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How To Start a PM Program

How can I start a preventative maintenance (PM) program?

Start Small.

Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to take on every machine and every issue at once.
Proceed one step at a time and ultimately end big through progression.

Preventative maintenance (PM) can be broken down into a 5-step cycle that you repeat until you have worked through each machine on your plant floor.

Step One: Choose a machine.

Regardless of whether you have a Computer Maintenance Management System (CMMS), or are managing a preventive maintenance plan with spreadsheets, start with one machine. It is best to choose the machine that is always breaking because it will give you lots of opportunity to gather info to begin making educated decisions based on analytical data.

By focusing on one machine, you can start seeing and recording occurrences and frequencies to get clearer on cause and effect.

Step Two: Choose one PM action, document why you chose it and the desired outcome.

Identify a simple task that can be completed in a short amount of time and result in noticeable change. Keep in mind, PM is about preventing the little knicks and tears from turning into catastrophic events by properly maintaining your equipment throughout operation.

Step Three: Implement the one PM action.

Connect with your plant manager and production manager to select a time for your first action and complete it. If this action results in no measurable impacts to the issue you are working to solve, then you have not implemented the right PM action.

Step Four: Measure and document the impacts (positive and negative).

Analyze the impact of your PM action per your original goal to determine if the action corrected the problem or made the frequency of occurrence less. Use the information you collect on this PM action to begin defining your PM cycles.

Communicate your findings to your plant manager, production manager, and operations manager. The more your plant leadership knows about how your PM plan is creating efficiency the more likely they are to back the plan. This is the first step in demonstrating the value of using metrics and analytics to make informed decisions.

Collect analytics on each PM task, for example:

  • Reduces occurrences by X%
  • Time to execute
  • Cost of parts
  • Adverse effects, yes, or no?
  • Positive impact, yes, or no?
  • Leads to understanding of root cause, yes, or no?

Whether analogue or digital, a PM plan must be based on the correct analytics.

If you do not get results from your PM actions, then you did not properly analyze your maintenance issues and implement the right corrective actions for them.

Step Five: Choose your next PM action.

In manufacturing, growth is good, but growth too fast can be dangerous. Grow in manageable chunks demonstrating value to your operations manager and plant/production manager with data-driven reports.

Proceed one work order at time, one day at a time. Measure the impact of each PM action, allowing compounding feedback to build in your favor. Build a library of critical data, one machine at a time. Continuous improvement is the goal. Stick with one machine, until you have dialed it in, making sure each PM action is correct.

Time to develop a full PM plan depends on complexity and your approach to data management.

Utilizing a CMMS anticipate approximately 2-6 weeks to dial in PM on your first machine while bringing solid evidence to your operations manager and plant/production manager. If you are working with spreadsheets and hard copy work orders, this process will take much longer. Time to implement also depends on the frequency of occurrence of the issues you are analyzing.

A CMMS is a tool that quickly gives you valuable data at your fingertips. If you are starting your PM with a new CMMS, remember, you are coaching everyone to get used to the data and reports which allow the team to make better, more informed decisions.

NTT expert trainers with experience in military, industrial, and commercial manufacturing are here to show you how to start a preventative maintenance program. We also offer in-depth training on how to build a new CMMS or evaluate and optimize your current system.

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