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4 tips for improving your preservation maintenance and avoiding costly shutdowns

Ensuring spare parts are fit for purpose is incredibly important, as it enables operations to run smoothly, minimises production inefficiencies, and eliminates wasted time and money. Yet this is often neglected and proves costly for so many companies across the world.

Sonia Zelaya, our Technical Manager in North America, has witnessed this first-hand when visiting client warehouses. In this article, she identifies common issues associated with preservation maintenance, and provides four tips for developing an effective preservation maintenance strategy. 


Why is preservation maintenance commonly neglected?

“Many companies have significant funds tied up in inventory in warehouses across the globe, but because equipment isn’t correctly maintained, issues such as delays, costly replacements or even longer shutdown periods can occur when spares are needed.

“Typically, this negligence occurs because of:

1. A lack of training or awareness

“Warehouse personnel are often not trained to properly preserve and maintain equipment, or lack the reference material, procedures and/or guidelines to do so. This issue is heightened when new warehouse personnel join the team.

“For example, a gasket may arrive in the warehouse and be put in the correct location, but no measures are taken beyond this. Warehouse personnel may not know that the gasket is supposed to be laid flat between cardboard to prevent bending and stretching. Instead, the gasket is jammed onto a shelf, subjected to damage and rendered unusable before the day is over. Personnel are often completely unaware of the fragility of some equipment, and the damage that may be caused by improper storage.” 

2. A lack of ownership

“Many companies don’t have a shared understanding of who is responsible for preservation maintenance. Does it belong to spares or warehousing? Does it fall under the maintenance or reliability manager? If nobody takes ownership, it’s nearly impossible to ensure the correct maintenance procedures are in place.”

3. A lack of strategy

“Preservation maintenance is typically a low priority for companies until a disaster or some other significant event occurs where spare parts become a necessity. Because of this, many companies have not developed a strategy for conducting proper maintenance to spares, as it doesn’t appear to be an essential use of their immediate resources. 

“This unfortunately happened to one of our newly acquired clients. One of their platforms ended up being shut down for a few days, which cost them a significant amount of money.”

Here are 4 tips for improving your preservation maintenance strategy: 

1. Ensure your CMMS data is accurate and up-to-date

“First and foremost, your CMMS needs to be an exact reflection of your asset and your stock levels. You need to have full visibility of your equipment and your inventory to be able to assess and attribute maintenance correctly. If the data is incorrect or incomplete, your strategy will be flawed or have gaps.

“Implement an effective master data build and optimisation software such as Effio™ to optimise your data and operations strategies for controlled, efficient and consistent deployment of your asset management strategy.”

2. Ensure equipment is properly stored

“The first hurdle many companies struggle with is storage. We see an unsettling lack of awareness or concern for storage conditions, yet this is one of the easiest aspects of preservation maintenance to keep up with.

“For example, we recently visited a warehouse that had rubber equipment stored in a hot environment, when it should have been in a temperature-controlled environment to avoid melting, stretching and other damage. This was an easy but critical change to make, to ensure the integrity of the parts. 

“Integrating an automated change management software such as AssetVoice™ can better allow you to access information associated with your assets at any time or place, from utilisation and associated parts, to certification documentation and movement and state history, allowing teams to keep their operations running smoothly and implement any necessary changes quickly and effectively.” 

3. Create a preservation maintenance log 

“Since each type of equipment will be assigned and undergo different types of preservation maintenance at differing intervals, a preservation maintenance log is essential. This will give you confidence that the warehouse team is properly maintaining your spare parts, and that you are industry compliant. It also ensures the equipment will retain quality and longevity, and will not fail when used.”

4. Train your warehouse personnel

“Once steps 2 and 3 are completed, warehouse personnel must be trained accordingly to ensure this is actioned as and when required, and to avoid instances of human error.

“Visit ABL Training to see if we can assist you with any of your training needs.”

How can we help?

Optimising your preservation maintenance, and ensuring spare parts are fit for purpose when required, can be a daunting task. Often teams don’t have the manpower to implement this change, or the expert knowledge required to develop an effective strategy. 

ABL can support your preservation maintenance efforts in a few different ways. We can: