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Starting a service from scratch. What difficulties will the enterprise face?


According to Plant Engineering research, 35% of businesses spend more than 10% of their operating budget to keep equipment running. For another 34%, maintenance costs fluctuate between 5 and 10%.

A competent preventive maintenance program can help reduce this figure. And also – to recoup the investment in organizing the work of the service department. The Jones Lang LaSalle Foundation has estimated the long-term ROI of such investments at 545%.

In this material, we will take a step-by-step look at the process of starting an equipment maintenance service from scratch, talk about the difficulties and optimal solutions for different enterprises.

From denial to acceptance. Saying goodbye to old habits

According to the aforementioned Maintenance Survey 2018, about 50% of respondents still rely on reactive maintenance methods. Not wanting to change old habits, management and specialized professionals deliberately slow down the implementation of promising methods.

It’s all about myths and fears. What investment will be required to build a new service department? Will enterprises be able to cope with current maintenance and repair tasks during the transition period? Do you have enough resources, time and staff competence?

Each of these questions must be answered individually. But as practice shows, the transition is painless if the employees go to meet the changes. And the benefits of proactive maintenance methods outweigh the implementation costs:

– the number of emergency breakdowns and unplanned downtime is reduced;

– the life cycle of valuable assets is extended;

– equipment uptime increases;

– the cost of paying overtime for repairmen is reduced;

– the number of spare parts in warehouses is reduced.

When creating a cost-effective maintenance plan, reactive methods can also come in handy. But only in supporting roles.

Analysis, planning, preparation

Let’s take a look at a few steps to help you create an effective maintenance plan.

Team gathering
Engage the people involved in the business process: management, service technicians, production control specialists, data center and accounting staff. You don’t need input from each of them to build a strategy, but this will build strong feedback.

  • Goal setting

Work with your team to define a pool of tasks to be addressed by the new plan. Reduced operating costs for maintenance? Less downtime and accidents? Maximum equipment performance? Prioritize and start training your team right away.

  • Assets audit

Take an inventory of all equipment that will be included in the plan. Create a database with the following characteristics:

– serial and inventory number

– brand and model

– equipment category

– basic specification

– production capabilities

– expensive asset elements

– location

– responsible department

Assess the current technical condition of the equipment and prioritize the use of the asset. To maintain such a database, you will need a software product that will be able to integrate into the enterprise’s IT system in the future. An example of such a solution would be SmartEAM, which is compatible with other manufacturing management solutions.

  • Examining instructions

Having compiled a list of assets, you need to determine the optimal service mode for each of them. It is important to take into account the manufacturer’s recommendations: study the instructions and warranty conditions for each unit, determine the rationing and create a system for assessing wear.

You can navigate by day, hour or volume of production and calculate everything manually. But the most rational solution is the collection of dynamic data using sensors within the IIoT system.

  • Long-term and short-term scheduling

Define tasks for the year ahead – daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly. Form the schedule according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, edit according to the actual data from the sensors. And do not forget to indicate the approximate time of work and the required level of skills to complete them.

Be prepared that systems will need to accumulate a certain amount of information for accurate forecasting. During the first year, you are guaranteed to have to revise your long-term plan several times.

The short-term work schedule of the maintenance team should, if possible, eliminate unplanned downtime and be flexible enough to take on reactive tasks and study the results of preventive checks.

Mistakes that can be avoided

Some managers have a desire to include all equipment in the MRO plan at once. Should not be doing that. Evaluate the actual performance of your systems and the impact of each asset on meeting your operational goals.

A candidate for inclusion in a cost-effective service plan must meet the following criteria:

– significant costs for repair or replacement;

– long life cycle;

– increased requirements for the time of continuous work;

– key to the success of the enterprise

Obsolete and worn-out elements of the production chain are best left in the reactive model, planning their modernization in the near future.

Another common mistake is poor operator training. Even if you have implemented an effective MRO plan, do not forget to instruct staff on the rules for working with equipment, daily procedures for adjustment, lubrication, cleaning. Train operators to use digital logging tools and motivate them to collect data responsibly. We are sure that this way you will significantly reduce the number of downtime and equipment maintenance costs.

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