Is Your Preventive Maintenance Effective, or Merely Efficient?
You went to a lot of time and trouble to establish a preventive maintenance plan for your dealership’s fleet of rental equipment. And you’re often called upon to advise customers about developing an optimal PM program for their own fleets. Having a plan is great, but how do you know it’s really achieving your goals? You can’t manage maintenance well without relevant metrics.
The key to success is understanding the difference between efficiency and effectiveness. You might way it’s the difference between getting it done and doing it comprehensively and well. Just because you adhere to a maintenance schedule doesn’t necessarily the results are as cost-effective as they could be.
Measuring cost is easy
At least, the tangible costs are easy to identify. You regularly track all your dealership’s expenses, so you know how much you’re spending for maintenance supplies and consumables such as filters, hoses, fluids, etc. you know what you’re spending for labor associated with service work. But you also need to account for “softer” expenses such as shop space and maintenance-related training. All these things are resources you bring to bear on preventive maintenance.
Measuring maintenance performance is a little fuzzier
Your PM program includes certain defined processes – how and when each type of service is performed. For best results (preventing untimely repairs or replacements), processes should be:
- Implemented consistently, according to recommend schedules
- Performed systematically — using checklists and defined protocols to ensure the work is done in exactly the same way every time
- Verifiable – again, using checklists, but also scheduling and tracking any required follow-up work
Maintenance work that is performed sooner than necessary wastes resources. You don’t get the full value from parts and supplies, thereby reducing their ROI. Premature maintenance also increases downtime frequency, robbing you of potential revenue-generation. On the other hand, allowing intervals to stretch beyond recommended timing, or failing to perform and verify every recommended task, can result in preventable damage and unplanned downtime.
So doing a “pretty good” job isn’t good enough if you hope to get the longest life and maximum performance from each piece of equipment. And get the maximum ROI on every dollar you spend.
Measuring for effectiveness
Along with tracking dollars spent, you need to measure how well you are adhering to maintenance processes. Does your program clearly delineate protocols for each type of service, as well as performance intervals?
Is everyone fully trained to perform the work in accordance with protocols? And are they doing that? Techs should not only refer to checklists to remind themselves of tasks to perform, they should check off each task as they go and submit that completed checklist when they have finished. Tracking shows that work was done as expected, in total, on time.
For maximum effectiveness, techs should be encouraged to use their own initiative to go beyond the checklist. A little extra inspection or double-checking can help detect impending problems and head them off with least intrusion in terms of time or expense.
Using a maintenance management software application facilitates tracking – what has been done and when, what needs to be done and when that is scheduled, and costs. The data provides visibility into maintenance efficiency. For example, what is the percentage of service work that is performed on time, say within 40 hours of when due? Are the costs on budget?
The bottom line
To measure effectiveness, however, you have to look at the bigger picture. The whole point of preventive maintenance is to prevent problems from occurring that would cause machine breakdowns, repairs, and so on. So that’s what you have to measure – incidents large and small that occur outside the PM program. Every malfunction, component failure, etc. – the timing, and the cost. The fewer there are, the more effectively your preventive maintenance program is working.