Tips for Spending Less Money Annually on Equipment Maintenance
14:44 03 November 2019
Many businesses, particularly those in sectors such as manufacturing and farming, have to spend a significant portion of annual revenue on the upkeep of machinery and other expensive equipment. As such, finding ways to cut costs in this area can help to have a positive impact on the bottom line. While you must always continue maintenance work and can’t skimp on jobs, there are ways to do so in a more cost-effective manner.
Buy the Right Equipment
You’ll save your organization much maintenance money if you choose the right kind of equipment in the first place. It may be tempting to buy cheaper machinery and other items to save money upfront, but this can be the wrong long-term plan. When it comes to the longevity, quality, and maintenance costs of equipment, you typically get what you pay for.
Machines with lower price tags may break down more, have cheaper parts needing replacement more often, and have a shorter shelf life in general. On the other hand, if you pay a bit more at the start and get a higher-quality offering from a trusted brand, the maintenance needs should be lower over time.
Set up Systems
To cut costs on maintenance, set up simple yet effective maintenance systems and operational procedures your team can follow. For upkeep work to be as low-cost as possible, it needs to be well-planned out, and all the relevant information of each service or repair documented, tracked, and followed up on. This way, service people have an understanding of the past behavior of equipment and the specific parts to use. Plus, jobs won’t be repeated unnecessarily, and things that need doing won’t be forgotten or delayed.
The more systemized and up to date you can make things, and the better your scheduling, the more smoothly maintenance will go. Your machines will run better, and you’ll have less downtime to contend with. Keep steps and details as simple as you can and avoid overcomplicating matters by having multiple people make new and potentially competing additions to instructions over time.
Focus on Preventative Maintenance
Also, focus on preventative maintenance, rather than only working on machines when they have an issue. The sooner you identify problems, the cheaper it will be for your bank account, as small concerns that haven’t had the chance to develop into big ones yet are usually more affordable to address.
Plus, by inspecting equipment regularly, your team can ensure it’s working within the manufacturer’s specifications for optimal usage. They can check that machines aren’t sucking more power than needed, vibrating more than they should, or doing other less-than-ideal things that, while they may not be causing issues now, could turn into problems later.
For best results, base preventative maintenance on operating hours rather than calendar periods; the amount of usage each piece of equipment gets can vary wildly. There’s no point, for instance, servicing an item once per month if it only gets used once every quarter or so (unless there are particular warranty periods to adhere to for insurance coverage purposes).
Your proactive maintenance schedule should cover things like using a shock watch to see if machines are vibrating more than they should, analyzing engine and hydraulic oil to check for contaminants, and ensuring the bucket or belt is in proper condition. Of course, jobs vary according to the machinery involved, so conduct tasks relevant to the equipment you own.
Invest in Training
Always invest in training your team, too. It may cost more time and money upfront, but by ensuring your service and repair personnel are up to speed on all the newest machines in your collection and best practices for maintenance work, you’ll save money in the long run. Also, since trial and error is an expensive tactic when it comes to machines, always hire qualified mechanics and other employees or contractors who are specialists in the types of equipment and brands you stock.
Train operators of machinery too. The people using equipment should know how to use it properly and safely, so they don’t cause damage or excessive wear and tear. Furthermore, operators should be clear on what emergency measures to take in the case of a sudden crash or other problem. They should also keep an eye or ear out for concerns like smoke, unusual noises, or other indications that a piece of equipment needs a service or repair ASAP.
Follow the strategies listed above, and you should find that, within at least a few months, your maintenance fees are reducing, along with equipment downtime. Analyze the results over the years too, and you should also see that machines have a longer life because they’ve been cared for properly.