Minimize Downtime: How to Reduce Equipment Malfunctions and Breakdowns

The rate of error and failure increases naturally as the age of a piece of equipment grows. When your machinery and tools start breaking down and malfunctioning, your only options are repairing them, using spare parts, or purchasing brand new replacements.

However, given the increased failure rate equipment experiences with age, it’s financially inadvisable to repair equipment continuously. Not to mention, the pause in business operations out-of-order equipment causes can harm your revenue. Instead, you should create and rely on a preventative maintenance strategy that suits your facility. That way, you can limit breakdowns to a minimum and mitigate damages and facility downtime.

Audit Your Facility

Before implementing any new approach, especially one as deeply involved as preventative maintenance, you must audit your facility. Thoroughly review and inspect your facility’s equipment, machinery, and assets to understand your situation. By knowing what type of machinery you have and how often they need maintenance, spare parts, or complete replacements, you can find regular contractors and technicians to help you with routine maintenance and emergency repairs.

Auditing your facility also allows you to set more realistic plans for scaling up production and purchasing additional equipment and machinery. If you understand your current assets’ capacity, you are more likely to make the right choice when purchasing new equipment and how they fit in with your maintenance plans.

Review Repair Logs

Carefully study and analyze previous repair logs. Look for any machines that require too much or too little maintenance and consider replacements. You can also use logs to find gaps in your maintenance and locate the sweet spot for when to conduct routine maintenance, resulting in as few breakdowns and unplanned downtime as possible.

While both the analysis and regular maintenance might seem like added expenses, they’re investments that pay for themselves in the long run when you rarely have unplanned downtime, and your machinery lasts longer.

Embrace Preventative Maintenance

Emergency repairs are one of the leading causes for unplanned downtime and emergency repair, which can take a toll on your schedule as a facility manager. The only way around this is implementing preventative maintenance early on. By regularly inspecting and repairing minor aspects of your assets, you’ll be able to avoid disastrous results. It’s more time and cost-efficient to take care of and repair your existing machinery instead of replacing them entirely.

Depending on your facility’s size, setting up a preventive maintenance schedule by hand might be nearly impossible. For such scenarios, implement preventive maintenance scheduling software to automatically coordinate utility and machine servicing, prevent redundancies, and lower overall costs.

Get your Team up to Speed

Another cause for frequent yet unplanned downtime and machinery malfunction is misuse. Make sure your staff knows how to use all machinery and tools in your facility properly. A critical step that most company leaders miss out on is proper and up-to-date staff training sessions.

If your team is adequately trained and informed on properly using your machinery according to the latest industry standards, your facility will likely experience fewer maintenance issues. Not to mention, a trained staff member’s expertise and foresight allow them to predict and foresee issues in advance, practicing preventive maintenance before the machinery in question breaks down.

Hold frequent coaching sessions with your team members to ensure they understand proper equipment and utility protocols. Train your most experienced staff members first and work your way down.

Invest in Quality Maintenance and Replacements

Cheaper equipment and machinery have significantly shorter life spans and will often cost you more downtime and repair than they save. The same applies to hiring skilled and adequately qualified technicians. An experienced technician can maintain and repair your equipment, leaving it in excellent condition.

This is where proper auditing and planning come into play. Highly skilled technicians have busy schedules, making them less available for emergency repair calls. However, by reviewing your previous repair logs and scheduling regular maintenance sessions beforehand, you’re likely to find a time that works for them.

Learning from Past Mistakes

Errors and unplanned downtime are inevitable. The key is always to keep records of what went wrong and how you fixed it. That way, you can refer back to previous incidents where your facility broke down and see what went wrong. Every facility and company is unique, and learning from your previous mistakes is the best way to find a maintenance solution that fits your facility like a glove with minor drawbacks and inefficiencies.

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