Maintenance professionals deal with many different challenges and issues on a daily basis. One of the major concerns they face – regardless of the industry – is improving machine availability and eliminating unexpected breakdowns.

So far, together with the regular maintenance routines, predictive maintenance (PdM),shows the best potential to drastically lower maintenance inefficiencies, especially by minimizing equipment failures and improving operational efficiency.

Some businesses believe  that deploying a predictive maintenance software and placing a few required sensors, is enough to run an effective predictive maintenance program.

But when looking to see proper ROI, it isn’t enough. There’s a need to learn how to effectively and systematically use the tools and resources at your disposal.  

So, the question is, how do you establish a sustainable routine for success?

Below, we listed the key steps to follow after PdM implementation to ensure long-term success.

How To Successfully Manage and Implement a Predictive Maintenance Program

A proactive and a well-structured work management process is one of the best guarantees an organization can have that all its PdM implementation efforts will not end up in vain.

The process:

Step 1: Maintenance Work Planning

Typically, planning maintenance work starts with a long list of various tasks requiring attention. Under a PdM setup, these tasks have arisen mostly from the alerts and notifications coming from the system.

What planners have to do next is map out the specifics of what is to be done, how to do it, and the estimated time to complete each task.

Maintenance work planning best practices include:

  • Job outline

Have a process in place that identifies incoming work and provides clear details of what needs to be done. Of course, there must be a robust documenting system to track everything in your PdM such as inspection reports, readings, alerts, and so on.

In predictive maintenance, the alerts, and notifications generated through condition-based monitoring form the basis for new jobs.

For instance, there may be a notification from a sensor notifying that the vibrations from a certain pump are too high. A technician will then inspect the motor and determine the extent of intervention required (repair or replacement) and document this. Note, that for more complex tasks, the technician would have to refer to his supervisor to agree on the most efficient and safest way to perform the work at hand.

  • Work estimation

Work must be thoroughly scoped to ensure that it will be executed in the most cost-effective and safest manner.

To achieve this, all information regarding the task should be clear, and the process must allow room for further clarifications if need. A lot can go wrong here, which is why it’s essential that even though this maintenance strategy relies heavily on technology, there must be human input at this stage, especially for complex tasks. Check for any special conditions, regulations, safety constraints, etc and other additional requirements before moving on to generate a work order.

  • Job resource allocation

When planning for work, the final decision about when it will happen will largely depend on when all the resources would be available. These resources vary, but will include labor, spare parts, tools, funds, and so on.

Planning for safety is also vital and should never be overlooked. All required kits and PPE should be arranged well in advance.

  • Backlog management

Backlog can be a frustrating issue that maintenance managers can relate with.

Typically, lagging jobs have issues such as high costs, parts availability, and priority.

In such cases, monitor the list of overdue jobs regularly and reschedule them to happen as soon as appropriate.

  • Continuous training

Create a schedule for continuous training of the maintenance team. At inception, you’ll need the services of your PdM solution provider to help analyze the data.  with time, skilled technicians can be trained to handle the day-to-day use of the technology.

Once all the above are sorted, the next step is scheduling the work.

Step 2: Maintenance Work Scheduling

The principle behind predictive maintenance is that it allows convenient scheduling of corrective work just ahead of equipment failure. To deliver that, it must provide its users with the right information, with enough time to take corrective action.

After isolating the issue with the asset and identifying the actions that need to be taken, the technicians can proceed to proactively schedule the repair task within the

mean time between failure (MTBF) before a breakdown occurs.

Ideally,this is done using CMMS and in fact, most modern CMMS can trigger a work order when the assets’ working conditions exceed the normal limits. This allows users to view and manage everything in one central location.

Predictive Maintenance ProgramFollow these steps to ensure that your maintenance schedule is effective:

  • Prioritize work focusing on the most critical equipment first.
  • Determine which member of the maintenance team is to do what. For complex, specialized, or sensitive tasks, assign only workers with the proven skills to complete the task.
  • See that information is communicated promptly within the group. To optimize internal communication, set up mobile-enabled CMMS so everyone can receive notifications on the go.
  • Compliance is critical for success, and so the schedule should become a normal part of daily operations in the facility.

The benefits of a well-organized and monitored maintenance schedule are numerous and they include better safety performance, less downtime, and longer asset lifespan.

Step 3: Work Execution

This is the final step in the process – this is where servicing, repairs or replacement are done.

Aside from using competent personnel for each task, it’s important to make available  the supporting technologies that are required for every stage of the work process to be completed as scheduled. For example, the staff may require instructions to be sent from another location. In such cases, they need wireless remote monitoring or internet-enabled devices (e.g. smartphone and tablet).

While the job is ongoing, it’s important to monitor its progress until completion because the ROI for all this planning, scheduling, and resource allocation is lost if the work is never delivered.

Once the job is completed, test run the machine and bring it back into service.

Final Thoughts

Although predictive maintenance can improve the way you manage your assets, paying attention to what comes after implementation will ensure all your efforts and resources are not wasted.

Note,  that it’s best to introduce a predictive maintenance program into the organization gradually, you can start with one or two pilot assets and let your team get accustomed to changes in the workflow.

By doing so, you can observe any teething problems in the process and correct them before you make a complete organization-wide switch to predictive maintenance.

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Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO at Limble CMMS. Limble is a modern, easy to use mobile CMMS software that takes the stress and chaos out of maintenance by helping managers organize, automate, and streamline their maintenance operations.