Thanks to high-tech machines, manufacturers are more productive than ever, but it also means that machines are also more complicated to maintain. How do you create a truly modern maintenance program?
Although many manufacturers are still using manual processes both on the plant floor and in asset maintenance, many more are beginning to adopt automation. With customers that are demanding higher quality at shorter delivery times, this automation has greatly increased productivity – in fact, a recent study by the Brookings Institute shows that manufacturing is now 47 percent more productive than 20 years ago. This is great news for the industry, but it also means that machines are more complicated to maintain than ever – meaning that your maintenance routine could use an update.
The Changing Plant Floor
Today’s plant floors are increasingly high-tech. Single task machines are being phased out, and manual processes are now being replaced with automation programs, which offer many benefits for manufacturers. More technology and advanced machinery on the floor offers less part inaccuracies, less labor hours and higher part quality thanks to their efficiency and automation. Manufacturers today have more flexibility and cost-savings.
In addition, the way that we approach maintenance is changing, too. Gone are the days of manually checking each asset and its parts my hand. Instead, automated sensors perform condition monitoring even when no workers are present. With many new machines that have Internet of Things (IoT) compatibility, we have new, high-tech approaches in our maintenance routines to ensure machine uptime – but it’s all for nothing without a solid, well-organized team to support it all.
Maintenance for the Modern Manufacturer
Advanced machines come at a high cost, and even with IoT to support condition monitoring, a maintenance team that has the right approach to their work is the most powerful tool you have. It’s not enough to simply upgrade machines if you don’t have the maintenance plans and reliable building maintenance software to support them. In order to fully protect the investment of your machines, a plan for continuous improvement needs to be made that benefits both your assets and the people who maintain them.
Having a plan for preventive maintenance (PM) is still a central part of asset management, but it’s just the first step toward a truly modern manufacturing plan. At Dude Solutions, we’ve adopted a five-step process for making sure that your organization is working at peak efficiency – or, as we like to call it, the APPEM framework:
- Assess everything you currently have, from machines to software plus all the people and processes that connect them
- Prioritize based on your organization’s key objectives
- Create a plan for success that supports your priorities
- Execute your plans
- Maintain with continuous improvement