How Checklists Can Improve Your Maintenance Culture

Being a proactive manager, you arrive at work bright and early; trying to set an example for other members of staff.

Unlocking the side door and attempting to open the main roller shutters, you hear an awful shriek as it struggles to open.

Making a mental note to check that later, you notice a pump truck wasn’t properly stored away from the previous shift. You reach for it, in an attempt to pull it away, but the hydraulics just squeal as the truck inches away. These are common problems that occur due to lack of maintenance.

Maintenance is something that always seems to come as an afterthought. Business are content to use their assets till they fail.

While this may pass in certain industries, in others, it can have grave consequences.

Here is how checklists can improve your maintenance culture:

Examples of Maintenance.

Maintenance can be preventive, predictive or corrective. 90% of businesses rely on corrective maintenance procedures, i.e. they ignore any warning signs and wait till the part fails before replacing it. Predictive maintenance involves changing a part, as soon as it starts showing signs of wear and tear. Preventive or Preventative maintenance relies on the manufacturer’s warranty to replace assets just before their allotted lifespan is up.

At SRL limited, we are fans of using preventive maintenance. Predictive maintenance can get expensive really quickly if you keep replacing parts just because they may be out of order.

Corrective maintenance can cause more harm than good in form of company downtime and possible health risks. All firms must have a concrete plan to carry out maintenance.

Rushing to repair failed parts is an expensive undertaking, but servicing assets before they fail is more cost-effective and improves reliability.

How to Track.

While some companies use software to track what needs to be fixed annually, monthly, weekly; others prefer to use asset tags and markings on key equipment. To stay on top of maintenance schedules, the use of a checklist is required.

In the average distribution centre, everyone is busy with their primary tasks, and people rarely take on extra roles. Thus the requirement of maintenance checks falling through the cracks and not getting done. Everybody thinks the other guy should be doing it. We only realise nobody is on top of it when a major incident occurs. Incorporating checklists into your weekly meetings will remind you to remind those responsible to check assets.

What to Check.

Imagine the impact on traffic when a motorised pallet truck breaks down across heavy traffic lanes in the warehouse, while pulling a full pallet. Simply because the operator didn’t know it was their responsibility to check the battery before using it.

Supervisors may bark at the thought of having so many things to check and track. If you ask your equipment suppliers for a comprehensive list of points to check daily, weekly, monthly, the job becomes easier. If in doubt, have the experts at SRL come in and inspect your doors monthly.

Your shelving is another aspect that needs to be checked and maintained regularly. Forklifts regularly brush against the beams weakening the structure, and this rarely gets reported by the offender. Having an independent assessor come in and go over your assets to determine what needs to be fixed before a racking collapse is essential.

Moving on, the exterior of the property is constantly exposed to elements. Are the tracks of the outside doors properly lubricated? Are their electric components properly housed to prevent damage? Have the elements eroded their insulation properties? Preventive maintenance checks will bring structural anomalies to your attention.

Having found them, call in the experts to address the issues.

If you have started the preventative maintenance programme early enough, you will require fewer call-outs over time. Many managers will not relish the ‘extra work’, but if it is tied to their compensation, I bet they would take it more seriously. Harsh? Maybe, but it would be better to catch a problem that can be solved with a £400 call-out than incurring a problem that will cost £ 6,000 to fix.

SRL Limited supply commercial doors and roller shutters to many businesses in the North West. We also develop tailored preventative maintenance schedules for our clients.

Call us today, for an assessment of your existing maintenance program and to see whether checklists can improve your maintenance.

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