Maintenance managers have a lot of work to do daily. Maintenance management is always evolving with many different priorities and moving parts. The major issues of concern among maintenance managers are limited resources, additional work, challenges in meeting budgets, and staff shortage. In a nutshell, maintenance managers are expected to do more work with fewer resources.
The good thing is that technologies like IoT, CMMS, and data analytics are making these magnitude tasks more reachable. Also, These technologies enable maintenance managers to meet their operations objectives. In this article, we are going to look at the common challenges maintenance managers face and some helpful insights on how to tackle them.
Results of ineffective machine maintenance
Preventive maintenance is the best way to maintain machinery despite the kind of business you operate. The sad news is that most businesses do not apply the correct maintenance strategies and the whole organization fails. Some of the consequences of poor machine management are:
- Uncontrollable maintenance costs
- Loss of talent
- Loss of profit.
Uncontrollable maintenance costs
One of the main duties of a maintenance manager is being able to regulate costs. Most organizations spend about 10% of their yearly expenses on machine maintenance. Poor management can force organizations to dig deeper into expenses to keep their machines running.
One of the reasons for poor maintenance is depending on reactive maintenance. Despite some assets being run on reactive maintenance the most important heavy machinery needs to be operated on preventive maintenance.
Regulating your budget is very challenging but by simplifying the maintenance system you can easily control your budget within the required means.
Organizations lose profits in many other ways other than expense increases. Losing revenue makes an organization face challenges when scaling. Organizations rely on their machinery to produce their products for their target customers. If the machinery is not operating optimally it runs low on production. This leads to downtime leading to losses. If the machinery is not operational this means that you are running low on production or not producing anything at all.
To satisfy the top management you need to improve your machine maintenance to recover the most money and time.
Nobody wants to work in an organization that hinders them from performing their duties due to complex, confusing, and ineffective processes. This applies to the new generation of technical professionals. This generation has adapted to new technologies and when they see you are relying on outdated methods for equipment maintenance they will opt for working for a more advanced company that probably uses a CMMS system.
Problems faced by machine maintenance managers
Shortage of resources
Shortage of resources is a common challenge every maintenance manager faces like allocation of duties, duty turnaround time, management of inventory, etc. Items such as replacement parts can be scarce if not properly managed.
On the part of work orders, the shortage of resources blocks the finishing of maintenance work. Technicians cannot do maintenance when tools are in another work location. Technicians cannot do routine repairs if spare parts are not easily reachable or lacking. This causes idle time.
Being low on resources is expensive and having an overstocked inventory leads to issues. Space can be inadequate even in big organizations. Many inventories denote thinner margins, minimal cash flows, and low finances to capitalize on the most important items.
What are the solutions?
You can solve these problems by using CMMS software that has work order integrated. Rather than writing down purchase orders, you can order machinery parts as they are used and readily available when they are required. With sufficient utilization data in hand, you can get information on the most important equipment that will benefit your organization the most.
Shortage of labor
Employees are an organization’s major asset but labor can be scarce for most maintenance managers. Organizations with fewer technicians allocate tasks within many production lines and work sites especially if they are purchasing machinery faster than the employment process.
Labour shortage can harm an organization in the long term in terms of machine maintenance. Preventive maintenance is not put as a priority and the limited employees are busy rectifying emergencies. In the process, the most important machinery breaks down and the organization suffers the consequences of downtime.
What is the solution?
Hiring more employees might be one of the solutions but you can train your current employees to be more effective without having to hire new staff. More people would denote more preventive maintenance, quick work order processing, and minimal machine failure.
You can also automate work orders for every worker to access in real-time and carry out the laid-out tasks. This causes less confusion. If the workers can get into the system using mobile devices they can attend to urgent maintenance requirements quickly rather than sit there waiting for orders and directives.
Cutting cost challenges is the main reason for labor and resource problems. One of the main challenges a maintenance manager faces is balancing between high maintenance costs and spending the right amount to avert machinery failures that could cost the organization more. It can be an impossible job to do sometimes.
What is the solution?
You can strike a balance when using the preventive maintenance approach. By scheming inspections and repairs beforehand you can reduce equipment breakdown and downtime. You can also avoid renting equipment and additional fees when rushing for replacement parts and save on maintenance costs.
However, this does not apply to every machinery. You can use the run to fail method for smaller inexpensive items. For heavy and expensive machinery you can use the condition-based maintenance method via the use of sensors to check electricity level, pressure, cracks, and other equipment impending failures.
In summary poor machine maintenance can lead to various problems such as uncontrollable budget, losses, and loss of talent as we have seen. You need to automate your maintenance processes to reduce unexpected downtime and increase your return on investment. The best way to gain control of machine maintenance is definitely through a maintenance management system.