Saving Easy Money with Preventative Maintenance in the Warehouse

on January 19, 2017

42294348_sWarehouses and manufacturing facilities run a lot of equipment. Whether it’s automated or manually operated, the variety can include cranes, sorters, palletizers, conveyors, and more. With the amount that these assets are worth, it’s a no-brainer to take care of them on a regular basis. However, most companies fall short of even the easiest ways to provide preventative maintenance (PM).

Why would anyone neglect his equipment? The reasons vary, and in a fast-paced environment, they are understandable. Many PM programs are based on the OEM’s recommendations. This is a great starting point, assuming the staff is following the protocol, but there is more to do to keep costs as low as possible.

Cost is a mindset that can factor in to a PM that is lacking. Companies don’t want to halt production to conduct PM, or they don’t want to spend money along the way. They want to get as many miles out of each part in all the equipment. The frequency of parts replacement is not more expensive than waiting for equipment to completely fail. By that point, your repair could be much, much bigger.

If you catch a leak in time, for example, then you just have a simple leak to fix. If the fluid leaking lubricates the rest of the machine, and you don’t catch the leak early, your repairs could get very expensive, and in some cases cost you an entire new machine.

So what are the easiest ways to amp up your PM program?

  1. Clean regularly. This is a chore most staff will try to avoid, but it is one of the best ways to detect a problem. Keep the equipment clean, and just as importantly, keep the floor beneath it clean. If something is leaking, this is the fastest and easiest way to catch it. Make sure all employees who interact with the machines are taking responsibility for cleanliness. This is a group effort, not a one-man job.
  1. Document every equipment failure, even if it’s brief. Sometimes employees don’t even notice if an interruption only lasts a few minutes, but it’s important to pay attention to it. These hiccups not only indicate a more serious problem on the way, they also cost you time. Blips here and there halt work, and employees have to stop what they are doing. Its all time that adds up. Document the occurrences, the time it takes employees to respond to the situation, and how long it takes to get the equipment back up and running.
  1. Ask your vendors for advice. The OEM’s are a great resource for assistance, materials, and software that will improve your PM program. Take account of all your assets, know how long you expect them to run before you have to replace them completely, and plan out a PM that will help you reach or exceed your goals.

With a vehicle, you wouldn’t wait until fluids are bone dry to fill them, or until your tires are bald to replace them. Why would you wait to take care of any other asset just as valuable?

If you’re evaluating your operational costs, don’t forget to investigate whether your packaging is cost-effective. If you’re not protecting your products well enough, or if you could be reusing containers and other materials, you’re missing an opportunity. Check out what Packnet has to offer. We can create a solid packaging solution that optimizes the use of space and materials while completely protecting your valuable goods. Find out whether there’s a better way: call 952-944-9124 or email