In the manufacturing business, unexpected equipment costs can chisel away at your budget. Whether you own or lease your assets, they require upkeep in the form of repairs, spare parts, and periodic maintenance.
Well-oiled machines keep production running smoothly. If your gear is out of order, you could be forced to outsource production, downscale manufacturing or try manufacturing management software. Your machines are the driving force of revenue: they build, process, and even haul your product. That’s a good reason to keep them in excellent condition.
Manufacturers traditionally subscribe to reactive maintenance. However, the practice of chasing down problems long after they’ve occurred incurs downtime and additional costs from lost production. Take the following scenario for example:
Your team finds a machine that isn’t working as it should. You put in a request for maintenance and eventually a technician identifies a broken part. In the worst case scenario, your machine must be taken offline, drawing out expensive downtime while you wait for a replacement. Not only are you are losing money, but the holdup in production can result in delivery delays and unhappy clients.
Benefits of Proactive Maintenance
When you manage assets proactively, you can prevent problems before they arise. Research by Caterpillar revealed that a proactive approach to record keeping and repairs increases profits by ten percent.
Conventional supervisors are forced to wade through mountains of maintenance paperwork, using calendar reminders to arrange inspections. They create complicated spreadsheets and keep paper records but rarely see significant improvement. Even if they finally get ahead of their maintenance backlog, they probably never see a 10% increase in their bottom line.
The reactive method is chaotic. You can’t guarantee that managers and technicians know when a machine is due for service or when a warranty will expire. Once warranties expire, you could face price hikes to repair and replace parts or be forced to lease new machines altogether.
It’s increasingly clear that paper records prevent you from taking quick action. With slow-to-react spreadsheets, proactive steps to improving asset management are always an arm’s length away. Simply put, paper can’t move at the speed of industry.
It’s easier to demonstrate compliance with safety guidelines like ISO standards when you document asset management digitally. You are also more likely to have a warranty or insurance claim accepted if your assets are well-maintained.. If you check your machines on a frequent enough basis, you reduce the risks and costs to your company.
Machine operators benefit from a safer environment with proactive maintenance. A reliable machine is a safe one, and when your gear is well-tuned, it lowers the risk of health and safety incidents. As workplace safety improves, everyone experiences the benefits– staff, managers, customers, and owners alike. Machines enjoy longer lifetimes under proactive maintenance. Problems and repairs can be identified long before there is unexpected downtime due to machines going offline.
Three essential elements to tracking warranties and maintenance are:
#1: Collecting your data in one system
#2: Giving team members access to mobile workflows
#3: Overseeing asset management and maintenance
#1: Collect your data in one system
Manufacturers have three main options when it comes to asset management, safety, and quality control software:
- Off-the-shelf. Usually these platforms are Software as a Service (SaaS) products that you can’t customize, sometimes connect with databases and manufacturers’ data, and are often more challenging to roll out than companies expect.
- In-house. This method requires planning and building your system. Often expensive and time-consuming to create, 43% of these internal projects under-deliver, go over-budget, and can’t easily scale to support other departments.
- With this option, you get a powerful, highly customizable approach that is tailored to your needs. Form.com is a flexible platform that offers more features than the standard off-the-shelf solutions without the high price tag of an in-house custom build.
Once you settle on an option, make sure you connect legacy systems, spreadsheets, and manufacturing data systems into the back end of your software. Your team needs to know when machines are due for maintenance, when compliance inspections are required, and when warranties are about to expire.
#2: Give team members access to mobile workflows
Involve your team members in the process to ensure the system fulfills their needs. Ask what features they think would make their jobs easier. Find out what has been attempted in the past and why those approaches didn’t work.
Once your system is online, give managers, technicians and operators responsibility for the relevant machines. Establish proactive inspection and maintenance schedules according to the manufacturers’ recommendations and any legislative requirements.
#3: Oversee asset management and maintenance
With those pieces in place, you need to ensure the system you have implemented works. With the right asset management software, you can quickly and reliably see when inspections are done, who is checking machines and who isn’t, and if there have been any safety or compliance issues. Enable your team to see the benefits of the proactive approach– for them, the machinery and the company.