Plant maintenance is a crucial factor in reducing business interruption risks, but all too often maintenance mistakes rather than a lack of maintenance contribute to equipment failure and downtime. A maintenance plan for the entire plant must be sustainable and effective, and costs shouldn’t be the primary consideration as a reason to avoid or follow a specific process. From relying on gearbox inspections Southeast companies provide to investing in automated scheduling software, plant management must avoid making these maintenance mistakes if operations are going to be smooth and efficient.

1. Reducing Costs Quickly

Many are under the assumption that unless maintenance costs are quickly reduced, the overhead will force the company to take drastic measures in order to lower expenses. While it is possible to lower maintenance costs, there are too many variables that keep cuts from being made quickly and assertively. You can’t just cut certain roles or tasks in an effort to cut costs. Short-term maintenance strategies will damage the long-term productivity and performance of your plant. Ill-maintained assets will start to show in about a year or two.

2. Allowing the Status Quo to Continue

There are many plant managers who take over the role with every intention to help bring about change, yet find that technicians or operators are stuck in their ways and opposed to doing things differently. As a plant manager, you can’t allow the status quo to remain if it means poor maintenance schedules or a lack of resource planning.

Improvements take time, but everyone needs to be on board if the changes are going to make the situation better. You can use training, mentoring, job shadowing or other activities to engage seasoned employees with the new processes or procedures, but don’t back down if they are opposed to what you are doing.

3. Letting People Outshine the Machines

Too often the investments are made into the people that run the machines rather than the equipment itself. While it is true that people are one of your greatest assets, without the machines, there would be no product. Don’t allow underperforming people to dictate how well your machines are maintained or run. Establish clear expectations for cleaning, maintenance and operations, and set clear consequences for employees that don’t follow the rules. The machines are crucial to output. The people just supervise.

Plant management can be a tough job, as you oversee both man and machine. To improve productivity and machine reliability, focus on maintenance and getting all of your employees on the same page with proper operations and cleaning.