Asset maintenance expenses represent an integral part of total operating costs. Although it is crucial that all pieces of equipment are well-maintained and repaired immediately during a breakdown to prevent downtime and loss of income, it is not surprising to know that many efforts are put into cutting these expenditures down.
Reducing maintenance costs, however, does not mean shrinking the budget immediately. Sacrificing the reliability of your equipment in an effort to minimize expenses will impact the quality of your products and services. This will only put your company into more difficulties.
To have safe, functional pieces of machinery, implementing new industry-recommended practices and investing in smart solutions are the way to go.
Cost-Efficient Ways to Manage Assets Better
Below are the six best practices that will help you lower your company’s maintenance management costs:
Invest in asset maintenance management technology
The right technological pieces will improve the efficiency and productivity of your equipment maintenance processes. One of these is cloud-based asset management software.
A computerized maintenance management system or CMMS will enable you to track, manage, and stay on top of the needed repairs and regular servicing of all company-owned equipment. This type of software can be integrated with existing systems to streamline your database and procedures.
A CMMS will help you make efficient schedules for all the maintenance tasks needed for your equipment. It will also allow you to create, track, and store maintenance and service records and expenses. Additionally, it will continuously document operations that are required by regulatory agencies such as OSHA and FDA.
With the data or insights the system provides, you can make smarter, cost-effective decisions in terms of the maintenance and repair requirements of your equipment. This, in turn, will also help optimize the life expectancy and functionality of your assets.
All these will help you save time and money as your employees continue to use all assets for various key business processes.
Review and streamline maintenance procedures
Business processes need to be reviewed and replaced or modified from time to time. Asset maintenance processes are no exception. There will be steps that may no longer be necessary, and new ones that are more efficient.
Pore over the asset maintenance workforce system and check which elements or steps are often skipped by and cause frustration among employees. Look for gaps that are often sources of inefficiencies and frequent incidents as well.
Additionally, have all employees who handle these pieces of equipment review your current system and share their comments, opinions, and experiences.
Next, identify the most critical steps that have to be replaced or modified. Keep these procedures as simple as possible without compromising on safety to keep the equipment in optimum condition and to enable the workers to perform their duties efficiently.
Ensure all key players are involved when establishing new workflow processes so that they also understand the importance and practicalities of these changes. It will also help in removing any obstacles that may suddenly arise.
Set preventive maintenance schedules
Establish a regular maintenance schedule that covers all essential equipment, parts, and accessories. This can be done monthly, quarterly, or yearly. By doing so, you will have a buffer that will allow you to cut down the cost and time needed for repairs, especially in emergency cases.
When creating this schedule, make sure that you choose the best time to perform these maintenance processes. You have to be able to take the asset out of service at a time that it will not affect production.
Creating a maintenance schedule will also give you a good idea of the replacement parts that you will need over the coming months. You can then include these in your budget.
If you have a CMMS system, you will have an easier time making a preventive maintenance schedule and estimating the amount you need to set for the possible replacement parts.
As a final tip, make sure to call only experts for critical repairs and maintenance to be sure that your equipment gets the service it needs.
Allocate time for regular employee training
Even if new hires have previous training handling machinery, it is crucial that they undergo sufficient training and be mentored in operating these before they start working unsupervised.
Aside from the operators, all employees that interact with the equipment need to be fully educated and trained as well. At the very least, they should know the usual signs that indicate a possible breakdown.
Ensure all employees undergo regular retraining and additional training whenever a new feature is installed in the equipment or a step in operating it is introduced.
Train all employees to be familiar with the different CMMS functions as well. They should know how to use the system so that they can report possible issues with the equipment and request for immediate repair or servicing.
Use all assets properly
Even if all machines are regularly maintained, they will still be prone to breakdowns if they are not used correctly.
During their training courses, employees should understand the critical role of the equipment they will be handling in the business or production process.
From the start, these machines should only be used for the purpose for which they were designed. They should not be utilized beyond the recommended lifespan or operational parameters.
If they are overused or overworked, their ability to work efficiently will be affected, which will result in frequent breakdowns and costly repairs.
Purchase extended warranties
Lastly, when buying new equipment or replacement parts, ensure they come with insurance plans, guarantees, and extended warranties.
With such features or add-ons, you will save more on repairs and replacements. You may even get them for free if the warranty or insurance covers the machine’s issue at hand. Because of this, it will bring down maintenance costs significantly.
However, investing in insurance or extended warranties can be expensive. As such, get coverage only for the most costly or critical equipment or components you have or will need.
If your company depends on the optimum functionality of various pieces of equipment, implement the best practices listed above to keep your business going. It will also allow you to reduce costs in maintaining these valuable assets, yet still enable your workers to use them safely to do their work.
Tendai Makuwaza, Customer Success Manager at SGE.