Plant and equipment are important resources within most businesses and they are put under considerable pressure on a daily basis. As business activity increases these resources are more heavily utilised and more often than not, they are serviced less. When this occurs break downs become more frequent resulting in higher repair costs and an increase in down time. Other adverse impacts that emerge as a result of poor maintenance programs include
- Higher level of wear on components
- Shorter working life of resource (has financing implications)
- Increase workplace injuries
- Decrease in salvage or trade in value
- Reinforcement of poor workplace culture (safety, care of equipment etc)
- Reduction in product quality
A Whole of Life Maintenance Program (WLMP) has the potential to mitigate the above issues and this can be leveraged as a competitive advantage of your business i.e. you gain a reputation of being reliable, professional and consistent in product delivery and quality.
What is a WLMP – It is a comprehensive service program of the equipment item that is normally outlined in the manufacturer’s operations handbook. However, from a business perspective, it is more than that as it requires a structured scheduling process, communicating the program to all employees and then being fully committed to the implementation of the program.
Why do you need a WLMP – In the simplest form the WLMP extends the life of the equipment item and mitigates the issues stated above. In addition, your financier will better understand your business requirements and provide a tailored option to reduce finance costs. More importantly a WLMP will ensure employees become part of the process resulting in greater accountability and an improved workplace culture.
When do you develop a WLMP – Ideally this is prior to purchasing the equipment item as part of the due diligence of the capital expenditure process. However when commencing a WLMP in an established business the best time is during the budget period so it can be included in the operational plan of the business.
Monitoring the WLMP – The best way to monitor the program is through a register that is the responsibility of the production manager / supervisor. All relevant information is included in this register and it must be integrated into the scheduling system to ensure it adds value to the businesses activities. As a management tool this register provides information for the reporting process is a similar manner to the employee register and safety and training register.