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The future of maintenance and the role of digital

SFG20 participated in a recent IWFM SIG group webinar to discuss the future of maintenance. In a poll, the audience were asked, “Which topics form part of your future digital maintenance strategy?”

Their answers revealed that, at the top of people’s priority lists, are: 

  1. An improved use of facilities management systems 
  2. Condition based maintenance 

SFG20 | London backdropOver time, the industry sector is moving away from managing their maintenance using spreadsheets. Maintenance professionals clearly want to improve their expertise in using software systems they already have access to. There is also a marked increase in demand for data and system connectivity. 

There was discussion around how planned preventative maintenance can work alongside reactive and predictive maintenance and that, in fact, no approach should be used in isolation. Planned preventative maintenance can be used as a solid foundation for maintenance and used to gather a statistically robust level of data that will provide the intelligence to overlay condition based and predictive maintenance. The blend and type of maintenance approaches selected will be based on the individual objectives of a company and the nature of its operation. SFG20 are currently involved in a digitally led maintenance project with Avison Young and Omni, to identify the optimal areas for application of condition based maintenance.

A key challenge that is faced by the industry is that of budget constraints. Unfortunately, maintenance is an ‘unseen service’, until something goes wrong and thensaving cost it becomes a major issue! Asset lists are another challenge for the sector, as they are often rushed, and minimal effort is taken to compile them. It’s important to note that maintenance plans will only ever be as good as the data that goes into them, so it’s important to address this issue moving forward. Additionally, some companies are still managing their planned preventative maintenance from spreadsheets, resulting in inefficient work practices.

The role that risk plays when defining a maintenance strategy was also debated. Firstly, it is critical to understand the impact of asset failure within your business. Each building will have its own unique situation and requirements. For example, the areas and level of risk in a healthcare facility or prison will be quite different to that faced by a shopping centre or sports stadium. It’s important to consider what the implications are, and costs associated with asset failure in each building. No business will be able to move fully to condition based maintenance because there will always be statutory and regulatory maintenance requirements that need to be met. By using SFG20, you have a clear framework to start from. Each maintenance task is colour-coded, with red being the statutory tasks that must be completed to remain compliant with UK law.

To fully optimise a maintenance approach, a clear objective should be set. For example, to save money, to address compliance etc. and then the appropriate strategy developed to achieve that objective. Each maintenance approach will have its pro’s and con’s, meaning that a blended approach is typically optimal. 

You can watch the full webinar here 

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