March 5, 2021

Preventive Maintenance And Its Many Benefits

In This Episode...

Preventive maintenance in the factory is a topic of interest for many Sofeast customers, and manufacturers who rely on machinery in the factory and choose to put in place a preventive maintenance plan tend to keep operations running smoothly and keep ahead of equipment maintenance, repairs, and routine part replacements. This gives them numerous advantages, not least fewer quality problems, less cost sunk into inventory, higher labor productivity, and much more!

In this episode, our CEO Renaud introduces preventive maintenance, its benefits, and shares some examples to help illustrate how it works and how to implement it. We'll also share some of the key elements of a preventive maintenance plan and a free template that you can download, too.

Show Notes

00:00 - Introducing the episode 

01:02 - The example of what 'bad factories' do that we need to avoid - no preventive actions, lack staff to maintain the equipment, the equipment is too high-tech for them, make rushed repairs if it breaks down, trapped in a cycle of the equipment going down, being repaired, and then going down again.

03:03 - What is preventive maintenance? - minimizes the amount of unplanned downtime. Regular activities are performed to keep the equipment in a top operating condition (with short downtime). Being vigilant about certain components' lifetimes and standing ready to replace them with spares when they reach the Mean Time To Repair (according to the manufacturer).

04:36 - The overlap between preventive maintenance and 5S - both require people to follow pan and achieve set goals and 5S helps with preventive maintenance.

05:52 - Is preventive maintenance expensive in comparison to more 'reactive' maintenance? - if a machine goes down the impact on costs, quality, delivery times, staff productivity, and customer relationships are probably high. While preventive maintenance has its own cost, you need to weigh up that cost against the disadvantages of machines being out of order. Preventive maintenance is like regular dental appointments, small actions prevent larger problems later on.

09:18 - Some examples demonstrating how preventive maintenance works - time and age-based activities are usually undertaken (similar to car servicing). The objective is to keep machinery 'as new as possible.' Sometimes it's more like a process control plan where there are hourly, daily, or weekly activities.
For more information on these examples, you can read this blog post.

15:09 - Download the Sofeast preventive maintenance plan template - download the plan here.

16:00 - What kinds of challenges can we expect to face when trying to implement a new preventive maintenance strategy in a factory in China (or elsewhere)? - there will likely be pushback from production staff who will complain they're 'too busy' and are used to running machines until they break down. Also, there can be a lack of capable staff able to carry out the preventive maintenance, which is especially an issue in factories that have implemented a lot of high-tech automation quickly, rather than bringing it in step-by-step.

18:49 - The trouble with automation... - it's often down (30-40% of the time) due to a lack of experience to maintain it to a high enough standard. As automation increases in use, the issue of maintenance will become increasingly important for factories to be in control of.

20:46 - A rundown of benefits you can expect when implementing preventive maintenance - the reduction of unexpected downtime:

  • increases factory capacity so fixed expenses increase production
  • reduces inventory required to cover for downtime which frees up cash for other business requirements
  • reduces lead times and delays to customers which will please them and boost relationships
  • smart preventive maintenance + smart automation (implementing step-by-step), you maximize staff productivity and can go further and faster with automation
  • reduces quality issues and waste (faulty or worn machines produce poor-quality components/products) 
  • preventive maintenance + 5S + process controls work together well to reinforce one another (actions can be taken before problems become serious)

25:37 - Wrapping up - you have to do maintenance anyway, so, the question is, do you want to do it on your terms armed with a plan that vastly reduces the chances for you to suffer from unpleasant surprises and the many negative effects of unexpected equipment downtime? If so, preventive maintenance is for you.


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