Whether you work for a large manufacturing company or a smaller facility, if you are responsible for overseeing machine and equipment maintenance, you know how important it is to keep costs down and reduce unscheduled downtime.
Luckily there are a few ways you can minimize equipment service and control repair costs. Here is a closer look at six maintenance cost-reduction strategies you can use.
Keeping track of how much you’ve spent on labor, parts, and supplies for specific machines over time will help you determine machines and equipment that cost the most money to operate and maintain. If you find there are machines in need of frequent repair, then you have the information available to make an informed decision when it comes to repairing or replacing.
If you’re at a loss, a skilled engineer or maintenance technician can help troubleshoot the underlying problem and take corrective action.
Create Maintenance Schedules
While not all equipment breakdowns or repairs are predictable, having a routine preventative maintenance schedule can help keep them minimized by keeping machines operating at their best.
Routine maintenance should involve inspecting various equipment components and ensuring machines are up to the manufacturer’s specifications.You can use the owner’s manual to help create preventative maintenance schedules and stay on top of inspections and routine service.
When it comes to creating preventative maintenance schedules, consider basing them on operating hours rather than on a calendar. Usage times will vary by machine, meaning you could be over or under-servicing your equipment based on actual hours. You can determine if you need to decrease or increase service intervals by periodically reviewing the results.
Spend Your Budget Wisely
Between repairing or replacing a piece of equipment? A good rule of thumb is to weigh repair costs against your machine’s residual value (what you’d get if you sold it today). If repairs cost more than the machine is worth, apply your money toward a new machine with better technology that will last longer.
When it comes time to replace a piece of equipment, keep in mind investing in a lower-priced machine may end up costing you more in the long run. While higher-quality machines may cost more upfront, they typically require less maintenance work overall if maintained.
Optimize Equipment and Parts
One of the best ways to keep machine maintenance costs down is to develop a strategy to buy and organize spare parts. If you don’t have spare parts such as hydraulic pumps or hoses in stock, then you run the risk of increasing your average repair time.
Aside from keeping an adequate supply of spare parts handy, it helps to ensure there is a degree of similarity between your machines so you can use them interchangeably. Having the same parts fit many machines is cost-efficient and makes it easier to receive technical assistance from either the manufacturer or a professional service technician.
When it comes to purchasing parts, keep in mind ordering parts in bulk will allow you to negotiate better prices.
Train Your Machine Operators
In addition to training maintenance supervisors and mechanics on equipment, educating your operators can help keep costs down.
Since operators work directly with the equipment, they are in an ideal position to help identify potential problems and perform more common maintenance tasks such as inspection and lubrication. By training non-maintenance staff, you will have fewer periods of unscheduled downtime and avoid expensive and time-consuming repairs.
Contact Qualified Service Technicians
While having a reliable in-house maintenance staff is ideal, the skills to maintain or repair certain pieces of equipment properly will vary. If a machine goes down, trial and error can be an expensive way to learn how to repair your equipment.
If maintenance or repair seems questionable, make sure to contact qualified technicians trained with the right skills and practices needed to minimize unplanned downtime and repair costs. This will save a lot of headaches and unnecessary costs down the road.
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