Maintenance Tracking Systems and Lifecycle Management

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How well you take care of your equipment will be the single most influential factor in how long it lasts. That’s why maintenance tracking systems are a smart investment for any organization wishing to take a responsible approach to equipment lifecycle management. Scheduling routine preventive maintenance can help keep equipment running on all cylinders, therefore minimizing or eliminating the occurrence of stalls, breakdowns and project delays. Although it requires a financial commitment, preventive maintenance will stave off expensive repairs that result from problems that have been ignored and then turn into major issues. Rush-ordered service and parts alone can easily outpace the costs of a maintenance system. Without regular maintenance, equipment more quickly reaches a point of no return, forcing organizations to take on additional costs by purchasing a replacement long before they’d planned to. In the case of IT equipment, preventive maintenance can even reduce or eliminate the possibility of a security breach. Slow-moving and/or buggy computers can be more vulnerable to hackers.

Setting the record straight

Despite overwhelming evidence that maintenance tracking systems make good sense, “there’s still a faction of the production world that views maintenance as an unnecessary consumption of manufacturing hours,” says Talmage Wagstaff, a reporter for SupplyChainBrain.com in a Sept. 17, 2020 article (“The Importance of Equipment Maintenance in Manufacturing”). The mindset for that philosophy, he explains, is explained by a shortage of time and the desire to fill customer orders now, without taking a temporary pause for equipment maintenance. However, “by ensuring that equipment is properly maintained, the element of surprise in the form of machine failure is virtually removed from the facility.” In turn, the manufacturer gets more mileage – a longer useful lifespan – from its equipment.

The reality is that it’s challenging to keep track of the respective schedules associated with each piece of equipment. Maintenance tracking systems provide structure and allow the organization to take a 30,000-foot-view of all of its fixed assets, or zero in on a specific department or area. A broader analysis can help staff determine which equipment and tools are due for service in the same time frame. They can then schedule those items for service in advance, set up reminders using maintenance tracking systems, and order parts ahead of time, if possible.

A long-term approach to preventive maintenance

How often should companies and organizations be scheduling preventive maintenance? That depends on the nature of the equipment and manufacturer recommendations as well as the organization’s willingness to invest in this routine service. In between formal preventive maintenance, though, operators and technicians should be encouraged to conduct visual inspections of equipment and identify any red flags. That kind of knowledge requires proper training. Assigning responsibility to key staff to conduct those visual inspections – on a weekly basis, for example – helps promote accountability, as well. With a proper system in place, those operators can quickly record potential problems even outside of the normal maintenance cycle.

In the long term, taking a proactive approach to lifecycle management through maintenance tracking systems will most certainly help maintain morale, as employees won’t be sidelined and frustrated by unnecessary equipment problems, and keep your standards of customer service high. Production delays can be very expensive in terms of customer retention. Another point to consider is the resale value of your equipment. Many organizations eventually sell their equipment and upgrade to newer models. The price you receive for your equipment will be influenced by how well you maintained it, whether you have a true maintenance record to refer to, and whether the item in question ever experienced damage that had an impact on its output or overall performance.

Asset Panda takes a streamlined, intuitive and completely customizable approach to maintenance tracking systems. Powered by a mobile app that syncs with the cloud and includes a built-in barcode scanner, Asset Panda requires nothing more than the smartphones you and your employees already use. From the palm of your hand, you can get 24/7 access to the lifecycle of your equipment and fixed assets using real-time data. To learn more, go to assetpanda.com

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