEXGEN Can Help With Seamless Maintenance?

NEXGEN’s CMMS software offers a mobile app for real-time maintenance visibility, automatic calculation of key metrics (MTBF, MTTR), and automatic inventory management. It simplifies creating PM schedules and automatically generates work orders when needed.

Your team gets full control over machine health, maintenance tasks, and safety protocols. Plus, you can monitor inventory levels, maintenance costs, and equipment criticality – all from a single platform.

NEXGEN lets you create, automate, customize, assign, and track work orders remotely and in real-time.

Ready to see how NEXGEN revolutionizes maintenance management?