Why Standardize Your Maintenance Procedures?
Few things are more prized in a factory environment than reliability. The key to achieving reliability is consistency: the ability to produce predictable, repeatable, reliable results time and time again. This is where standardization comes in, and nowhere is it more applicable than in maintenance procedures. Maintenance is a fundamental part of what keeps the value stream up and running, and there’s no end to the benefits that accompany standardizing your maintenance frameworks.
The best processes are repeatable ones
Standard maintenance procedures are necessary in any manufacturing environment. Not only do they protect the safety of workers, they increase equipment reliability. By standardizing maintenance procedures for repetitive tasks, it’s easy to get an entire maintenance team on the same page. This, in turn, improves their efficiency and allows them to keep equipment up and running reliably.
While every piece of machinery in the factory may require different maintenance procedures and protocols, adopting a standardized approach ensures consistency to maximize uptime and boost productivity. The motions may differ across each asset, but if the frameworks are the same, the results will be consistent.
The benefits of standardization
Standardizing maintenance procedures gives each member of the maintenance team a clear understanding of proper protocols, while simultaneously providing a standard for accountability. Some of the key benefits that accompany standardized maintenance procedures include:
- Health and safety. Standardized maintenance procedures not only protect the health and safety of employees, including maintenance team members, but also the environment. They also provide a basis for investigating accidents, should one occur.
- Reducing downtime. A standardized routine helps technicians monitor the condition of essential equipment and identify opportunities to improve reliability. It also helps to have proper documentation of equipment management procedures.
- Improving training. Standardized maintenance procedures make teaching, training, evaluating, and certifying maintenance teams easier. They ensure every team member understands how to perform a given task with a consistent degree of precision.
Tips for standardizing maintenance
The benefits of standardization are undeniable. To establish a solid framework for standardized maintenance procedures, you must create a plan. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Create standard operating procedures (SOPs). These procedures should govern the way your maintenance team performs routine tasks, such as lubrication and drive chain replacement. Develop SOPs that go into enough detail to inform a crew member how to perform a given task — even if they’ve never done it before.
- Focus on safety. One of the most important things to include in standardized maintenance procedures is a safety protocol. Make sure you consider safety, including all environmental health and safety hazards a crew member may encounter, in creating SOPs for a given task.
- Maintain a continuous improvement mindset. Your maintenance staff should be constantly looking for better ways to do things. When they do, make sure you’re recording the revised procedures and updating your maintenance SOPs.
If your manufacturing facility doesn’t currently have uniform maintenance procedures in place — or if they’re outdated — set aside time to develop a framework that boosts reliability and your overall bottom line. It starts with standardization.