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Preventative Maintenance: Data, OEE, and Communication


Preventative Maintenance: Part 2 of 2

Last week we considered the three core ingredients of any preventative maintenance program: time, talent, and tools. Yet even programs that achieve these building blocks may still decay and lapse into inefficiency. Many defunct preventative maintenance programs today are the ghosts of good practices from years before. Why?

Like deconditioned runners trying to sprint through a marathon, well-built preventative maintenance programs fail because long-term value isn’t measured or celebrated. How do you maintain momentum in a preventative maintenance program? Even with the time, the tools, and the right people, the best intentions can taper off into neglect without a few more key elements: data and communication.


Data Collection and Analysis

Just as technical and field service staff measure a machine’s performance, so should the maintenance program track and analyze the long-term effects of regular maintenance. This goes beyond ensuring that the equipment functions, but also drives improvement and progress toward concrete goals.

It’s up to you to decide what metrics should measure success, but it can be anything that provides a solid milestone: calculating saved costs on repairs, or charting the decrease of unplanned downtime. Without recording and analyzing what goes right, what goes wrong, and when, the why behind breakdowns becomes that much more difficult to avoid in the future.


Calculating OEE

For many companies, the person in charge of maintenance may simply carry a clipboard with a form to fill out as he or she does the rounds. While certainly better than nothing, paper records are slow and too hard to parse for any valuable insight beyond either a single problem or the most dramatic recurring issues.

Paired with a production data collection system, OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) provides a meaningful way to track and measure efficiency. While OEE commonly addresses an entire plant floor, preventative maintenance for any one machine plays a primary role.

Consider the formula underpinning OEE: Availability x Performance x Quality.

Availability leads the list because without uptime, no other factor matters.

Not only does industrial data collection enable measurements like OEE that can help companies run a better business, it also shines a light on the real value of preventative maintenance programs. While the “fix it when it breaks” mentality works for the old school of manufacturing, cutting edge manufacturers with world class OEE scores prioritize uptime through PM.



Communication – not between machines, but between people – cinches the success of a preventative maintenance program.

Communicating progress and improvement to your team aligns your most valuable resource with the program. People are not the efficiency of their machines, but appreciate seeing and understanding the value of their work. This ingredient makes sure that the team adopts preventative maintenance as a positive, important task, rather than a chore to be shelved and forgotten.

Some ideas for communicating priority and value include announcing preventative maintenance successes during team meetings or publishing them on newsletters and bulletin boards. There’s a reason that so many people revert back to junk food after their New Year’s resolutions, and why certain gym programs are so popular – the social element binds people together and commits them to change.


Finding Professional Expertise

Preparing and executing long-term preventative maintenance can be a significant burden on your time and resources. Consider taking advantage of electrical control solutions and industry experts who can make that task easier.

PanelShop.com prides itself on project and product support for custom control panels. Our maintenance and field service staff have experience across many industries, manufacturers, and systems. Whether you’re drafting a preventative maintenance plan or looking for assistance on a panel project, we can help. PanelShop.com not only provides custom control panels, but also comprehensive support from shop-to-startup and beyond.

Contact us to find out how we can help you on your next project, or send us your specs for a free custom quote.

Get my custom quote at PanelShop.com


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