Effective Maintenance Procedures with Ricky Smith

Over the years, maintenance procedures have become a bore for many plant operators. They are likely to be clunky documentation that is choppy with instruction and referring to another document – the manual. Effective maintenance procedures should consider that our attention span today is shorter than ever. They need to be short, clear and to the point. 

Ricky of World Class Maintenance shares tips on how we can implement effective maintenance procedures. Key highlights of the show are: 

  • Why maintenance procedures are necessary
  • The prerequisites for effective maintenance procedures
  • Who writes these maintenance procedures?
  • How can you get started with implementing maintenance procedures?
  • The importance of staff in the implementation

Why maintenance procedures are necessary

In industrial settings, more than 80% of equipment failures are human-induced. This figure indicates that people still need easily repeatable structures for them to operate successfully. 

Often managers will put little emphasis on these procedures because they already have skilled workers . How many time have you left the house and forgot your car keys? This simple analogy points out the fact that even with skill, there is still a need for correct procedures. 

By having easy-to-understand maintenance procedures, organisations can enjoy the benefits of:

  • Getting expected results each time
  • Having an empowered team that has to memorize everything
  • Bring new trainees up to speed faster and in a structured way

Requirements for effective maintenance procedures

At a basic level, your maintenance procedure has to address everything necessary to maintain the machine under consideration. Keep it elegant by making sure it is short and clear.

If this is your first time creating one, start off by using general procedures for guidance. An example is the Gates Belt Drive Preventive Maintenance & Safety.

Who writes these maintenance procedures?

Make it the responsibility of your technicians to write these procedures. They are the implementers anyway. It also ensures that they can peer-review and improve on it depending on the present situation. The procedures can also be divided into general and specific ones depending on the nature of operations. 

Always ensure they countersign at the bottom of the document to show agreement. 

Where should maintenance procedures get stored?

Ideally, have this important document stored in your Computerized Machine Maintenance System (CMMS). 

How can you get started with implementing maintenance procedures?

Before implementation, make sure the document is agreed upon by the technicians. After this, the maintenance planner should also put a signature of authority if s/he is in agreement. 

When it comes to implementation, different organisations will have different strategies for putting the procedures to action. If there are no repeatable procedures at your organisation, consider testing them out after your first draft. For those with repeatable procedures, it is still advisable to have a way of testing before adoption. 

What is the role of staff in implementation?

The staff should have a provision at the back of the maintenance procedure to sign once they understand it. Whenever possible, ensure that the staff can access all information from this document. That will mean attaching your maintenance procedure to the work order. The benefit of this arrangement is that operators will spend less time looking for the necessary documents. 

Your staff should be responsible for keeping the document alive. Depending on failure or equipment upgrades, your procedures should get updated to align with these changes. 

Standards for effective maintenance procedures

While developing maintenance procedures, include references to standards whenever possible. These procedures should be made in a way that is simple and repeatable for any team member. 

The success factor for maintenance procedures?

Leadership. Managers have a responsibility to provide guidance to the operators so that they are empowered to develop procedures they follow. A bonus resource from Ricky is his book with Gary Parr:  7 Habits of a Highly Effective Maintenance Leader

The take-home from this episode is that you need to start small and slow. Take a moment to alk through the plant, and understand the needs of the operators. Create simple line-by-line procedures that are repeatable. Include a check off so that your team finds it easy to go through. 

Eruditio Links:

Ricky Smith Links:

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