Implementing a Bulletproof Facility Maintenance Program

Establishing and Implementing a bulletproof facility maintenance program seems daunting, but it is not impossible. As long as the program kicks off in a step-by-step method, it can be faced without trepidation. If the problems are addressed logically, important basics will be taken note of, and the program is sure to address all facility maintenance needs.

It is hoped that there is already a Computer Motorized Maintenance System (CMMS) in place. There are many versions on the market, a system with a hand scan ability is preferred when it is necessary to give the technicians the ability to upload their information directly from the breakdown site even as they make the repairs in real time. For a system where equipment needs to be remotely operated, a system which is more technical and has the tools to connect to sensors and control process systems.

What is expected from the system must be decided prior to installation. If proper research is not done, the software installed may not be able to handle the facility’s operations and maintenance, and waste money on a system which cannot do half the work it was purchased for


Who is expected to open and close work orders for trouble calls that they respond to? Is it the technicians? What of work order assignment and data entry, emergency service work orders, afterwork work orders? Are there competent administrative assistants for these duties? An after-hours service call in which a work order has to be clocked in and the parts against it checked require some careful steps.


These two are not interchangeable. The former is usually a member of the maintenance management staff and is the go-to concerning any decisions on the maintenance program. Any changes to be made must be made with this person. No executive calls about any deviation from the program is made until it is run through and agreed with the systems administrator.

The trainer, on the other hand, has the responsibility of ensuring that every single person who enters even the smallest bit of information into the CMMS has been adequately trained to do such. From understanding the proper procedures on work orders, to charging labor to close, anyone interacting with the


The worst thing that can hamper the program is to alienate the technicians and slow down their progress in a program which is already time restrictive. They have to have the training and tools to be able to be fully abreast of every procedure under the facility maintenance program. The facility can have every latest maintenance software on the market, but if staff aren’t trained, the maintenance program will not achieve its intended results.


A comprehensive asset list should be prepared once the direction in which the software and system controls capabilities is headed. The easiest way to do this is to print a full facility drawing and build the asset directory from this drawing. This way there is no need to waste time on the facility floor identifying and manually tagging assets. One side of the facility is analyzed from the drawing, then the other side. Mapping out assets this way is an important resource to have and keep constantly updated.

All equipment and manuals also need to be amassed, so they are ready to upload and maintain in a user-friendly fashion and remain accessible to anyone who might need information on any equipment. Every class of maintenance staff needs to be able to get maintenance and parts information on any machine 24/7. This will of course require training to be able to find and access information in the manual directory.


When equipment is manually located and tagged on the factory floor there is a high risk of overlooking vital tools, even when searching for the tool. A compressor room can be walked past, without thinking of tagging the compressors. That is why the plant asset drawing to set up the program is necessary, so nothing is forgotten. Once all assets are keyed in, the print can be used to check the O&M manual listing. If an item is on the asset map, it needs to be in the manual directory as a guide.


  • Preparing to upload all key information on the asset. O&M (Operations and Maintenance) manuals are imperative. Equipment hours and start meter readings should be logged. Every detail about an item should be logged, because when the parts department calls the maintenance manager to answer some questions when a replacement seal is called for in a few years, the advantage will be on his side.
  • It’s easy to forget outlying areas, free moving equipment such as compressors, freezers, lifts, yard equipment, etc., the back dock and machines therein, or the conveyor system. It is important to check all these multiple times. Any machine overlooked, and the manager runs the risk of having a worthless nomenclature during labelling. Hence the maintenance manager should double check and assign asset codes in a sensible and orderly fashion. If the codes do not look organized, it might be wise to reconsider choices.
  • If any equipment got lubrication, or has a belt changed, or a wrench turned, it needs to be included in this asset list. There is no maintenance item or work order too insignificant to be included in the asset listing, not even a blender knife. After all, it gets sharpened. The only effective way to track labor, parts and work on any equipment is by assigning an asset number and charging all these things against that number.
  • Technicians are the ones responsible for the smooth running of the program. They must therefore be included in the asset listing, along with their maintenance area/line. So, miscellaneous parts such as the shop towels, lube, rings, etc., can be signed out to the technician’s asset number as they cannot be assigned to any machine in particular.
  • The issue of how work orders currently get assigned needs to be addressed. Maybe a particular tech is dedicated to an area or service line, or a system assigned by tech availability to answer any maintenance calls. The system the maintenance manager needs to stick with must be well established under the CMMS installed. Once the on-call order is established, the work orders can be assigned to the mechanic or technician in charge of that department, or whatever the system is.
  • It is better to adhere to the manufacturer’s specifications listed for maintenance of every asset. If the O&M manual reads: “lubricate every 72.8 rotations” a time frame for that number of rotations needs to be input into the CMMS work order, and this makes it easier not to deviate from specifications and guidelines as much as possible. Although this might seem trivial in the grand scheme of the maintenance program, think about having 8 extra rotations for that machine before service x7 days per week x52 weeks per year. That’s enough time to redline a machine and wreck the maintenance program. Heavy machinery, sensitive process controls and expensive equipment have a delicate balance. So, it is advisable to stay as close as possible to the recommendations, this will save labor and repair bills at the end of the day.


  • What: Listing every step of what work needs to be performed, in full detail, is a must.
  • When: it is necessary to be specific about the time frame between maintenance inspections or services, whether it’s 2 weeks, or 6.
  • Whom: The technician responsible for completing the maintenance must be identified and a backup one on hand in case he’s out.
  • How: Any guidelines that need to be adhered to in order to complete the maintenance on any asset need to be plainly spelt out. Whether its special parts orders, or outside contractor assistance, the technician must not be left to guess the correct way to carry out maintenance work on the machine. The tools necessary for a smooth job must be provided.
  • There is the need to find out how the regular disassembly and cleaning of machine parts, pumps, conveyor belts etc., figure into the maintenance program. Ideally, the facility sanitation crew is part of the maintenance program, though not always so. The cleaning of machines is a process that needs to be saved in the equipment maintenance history. That is why facility sanitation is closely intertwined with maintenance, because if they handle the tearing down and cleaning of equipment, they must have a sanitation series of work orders to track the work, and follow the example set by maintenance in following the procedures for handling the equipment.
  • Sanitation: if the sanitation team tears down and sanitizes the asset weekly, then a 7-day work order needs to be created. Whether this is performed as a job description, or by any member of the sanitation team at shutdown, this disassembling should be noted and filed as soon as possible, bearing in mind that the integrity of how the pieces of the machine reconnect is compromised anytime the machine is disassembled.
  • The sanitation team must also have their set of work orders to complete, to record their work, else they be merged into maintenance work order. This is necessary because being out of the maintenance dept shouldn’t exclude the proper documenting the tear down and cleaning of a machine.

Teardowns and Shutdowns

  • The time for annual inspection and/or rebuild of the equipment needs to be determined
  • The staff responsible for scheduling and performing needs to be identified.
  • The assets included in the quarterly/yearly/rebuild schedule needs to be determined.
  • How overhauls will be performed, and by who- needs to be ascertained
  • The duration of the overhaul or shutdown needs to be determined, and what will be addressed in that time frame needs to be documented.

At this point in the facility maintenance program, every item and plan has been thoroughly set up and ready to go live. Most would say it is never too late to add equipment, it is actually too late to add lost equipment service records or equipment lost to lack of maintenance. The best chance at keeping the facility and assets in top shape is to strictly adhere to the Facilities Maintenance Program!



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top