Asset tracking for planned preventive maintenance

21-Jul-2022

Whether you're managing a manufacturing line, facility or any other business that relies on equipment to function, unforeseen repairs and breakdowns can lead to disaster; fortunately, preventative maintenance can prevent this, reports Graham McCarthy, Marketing Manager, GSM Barcoding

No manager wants their smooth working processes ruined by unexpected equipment failure. These failures will create unforeseen expenses through the loss of productivity, a loss that will grow until the machine is repaired at a high cost.

Planned preventive maintenance addresses this issue and has become a commonly adopted part of any maintenance schedule for many industries and sectors, thanks to its many benefits.

Why is preventive maintenance important?

Older maintenance programmes are built on a reactive model. These initial plans were designed around waiting for something to go wrong with your essential equipment and ensuring it’s fixed most efficiently.

Unfortunately, this reactive method has inherent problems, the largest of which is that it’s reliant on a problem existing for even a small amount of time while you get it fixed. As a result, these older methods have since been replaced with superior predictive models.

Planned preventive maintenance (PPM) has several similar names, such as scheduled or preventive care, but they are all aimed at a similar goal.

PPM is a proactive approach to your maintenance schedule in which you pre-emptively plan maintenance work ahead of time, monitor the state of your equipment and prevent costly breakdowns. As a result, PPM will increase efficiency, decrease equipment downtime, promote health and safety and save you money in the long run.

Planning is an essential part of asset maintenance management as it gives you the benefit of choosing when your equipment will be unavailable and compensating accordingly with either the timing of your maintenance or bringing out alternative equipment temporarily.

What is asset maintenance management?

The essential goal of effective asset management is to ensure that you profit from your assets as much as possible. Maximising the value of your purchases covers a wide range of assets, but the most relevant here are physical items and equipment that help you to run your business.

Six main elements of effective asset management can help managers get the most out of their investment. These consist of identification, location, condition, specification, maintenance and cost.

Identification is quite a straightforward initial step. This is when you record what assets you have, so none miss regular maintenance. The struggles with this come when you manage hundreds of assets across several sites.

Digital alternatives have substantially improved paper and pen record-keeping and developed sophisticated asset tracking systems to make this straightforward … and these are elaborated on later in this article.

Monitoring the condition of the asset is essential for asset maintenance management. One reliable way the data on the state of your equipment can be obtained is through visual inspections; but, knowing when the right time is to conduct that inspection is made significantly easier with the assistance of digital tracking systems.

These systems can alert a manager's computer to the arrival of the regularly preplanned maintenance dates so equipment can be checked easily.

Understanding your assets’ condition requires understanding its specification, capabilities and safety requirements. These are limitations that need to be followed to use your asset correctly. For example, overtaxing a machine will decrease its working life even faster.

Knowing the specifications of your asset will give you a starting place for comparing its condition in the future.

With these steps in place, creating a preventive maintenance plan is easy. Many unique ideas are recommended for effective maintenance plans, but you must customise them to suit your asset's individual requirements to get the most out of them.

Finally, we have the cost of the asset. Not just covering the initial investment, this also includes the maintenance fees. Any piece of equipment ages and it can potentially operate less efficiently as time passes. By monitoring the asset’s performance and maintenance requirements and comparing them to the initial costs, you can decide if it is still worth the price.

How does asset tracking help?

Asset tracking is essential to effectively plan preventive maintenance within your existing maintenance management programmes. With our range of fixed asset tracking labels, you can tag your valuable assets and digitally connect them to your digital asset tracking system.

When combined with our professional software, you can generate your own asset numbers and print labels using thermal transfer printers on either fixed or mobile printers, enabling point of application labelling.

Our popular G-Smart assets software can track and locate any tagged assets through a web-based program. In addition, this simple and intuitive platform compiles your tracked assets within a secure system whilst being available remotely if needed.

This flexible application is designed to manage asset maintenance across multiple locations by providing you with their real-time location and maintenance programme details. Inside this software is a PPM module that enables you to create maintenance checklists.

This can be connected to mobile computers so, for example, your field engineer can be guided through the maintenance process and confirm the checklist steps as they work; this process can update the database in real-time, leaving no room for human error.

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