Planned maintenance

Everything you need to know about planned maintenance

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What is planned maintenance?

Planned maintenance refers to any maintenance activity that is planned, documented, and scheduled. The aim of planned maintenance is to reduce downtime by having all necessary resources on hand, such as labour and parts, and a strategy to use these resources.

There are two main types of planned maintenance. The first is planned preventive maintenance, which is scheduled maintenance aimed at repairing assets before they fail. An example would be conducting maintenance on a forklift after every 150 hours of operation.

The second is planned and unscheduled maintenance, which is based on having a strategy in place to repair or replace an asset as quickly as possible when it fails. An example would be planning to have a sufficient number of easily accessible power drills on hand so replacing a broken one is quick and easy for a technician.

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Scheduled maintenance

Scheduled maintenance activities are tasks that are set up to occur ahead of time. They are done so assets can remain functional for as long as possible without any unplanned downtime. Scheduled maintenance is determined by maintenance triggers, including time, usage, event, and condition.

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Advantages of scheduled maintenance

Know what to expect

Planning maintenance in advance allows you to properly allocate resources to the job, so that you have the time, personnel, and tools you need, when you need them.

Manage your calendar

Some scheduled maintenance can be planned years in advance, like changing the tires on an industrial transport vehicle every winter. Other tasks require shorter lead times, such as swapping out air compressors after 100 hours of use. Planning maintenance in advance lets you look ahead in your calendar and see what’s coming up, so you are rarely caught reacting to breakdowns and spreading your resources too thin.

Get work done faster

Planned maintenance allows the maintenance team to focus on efficiency. Technicians can gather all the parts they need, review all best practices and procedures, and shut down the asset safely before starting work. Because all this work has been done beforehand, the actual maintenance can be finished quicker, easier, safer, and more effectively than if an asset goes down unexpectedly.

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Planned unscheduled maintenance

Also known as run-to-failure maintenance, planned but unscheduled maintenance occurs in situations where the maintenance plan for an asset is to wait for it to break.

This approach is typically reserved for assets that have little or no impact on production. Tools, such as power drills and measuring instruments, are a good example. It’s wasteful to preemptively replace these tools, as they inexpensive and are not critical to production. Instead, organizations keep extra tools on hand so they are available when one fails.

This is still considered planned maintenance (rather than reactive) because the assets are tracked and a strategy to repair them is in place when they wear out, instead of being caught off guard by failure.

How to implement planned maintenance

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to implementing planned maintenance. Every facility is different and requires a slightly different approach. However, there are few basic steps maintenance teams can take to build a foundation for planned maintenance success.

Using planned maintenance software

Technology is an important ingredient for implementing planned maintenance. Leveraging planned maintenance software, such as a CMMS, allows you to organize all the resources necessary to plan maintenance, like labour and parts. Planned maintenance software makes it easy to handle schedules, inventory, work orders and reports. This ensure triggers are set up properly, technicians can respond to work quickly, and the right parts are always in stock so maintenance can be completed with little disruption.

Organizing your assets

The first step is to take a survey of your assets and figure out which ones fit into each category of planned maintenance. Remember, there is planned preventive maintenance and planned unscheduled maintenance. Conducting a criticality analysis can help you determine which assets require the most attention and which ones lend themselves to a preventive approach.

Organize your assets quickly with this criticality analysis template

Training and executing the strategy

Planned maintenance requires the entire team to participate and be aware of their responsibilities. It’s crucial to ensure everyone is trained on new technology, processes and procedures. When everyone knows exactly how they fit into a planned maintenance strategy and the resources available to them, it makes implementation much smoother and more effective. If planned maintenance is completely new for your team, consider testing the strategy to help them adjust to a new way of doing things.

Building planned maintenance checklists

Keep an eye on how your planned maintenance strategy is working after it has launched. Planned maintenance checklists help track maintenance KPIs, which can give you a good idea of the program is impacting efficiency at your operation. Identify where the plan is working and where it can be improved. Take advantage of data capture and reporting tools to make insights actionable. When fine-tuning the planned maintenance strategy, consult all stakeholders. Technicians, operators and others can provide unique feedback on tweaking the strategy for optimal results.

The bottom line: the impact of planned maintenance

Planned maintenance is a useful tool for making your maintenance operation more efficient. It guarantees you have the right strategy and resources in place to tackle any kind of maintenance quickly and easily, whether it’s scheduled or not. Implementing planned maintenance will be different for every facility, but some tried and true ways to be successful include organizing your assets, using planned maintenance software, training and executing properly and building planned maintenance checklists. With these tools and methods, your team will spend less time putting out fires and more time looking for opportunities to improve.

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