Facility & Maintenance Management

How to Reduce Downtime with the Maintenance Technology

May 24, 2022

There is no time for downtime. This is a case where the old saying "Time is money" is particularly relevant. The efficient and effective operation of your facility depends on the maintenance management and service you provide. There is a steep learning curve that comes with introducing the latest technology to your facility and teams, but the rewards are particularly large when it comes to reducing troubleshooting.

Throughout this article, we will be examining some of the main challenges that maintenance teams encounter when attempting to reduce unplanned downtime in maintenance. We will also advise you on how digitization can be used to eliminate those obstacles.

What is Downtime?

Before we look at ways to reduce downtime in maintenance, we must understand their types. Downtime comes in various forms, and not all are bad. The downtime of assets or equipment is the amount of time they are unavailable. There can be planned and unplanned downtimes.

The term 'unplanned downtime' perfectly describes it. It is downtime that occurs due to unexpected events. Most often, unplanned downtime is caused by equipment breakdowns.

Having 'planned downtime' for equipment is far more beneficial. In other words, this is the "break" needed to perform routine maintenance on equipment or systems.

In either of these scenarios, if equipment undergoes downtime, it cannot be used for its intended purpose.

How to Reduce Downtime in Maintenance?

It is almost certain that your company will occasionally experience downtime if your operations rely on your equipment. This can be a very expensive problem.

There are many unforeseen costs associated with equipment failure. Making expensive repairs, paying employees who are unable to work, and delaying production are some of them.

What is the best way to minimize downtime of equipment and facilities?

Taking precautions can reduce the likelihood of equipment downtime. A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) can minimize equipment downtime in many ways. Let’s explore how exactly.

1. Leveraging Centralized Data and Improving the Information Flow

It is vital that you have the data. Your team needs a central place to track whenever they perform maintenance, order spare parts, notice an underperforming asset or do anything else that involves downtime. This will help you to collect accurate data. The more managers and technicians understand the maintenance activities over the lifecycle of an asset, the faster you can start to notice trends that can help you formulate a predictive maintenance strategy.

Poor preventive measures often result in unplanned maintenance. However, without a complete picture of the asset's historical data, it is impossible to determine the appropriate level of preventive maintenance. Organizing and analyzing this data can be hard with pen and paper systems or spreadsheets, often resulting in unreliable, inaccurate numbers and delays.

Maintaining your equipment may be easier if you use a CMMS which is one of the ways of how to reduce downtime. No more lost paper documents, multiple spreadsheets, or endless email chains. With the right software solution, you can store information about all your equipment and its maintenance requirements in a single database. This data can be accessed at any time by an authorized person.

2. Having Digital Resources at Your Fingertips

Downtime can be created or prolonged if maintenance practices are ineffective, whether during maintenance procedures or routine checks. You might lose time or make mistakes if you take too long looking for documents, complete tasks out of order, or look through manuals.

By digitizing the maintenance processes, resources can be centralized in a digital database, so that everyone can access them. For example, the technicians could instantly access an asset's history, manual, or checklists, no matter where they are. Consequently, they can work much faster and more efficiently, while maintenance procedures are standardized

3. Moving from a Reactive to a Preventive Maintenance Strategy for All Equipment

Another example of how to reduce downtime is leveraging preventive maintenance plans that minimize unscheduled downtime, costly downtime, and save your maintenance team valuable time. Just as humans go to the doctor for checkups, machines require regular maintenance. Maintaining your equipment is made easier when you use an equipment management system. The sooner problems are diagnosed, the better chance you have of obtaining spare parts and performing regular maintenance during planned downtime. This will also save you from paying priority-shipping costs, paying employees overtime, and reducing production.

Preventive maintenance can be made easier with CMMS software, which gives you the capability to plan maintenance tasks days, weeks, months, or even years in advance. Prepare step-by-step instructions to avoid confusion when your assets are inspected by your maintenance team.

mobile application on the tablet and taking photos of assets
Mobile app to streamline preventive maintenance

4. Using IoT Sensors to Eliminate Unplanned Downtime

Utilizing IoT sensors is another way to reduce equipment and asset downtime. As one of the most advanced technologies in use today, IoT sensors that continuously monitor asset health offer a compelling, data-driven, holistic approach to maintaining assets at the lowest possible cost based on data analysis.

Here are some of the capabilities and benefits of IoT sensors in terms of reducing equipment downtime:

• With IoT sensors for early detection, anomalies in performance can be detected at an early stage before they are detected by manual spot checks or personnel monitoring.

• Sensors can increase safety and detect potential issues in real-time, alerting maintenance teams to look for causes for a machine failure before it occurs.

• Data can be monitored and accessed from anywhere thanks to cloud-based software integrated with multifunctional sensors.

• The sensors provide timely and effective preventive maintenance compared to the standard pre- and post-operation inspections. They track and transmit performance data in real-time, allowing for more timely and effective maintenance.

• By connecting IoT sensors to CMMS systems and analytics software, maintenance processes become fully technology-based.

IoT sensors can monitor various parameters like temperature, humidity, vibration, power consumption, air quality, coolant health, and more. They can be placed on critical assets to enable effective predictive maintenance.

Final Thoughts

You already know how to reduce downtime. Maintenance departments can increase productivity in many ways, but they should put most of their efforts into reducing unplanned downtime when assets and equipment can't be used. A preventive maintenance program allows maintenance teams to identify small issues before they develop into big ones. To better understand failures, they can track related metrics and KPIs. Ultimately, they can identify strategies for improving their workflows. However, having good maintenance data, keeping it up-to-date, and articulating it into actionable insights is difficult without a CMMS solution. Contact us today and get a free trial to Singu FM.

Written by:
Velis Team

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