Preventative maintenance is vital for any food manufacturing operation. One small problem can cause significant delays in your production. This downtime eventually leads to lost profit. Plus, setbacks are unacceptable, especially during this current pandemic, where food companies must continue to pump out products. Your bottom line may suffer even more if you need to spend a lot on major repairs for one of your machines. Plus, the problems can affect the food you’re creating. You’ll end up with possibly contaminated food or just substandard products.
With the right maintenance plan, you’ll be able to keep downtime and costs to a minimum. Here are the best practices you should implement.
Create an Inventory and Schedule
Keep tabs on every machine you have on your production floor. Your inventory should include their full model number, serial number, and manufacturing date. Take note of the oldest devices, as they have a higher potential to break down, especially if it’s been a while since they were maintained.
Once you have a clear inventory, it’s time to create a schedule for maintenance. Your machines should have a maintenance manual, created specifically by its mechanical design engineers . It’ll show you the daily, monthly, and yearly maintenance tasks you have to do to ensure the products run correctly. Jot them down and create a schedule either on a spreadsheet or a calendar application like Google Calendar so that you’re alerted every time a maintenance task is due soon.
You should also consider your production line’s schedules to prevent any significant downtime while you’re doing maintenance procedures. You could do daily maintenance on everything early or rotate shutdowns for each machine — whichever works best for your company.
Assign and Train a Maintenance Head
Running a food manufacturing factory is a lot of work. If possible, assign someone to supervise each maintenance procedure. Train them in the latest and best practices in maintaining each machine and familiarize them with the manuals and maintenance schedules. The person you assign to this position must be extremely responsible, as one slip-up may result in an out-of-commission machine.
Document Every Procedure
You and your maintenance head should make it a habit to document every maintenance effort you make. Create a checklist that you have to cross off every day. If you weren’t able to do a particular procedure, explain why and how you’ll resolve it. Take before and after pictures of the maintenance job, if possible. This way, you can keep track of every machine’s state and see which ones may be overdue for a tuneup.
Have a Good Relationship With Parts Manufacturers
During your maintenance activities, you may need to replace a few parts. As such, it’s best to have them and the tools you need on-hand. Negotiate with the original manufacturer to get a good deal on the items you need, especially if you’re buying them in bulk. This way, you don’t have to request for a part and wait days to weeks just to receive it.
Food equipment maintenance shouldn’t be taken lightly. Even though machines of today are built to last, there’s still a potential for them to break down when you least expect them to. Reduce the need for costly repairs with these preventive maintenance practices. With a proper plan and the right people in charge, you’ll have little to no downtime on the production floor.