Protecting your business: Equipment maintenance best practices

Now more than ever, construction businesses are in need of strategies and tools to help protect employees' safety and well-being and reduce operating expenses where possible to maintain the bottom line.

Re-assessing equipment maintenance practices can play a part in helping to achieve these goals. To help you navigate these challenges, we wanted to share our expertise and provide a few thoughts on simple, but important, steps you can take to protect your business in this time.

  1. Organization (and documentation) remains critical to success

With so much change taking place, both across the industry and at the jobsite, the last thing you need is an equipment breakdown, especially if you are reducing the number of employees on-site or asking more from your maintenance teams. It costs money, time and man hours to fix that equipment, all of which are increasingly limited resources.

Keep good records of all maintenance inspections and any performance issues will help you address potential issues before they result in breakdown or help you more easily identify the root cause of a breakdown to prevent similar issues from happening in the future. At the very least, you should ensure that there are written instructions for key maintenance procedures, schedules for maintenance activities and records of what has been done, by whom and when (and by exception, what has not been done). This is especially important given that you may have many different people interact with these machines and communicating less.

  1. Ensure your maintenance program is built to reduce human interaction

Even in states where construction is considered an essential business, there is a major focus on reducing employee interaction at the jobsite. And though there are lots of steps you need to take first, re-visiting your maintenance program could help you find additional opportunities to reduce employee interaction.

A good maintenance program maximizes reliability and optimizes equipment service intervals, reducing how often

teams need to work together to fix issues or maintain the equipment. Work with your equipment vendors and components suppliers to ensure that you’re getting the most out of each piece of equipment. With lubrication, for example, you may be able to safely extend drain intervals to avoid having to bring that machine back into the shop for an oil change. There are also a range of digital tools that you can use to help streamline and automate some of these processes.

  1. Streamline product inventory

Managing inventory can be one of your biggest headaches even in the best of times. The need to track, handle, and store many different products can be a burden for your people and your business. When it comes to lubricants, a lot has changed over the past 10 to 15 years, and there are products that can now be used for multiple applications, offering you with an opportunity to easily streamline your inventory management process. Work with your supplier to see how you can simplify your product mix.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask

One of the biggest challenges facing any company in this environment is reliable (and flexible) supply of needed parts and products. Work with your suppliers to ensure that they are still able to deliver, but more importantly, don’t be afraid to share your challenges with them and ask them to be flexible when needed. This is a difficult time for everyone, and your suppliers are there to be your partner through it all.