As a manufacturer should I be thinking about adopting preventive maintenance?

An increasing number of manufacturing businesses now employ preventive (or preventative) maintenance, the term for performing regular maintenance on the key pieces of equipment within their production line to reduce the likelihood it’ll breakdown and disrupt performance.

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As a manufacturer should I be thinking about adopting preventive maintenance?

An increasing number of manufacturing businesses now employ preventive (or preventative) maintenance, the term for performing regular maintenance on the key pieces of equipment within their production line to reduce the likelihood it’ll breakdown and disrupt performance.
In general terms there are 2 preventive maintenance models:
1. Time-based preventive maintenance:  inspections are scheduled at set time-based intervals
2. Usage-based preventive maintenance: inspections are scheduled after a piece of machinery has completed a certain number of cycles, hours or a set distance
And when it comes to choosing which machines could benefit from preventative maintenance the questions a manufacturer will usually ask of themselves will include:
  • Is the equipment critical to successful operation/production?
  • Is the potential failure of the equipment likely to be prevented by more regular maintenance?
  • Is there a likelihood that the potential for failure will increase substantially with time or use?
If you are considering employing preventive maintenance and think that you’d get 2 or even 3 yesses if you asked yourself the questions above about the machinery pivotal to your production line, it may be the right time to consider the potential benefits of preventive maintenance.
The first benefit is cost.
Traditionally manufacturers have been reactive in terms of running repairs; something breaks, you fix it!  The costs of emergency repairs are always going to be higher than smaller, more regular checks.  When you factor in the cost of having to ship in new parts and/or lost production time, manufacturing experts have estimated the cost of remaining reactive could be anything from 3 to 9 times the cost of employing preventive maintenance.
In addition preventative maintenance doesn’t require you to buy in monitoring equipment or study past performance data.  You know the time or usage criteria you need to stick to and all you need to do is make sure the relevant members of staff meet the required maintenance at those points.  Better still, you can make sure those points tally with when you have the time and bodies to conduct the maintenance so you don’t impact on performance.
However, depending on how you manufacture there are a few potential disadvantages you should also consider.
Preventive maintenance requires planning and that in turn requires you to find time and resources to ensure that planning is done and done properly.  And in the early days that planning may not be quite right.  You may find you are doing too much maintenance too often and that will obviously have an impact on costs while you work towards finding the right frequency for your checks.

Making any changes to the way you manufacture can have an impact on your business, your team, the contracts and agreements that support your business and maybe even your premises. As a result we’d always suggest that before you make a major change, you should really talk to a lawyer who understands the manufacturing sector. This is where our specialist manufacturing team can help so if you’d like to talk to us, please email Carys Everitt at carys.everitt@keebles.com or call Carys on 0114 252 1485.

Or if you’d like to find out more about the comprehensive range of legal services Keeble’s dedicated manufacturing team provides for our manufacturing clients please click here.

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