As an owner of any equipment, whether it is a robot arm, a printing machine or a floor scrubber, your focus is on the function of the equipment. The action the machine performs is most important because it helps you get a specific job done. But you should ask yourself a question, what can I do for my equipment?Although the performance of equipment is obviously important, another aspect of ownership of a machine can be overlooked, and that is maintenance.
Maintenance is often seen as a necessary evil, something to be checked off the list as quickly as possible. According to research, for most workers it is just an entry on a to-do list of work that needs to be performed.
Although this might be a shared view, planned maintenance is actually very beneficial for keeping a machine in prime condition so it can keep doing the work it is designed to do.
What is a maintenance plan?
To ensure maintenance gets done in the best way possible, making a schedule is key. If you do not have a plan for maintenance, some repairs or replacements might slip through the cracks and cause downtime, resulting in unnecessary costs.
A maintenance schedule should define the "what," "why" and "how" of the process. According to Jonathan Trout of ReliablePlant: “This means specifying what work needs to be done with what materials, tools and equipment; why a particular action was chosen (why a valve is being replaced instead of a seat); and how the work should be completed.”
Based on these points, managers can estimate how much time is necessary to perform maintenance on equipment and find (or make) the time to do this without interfering with the daily operations.
Why a maintenance plan is important to the cleaning industry
Although a maintenance schedule can be beneficial for any industry that uses larger equipment or machines, it is especially crucial in commercial cleaning.
According to Accelix: “To compete in the global marketplace, it is important for organizations to recognize the impact of maintenance on the business and its customers.”
- Commercial cleaners use important equipment: Most commercial cleaning companies use cleaning equipment like scrubbers and sweepers to get the job done. Cleaning large facilities can be time-consuming, so the help of machines is indispensable for staff. Especially in floor cleaning, equipment can save a lot of time, and money, that allows employees to focus on other tasks.
- Scheduled maintenance can significantly reduce downtime: Tasks such as routine inspections can help detect minor problems before they develop into system failures. In this way, taking an hour to check your machines every month can prevent problems that cost hours, or even days to fix when not addressed regularly.
- A cleaning maintenance schedule can also aid to improve productivity and efficiency of staff. A clear and detailed cleaning plan can be made in accordance with the maintenance schedule. Work can be planned around scheduled maintenance visits or repairs, so cleaning teams will not face any unpleasant surprises on the job.
- The equipment will benefit as well: Not only will the efficiency of staff be improved, but your equipment itself will also benefit from a clear maintenance schedule. As with most things, when you take good care of it, it thrives. Cleaning machines last longer when wear and tear parts are replaced on time, problems are solved, and checks get done frequently.
Overall, a clear cleaning maintenance plan can result in lower maintenance costs, and thus operational costs in general. Time is utilized efficiently, and costly problems are prevented, which means more work can get done with less (unnecessary) expenses.
How to organize your maintenance plan
A detailed maintenance plan can be a great benefit to companies in the cleaning industry. But a schedule is only beneficial when it is effective, so how do you organize the optimal cleaning maintenance plan?
To plan at the top of your game, you should focus on the three components of a maintenance schedule mentioned above: what, why and how.
Use fleet management software to keep track of what & why maintenance needs to be done
First, you need to know exactly what tasks need to be done. It can be difficult to locate the pain points of equipment, find the parts that need regular maintenance and decide how often routine checks should be done.
To address these things more effectively, it is important to know exactly how your cleaning equipment is functioning. Having access to data like the run time of your machines, the square footage cleaned, and all (past) error notifications will give you the overview necessary to make a maintenance schedule.
Fleet management software, like i-Synergy by ICE Robotics, allows users to gain real-time insight into the use of their cleaning equipment, anytime, anywhere. It provides managers with all the information necessary to make a maintenance schedule and optimize it on the go.
Knowing how cleaning equipment functions throughout the day will allow supervisors to locate the most efficient times for maintenance. For example, if a scrubber runs often during the evening, but usually isn’t used in the morning, this is the perfect time to plan a routine maintenance check.
In this way, no time will be wasted when the machine would otherwise be working. This is especially beneficial for cleaning teams with a large fleet, where this overview can easily get lost.
Moreover, with fleet management technology your cleaning maintenance schedule can be tweaked once it is in place. The real-time data will allow you to see how your plan is working out in practice.
If it becomes clear that you might still lose some time, or maintenance is taking longer than expected, you can adjust your schedule accordingly. In this way, you can substantiatewhy certain tasks must be performed at that given moment.
When using ICE Robotics intelligent cleaning equipment, available through an all-inclusive subscription, you get the added bonus of their entire Tech Connect team that is monitoring machine alerts and notifications as well.
Active maintenance helps with how to maintain your equipment
Once it is clear what tasks should be performed and why, the next step should be addressed. How you plan to perform maintenance can make a substantial difference in the efficiency of your schedule overall.
A common way to do this is called reactive maintenance, which means no problems get solved, until they occur. Reactive maintenance typically results in added costs and excessive downtime—it is not the ideal method.
- Proactive Maintenance: One way to optimally maintain your equipment is proactive maintenance. This means following the manufacturers guidelines for cleaning, parts inspections, and replacement and making sure that these benchmarks are met consistently. It is an option to base your cleaning maintenance schedule solely on these guidelines, but it could be taken one step further.
- Active maintenance is the next level. This means actively looking for errors and future maintenance opportunities, based on the data provided by fleet management software.
Through close observation and tracking of machine notifications and alerts the team of technicians learns what error codes need what parts or labor and work to notify the equipment users before there is an issue. This makes it possible to plan and schedule tasks to get done in advance, even tasks that were not originally in the guidelines.
Another bonus of ICE Robotics is the team of technicians that monitors your intelligent cleaning equipment alongside you. Since they track the data, they can start to understand and anticipate the most common problems with parts.
For example, they would recognize that a part might typically start to wear out after 500,000 square ft. cleaned. Then, they can locate what typically needs to happen to fix it. If they know the time is coming to replace the part, they can build out notifications for clients alerting them ahead of time.
Reach out to our experts for more tips and information on how to organize your cleaning maintenance schedule!
If you’d like to read further, we suggest: How to Maintain Your Commercial Floor Scrubber Squeegee Blades