If you own a business, it’s only logical to maintain your equipment and machines because you want to keep your asset whole for as long as possible. It’s better than dealing with the recurring costs and business interruptions that will arise when you neglect your physical capital.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Still, despite this obvious logic, it’s not unusual to find that many businesses owners take a fatalistic attitude toward maintenance. For instance, since computers and devices advance so rapidly, they do little to protect their hardware and update their software. When confronted with the need to clean out dust bunnies in their towers and temporary files (junk files) accumulating in their computer’s operating system, they quip about planned obsolescence.
It’s a mistake to take a reactive approach. Don’t wait for things to slow down or break down before you do something about it. In fact, you should have a proactive approach to maintenance about everything, even your coffee machines. When was the last time you invested in grinder burr maintenance for your machine? If you can’t remember, your espresso grinder burrs are probably dull.
If you prefer order over chaos, you should be willing to spend time and energy on maintenance for all your equipment. Maintaining sustainability is cheaper in the long run than paying to recover from a breakdown.
Suppose, for example, you paid for a prestigious trade fair in your industry, set up your booth, and then discovered, at the last hour, that your exhibition equipment was not working. If you had stayed on top of maintenance, this error with, say, your display monitors, could have easily been fixed. Now it will cost you thousands in lost marketing opportunities to provide an impressive product presentation to swarms of people.
In short, a lack of planning and taking a reactive approach can cost your business far more than you may realize. One secret to success may be as elementary as staying on top of maintenance.
5 Ways to Stay on Top of Maintenance
1. Provide regular training for your technical crew
This is especially important if your business uses large machines. Don’t just rely on periodic inspections and only training your multiple operators once. Instead, your business needs to provide ongoing training. This will prevent operators from forgetting important skills, remind old hands to avoid taking shortcuts and follow best practices and help everyone stay up-to-date on any new upgrades to the hardware or software of the machines. Additionally, your business may have a high turnover and it’s better that new employees learn through a formal training process than by learning from other employees.
2. Check for signs of wear and tear
Regularly ensure that all operators are aware of the signs to notice when the machines aren’t working properly. This will make it less likely that they endanger themselves or ruin the machine by operating it incorrectly. Often equipment that is about to break down will show signs. Electronic equipment tends to get slower while physical machines may run at a higher temperature, vibrate less smoothly, or sound noisier than usual.
3. Use the latest maintenance equipment
The tools you need to maintain equipment doesn’t always stay the same. There may be new types of seals, filters, or lubricants in the market that work much better.
4. Keep work areas clean, as well as machines and equipment
Sometimes cleanliness helps with making sure the machine runs better. Sometimes, it’s a necessary health and safety precaution—for instance, cleaning ducts and vents in your air conditioning will keep your employees healthier, and making sure smoke and fire alarms are working will keep them safe.
5. Keep your records up-to-date
You need to keep track of inspections, repairs, and maintenance schedule. Keep track of things like when the equipment was purchased, how many times it’s been repaired, and how often it gets inspected. Without reliable maintenance records, it’s difficult to stay on top of things.
Short-term costs vs. Long-term benefits
It isn’t always easy to stay on top of maintenance. It may make a dent in your monthly budget. You may be short of staff who can take the time to do it. Or it may interrupt your business operations. These are the short-term costs. The long-term benefits, however, are that you will need to make fewer repairs, buy new equipment less often, and get a higher return on the money you invested in your equipment or machines.
Regardless of your industry, regardless of whether you’re dealing with computer systems, building maintenance, or manufacturing machines, scheduling your maintenance will prevent chaos emergency shutdowns.