Equipment Maintenance

Maintenance Tip: Implement a Maintenance Schedule—and Stick to It!

The first step in successful preventative maintenance is scheduling and tracking. You wouldn’t drive your car without ever changing the oil or checking the tires, and the equipment in your shop may be worth far more than any car you’ve ever owned.

While a maintenance tracking program is especially important in large shops, where keeping track of what has—and hasn’t—been done can be difficult because of the number of people involved, it’s also wise in small shops, where it can be easy to forget what was done—and when it was done. If you’ve ever missed an important date that you trusted to memory, you know what we mean.

1. Set up a maintenance schedule for every piece of capital equipment in your shop.

Use your owner’s manual to create a matrix of each maintenance task, the dates the maintenance is to be done, and the person responsible. Ideally, this should be created on a spreadsheet, with a copy for signing-off kept at or near the equipment.

2. Assign the task to a specific person, and identify a backup.

Depending on your operation, you may choose to assign certain tasks to the equipment operator, or you may assign someone to do all the maintenance in your shop. Either way, make sure someone is assigned to step in if the primary person is unavailable.

3. Set up clear, concise maintenance procedures and make sure they are understood.

Those procedures should include documenting when the maintenance procedure was completed—and by whom.

4. Follow-up to make sure the procedures are being carried out.

This involves (a) checking the maintenance sign-off sheets (which, ideally, should be input into a spreadsheet or database) and (b) making spot-checks to verify that the maintenance procedures being documented are actually being done. Set aside time every month to check the records and to check some of the equipment. Since some tasks (like cleaning circulation and air-intake blower filters on dryers) should be done daily—usually by the operator—you can simply be on hand at the start of the shift to see if the maintenance is being done.

It’s an old and trite saying, but it’s also a true one: Take care of your equipment and it will take care of you.

Rich Hoffman

About the Author

Rich Hoffman
President and CEO of M&R
Mr. Hoffman has more than 28 years of industry experience.

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