By Bryan Christiansen
Having the right maintenance program means ensuring your equipment runs with minimal unexpected problems, without spending too much of your resources on upkeep activities.
Even in the construction industry, it is not always apparent what type of maintenance program you should be running.
The cost of downtime in the construction industry can be very high. What is even worse is the damage this can do to your reputation.
To ensure that you are able to keep your operation running, you need to have a strong maintenance program. However, the actual form of that program may vary considerably.
While it is clear there is a need to employ some form of strategy, it is not always clear which one better covers your current business needs.
Reactive maintenance is defined by the notion of fixing or simply replacing a unit when it fails.
It always leads to the possibility of abrupt failures which may halt production until the equipment is either fixed or replaced, and if you are running heavy equipment, it may be unusable for some time, effectively stopping production.
While reactive is easy to setup, the cost is a large spike of expensive work that interrupts production and leaves you exposed to the problems mentioned in the introduction.
Reactive maintenance programs work best on low-cost and easy to replace items and is not really recommended as a program on heavy and complex machinery.
Performing regular maintenance on your equipment to ensure that you catch any failures before they happen is known as preventive maintenance.
Heavy industries traditionally run large and complex machinery with a variety of failure modes. The ethos of preventive maintenance means that all of those potential failure types need to be taken into account and catered for, through either routine servicing or specialist programs.
Running a preventive maintenance program helps in keeping your machinery at peak efficiency, increasing both lifespan and the safety of your construction site.
While the preventive approach will also ensure failures are a minimum once the initial setup phase has been completed, you should always look to optimize your preventive maintenance schedule, so you are not wasting your resources doing unnecessary inspections and preventive work.
A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) may be really helpful for creating and running a balanced preventive maintenance strategy.
Usually based on a software package, predictive maintenance analyses a number of factors — like sensor data — to suggest when parts are likely to fail, allowing the maintenance team to address it in a just-in-time way.
This is even easier if you have implemented a CMMS because all of the information can be fed into the system that will alert you whenever the preventive work is needed.
Predictive maintenance brings the same benefits as preventive maintenance and adds the ability to perfectly optimize the schedule of your maintenance team.
All of those benefits do come at a cost.
Predictive also requires a medium to large capital investment and some time for a proper setup, before you can see any real results.
The complexity of heavy equipment lends itself to planning and execution through the use of CMMS, so that the myriad of failure modes are taken into account and their potential failure identified and addressed.
All programs are a major cost to a company and if you choose to run a proactive strategy, CMMS software will be able to make it much easier to run a coherent program that is right for your company and ensures that your equipment is treated in the most effective way.
Bryan Christiansen is founder and CEO at Limble CMMS, a mobile first, modern, CMMS software that helps managers organize, automate and streamline their operations.