Maintenance management is a process of maintaining a company’s assets and resources by ensuring the efficiency of production and the effective use of resources. It involves the formulation and implementation of maintenance strategies. These strategies are to ensure that resources are used efficiently and production runs smoothly, thereby making it a valuable component to business operations. A custom combination of best practices, personnel and software, in general, makes for a good maintenance strategy. But what is considered “a good strategy,” and how would that fare in the face of COVID-19?

The global Coronavirus outbreak has presented us with unprecedented complications that have deeply impacted business operations. It is of utmost importance for maintenance management teams to re-assess the maintenance strategies they presently have in place as the pandemic continues. These uncertain times have highlighted the need to create a strategy that can effectively adapt to the dynamics of this pandemic.

COVID-19 has changed the way businesses currently operate. Depending on the industry, a huge number have reduced their operations in order to cut costs and losses incurred. Still, a need for effective maintenance management should be put in place, even if they are operating at reduced capacity.

Streamline the workforce and improve workplace safety

With the rate at which the virus spreads, workplace safety is a major concern. Health and safety measures need to be tailored according to the current situation. Building facilities, especially common areas, must be constantly and properly disinfected.

In light of social distancing measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, companies should discuss modifications of onsite staffing, and instead operate with a skeleton workforce to oversee essential facility functions. Maintaining a skeleton workforce whose task is to oversee essential functions will be key to keeping our organization’s operations flowing smoothly. Other workers whose onsite presence isn’t essential, on the other hand, should be allowed to work remotely from home. Productivity will improve when production and operation lines are up and running, even with just a bare minimum of highly essential personnel.

Bolster preventive maintenance measures

Preventive maintenance measures should be bolstered while a skeleton workforce is in place. Why? For one, bolstering these measures can improve productivity. It is crucial, as it can prevent equipment breakdowns which could lead to downtime and costly emergency maintenance repairs. Personnel resources will also be used more effectively as there is lesser maintenance staff to attend to emergency repair. The key here is being able to identify which equipment is in greatest need of preventive maintenance to keep operations running smoothly. So although it could be more costly to implement, allocating resources to boost preventive maintenance may prove more cost-effective in the long run as it maximizes equipment uptime and keeps assets in peak operating condition.

See our related article: Reactive to Preventive Maintenance: 10 Sure Ways to Transition Your Maintenance Strategy

Control and optimize operating costs

In any industry, keeping track of expenses is crucial to the profitability of an organization. The reduction in operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted an already limited budget for maintenance needs. It is imperative that funds be properly budgeted and allocated, and that all expenses are tracked. You can control and lower maintenance department costs by improving the efficiency of routine tasks. Doing this prevents costly repairs and downtime, which in effect also lowers operating costs.

Be on top of your inventory and vendor information

Make certain that all equipment and assets are properly cataloged. With parts in scarce supply at the moment, it’s imperative that the maintenance supervisor is on top of his inventory because the pandemic has disrupted the supply chain. The procurement of needed parts, tools and equipment may take longer today than it did in the past, so be sure you have everything you need and only order what is necessary.

Keep and maintain an updated vendor information file. This helps keep all your vendor and order information for easy access. Some of your partner vendors may not be able to provide you with supplies at this time, so be ready to procure them through other channels. Be proactive in finding solutions should problems in supplies arise.

We are more prone to commit mistakes when we’re not in control. This can lead to a domino effect as it affects not just supplies, but everything else related to proper facility maintenance. Prevent mistakes through proper inventory and vendor management as these can lead to unexpected downtime and cost and hamper productivity.

The solution

A good strategy, especially in this pandemic, needs tools in order to be implemented properly. A robust Computer Maintenance Management System, or CMMS, will help you to effectively implement all of these. This software is the best solution to help you manage and implement your maintenance strategy.  It provides you support with staff management, equipment and asset management, inventory management, and preventive maintenance management, plus a whole wealth of other features that will help you with your maintenance needs. By keeping everything accessible, CMMS software streamlines all of your company’s processes to ensure the smooth flow of operations.

To sum it up

Maintenance management strategies need to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic. This can be done through the application of different measures. A skeleton workforce can work just as efficiently as a full workforce, provided that the facilities maintenance manager has identified key areas that are most essential to productivity. Bolstering preventive maintenance measures seems more appropriate at the moment. It maximizes uptime and extends the life of equipment and assets, and prevents unexpected repairs that could be more costly. Careful budgeting and allocation of funds effectively lower operation costs, and being on top of inventory management prevents mistakes in operations that could ultimately hamper productivity. Lastly, having a good CMMS is essential in helping you put these strategies in place.

FaciliWorks CMMS software offers support with staff management, equipment and asset management, predictive and preventive maintenance management, inventory management, vendor management and safety procedure management. Processes can be automated and can be accessed through mobile devices and via the Cloud. It’s a great management system that can help with your organization’s maintenance processes and improve your productivity, efficiency and profitability.