Every facility manager knows there is no shortage of tasks that need to be completed on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. The better you plan, the less chaotic each work order and repair will be—but sometimes our best-laid plans go awry, as the adage goes. Knowing what to prioritize and when will keep your preventive maintenance schedules on track, and each maintenance technician will know precisely what to work on and when.
Budgeting and planning for extra hands will also be crucial as we head into the new year. Research shows the top tasks that facilities managers outsourced in 2023 were pest control and fire or water damage restoration. Hiring contractors and outside companies to tackle these tasks can be costly, and waiting for their schedules to open up can lead to increased downtime your facility may not be able to afford.
We can take preventive measures to avoid devastating flooding or rodents from eating their way through important wiring by organizing these tasks into a computerized maintenance management system. In the quest for operational efficiency and well-kept facilities, knowing which preventive maintenance task to prioritize is crucial. As we step into a new year, here are the big-picture preventive maintenance strategies facilities managers should focus on to ensure smooth operations (and less reactive maintenance) throughout 2024.
Embrace Proactive Planning
Preventive maintenance hinges on foresight and organization. The dawn of a new year marks an opportune moment for facilities managers to reassess their existing maintenance plans and schedules. By reviewing historical data, identifying recurring issues and predicting potential challenges, you can devise a proactive plan that addresses vulnerabilities before they escalate into critical problems.
Utilizing tools like the preventive maintenance scheduler in your CMMS will facilitate a more proactive approach. You can create new tasks or choose recurring work: select the day and month you need the work to be completed, along with a trigger date that notifies each member of your team when a task is assigned to them. The goal is to avoid unwelcome surprises and embrace automation that makes planning ahead smooth and simple.
Prioritize Equipment Lifecycle Management
Facilities rely on a multitude of equipment and machinery, each with its own lifecycle. From HVAC systems to elevators and production machinery, understanding and managing the specific maintenance needs and repair timeline for each of these assets is crucial. Implementing a comprehensive asset management strategy involves regular inspections, timely repairs and, when necessary, replacements.
You can use fixed asset tracking in your CMMS to log all pertinent details about your equipment, including acquisition dates, warranties, replacement costs, photos and serial numbers, and generate reports that offer insight into expected repair or upgrade dates. Not only will this help you schedule preventive maintenance on each asset, but it will also help with capital planning early in the year. This proactive approach minimizes unexpected equipment downtime, prolongs the lifespan of critical equipment and helps you get the most out of your investments.
Plan for Training and Maintenance Team Development
A knowledgeable and skilled workforce is indispensable in achieving your preventative maintenance goals for the new year. Providing ongoing training to maintenance teams not only ensures proficiency in handling each piece of equipment but also fosters a culture of ownership and accountability. Empowered teams can detect potential issues early, perform routine checks diligently and contribute valuable insights for continuous improvement.
Getting your maintenance team involved in understanding and adopting your CMMS early on will make every preventive maintenance task and overall PM project management that much easier. Ongoing onsite and online training will improve adoption rates of this important tool, which fosters collaboration, keeps you updated on tasks’ status and lets your workers do their jobs independently and with the information they need readily accessible.
Foster Partnerships and Supplier Relationships
Collaboration extends beyond internal teams. Building strong partnerships with suppliers and service providers is crucial to receiving timely access to quality parts, tools and support when necessary. As you take inventory of your assets and plan preventive maintenance tasks accordingly, making sure you have the spare parts you need when you need them cannot be overlooked.
Negotiating service level agreements (SLAs) or maintenance contracts with vendors can streamline procurement and guarantee faster responses during emergencies. This will help minimize downtime and keep your scheduled maintenance activities on track with fewer disruptions.
Practice Continuous Evaluation and Adaptation
A successful preventive maintenance program isn’t static; it evolves with time and analysis of what is working and what needs improvement. Regularly evaluating your maintenance plans, gathering feedback from your team and analyzing performance metrics are important tasks to factor into your preventive maintenance plan for the new year. Ongoing evaluation helps you adapt to different needs, changing priorities and industry advancements so your strategy remains relevant and effective.
An organized preventative maintenance strategy is the backbone of successful facility operations. Embracing tools that automate tasks based on timing, need and real data will improve productivity and keep your entire team on track. While these big-picture strategies are a good starting point, if you want to drill down into specific preventive maintenance tasks, grab a copy of our preventive maintenance checklist, or schedule a demo to learn how Maintenance Care’s CMMS can help you be successful in 2024 and beyond.