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Maintenance Procedures and Their Importance

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Procedures, in the broadest sense, are the way something is performed, that is, a technique, process, or method of work. In industrial environments, these tools are widely used in the search for certain patterns of routine tasks and execution.

It’s common for people to refer to procedures as work instructions, which they are, but technically there’s a difference. 

A procedure is a description of the activities involved in the flow of a job. In other words, it’s a macro and standardized script of all the activities of a process. And the Work Instruction (WI) is a detailed description of a single activity.

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A more extensive document

You need to have a standard maintenance procedure to keep a correct maintenance of machines, and also the safety of your staff. It’s a document, a maintenance program per say, that contains “step-by-step” instructions on how to perform tasks correctly and efficiently.

Procedures help you optimize and organize your production line

When we talk about procedures, it’s basically listing the step-by-step of something macro of the management system. For example, how should we proceed when carrying out activities in the company’s substation area?

In this case, we have a standard operating procedure for doing this. Regardless of what will be done, the document it’s broad enough for you to know how to act if you ever need to go in there.

Now let’s illustrate another task, in the same substation: the replacement of a faulty circuit breaker. 

In this case, it’s something specific that requires something like a work instruction. In both situations, the purpose of the document is the same. Meaning that you have to establish how the task should be conducted when your team performs any type of maintenance.

Learn how to create a Preventive Maintenance Plan

How important are procedures?

First of all, we must keep in mind that it’s necessary to establish a policy that governs their use and how to deal with possible deviations. Normally, the company’s quality area is in charge of these policies. And for each new one, all maintenance team involved must be informed and trained on the procedure.

How to achieve World Class Maintenance (WCM) in your industrial plant?

Maintenance procedures or even work instructions are extremely important and must identify pre-conditions, precautions and provide clear instructions so that the work to be done doesn’t deviate. 

All this to ensure that the flow is carried out in accordance with your operations’ strategy. To perform maintenance, the procedures must be technically accurate, properly verified, validated, authorized and reviewed.

Initially, we can classify them into two types:

  • Management;
  • Legal. 
Two types of procedures

Management Procedures

For management, we can develop some procedures to establish a pattern of important activities, such as:

Expense control (direct purchases and stock): an important document to demonstrate the seriousness and commitment the team has when it comes to expenses. In this procedure, we can define how to control the emission, follow-up and receipt of direct purchase requests. And in the case of stock parts and supplies, it’s possible to establish how the use of these resources should be. In both cases, it’s necessary to determine both the responsibilities and the documents necessary for the flow of these activities.

Failure analysis: important document with certain assumptions of when and how to carry out failure analysis. Define the entire flow of this activity, responsible parties, and deadlines, among other things.

Preventive plans: the definition of how scheduled maintenance and predictive maintenance is handled. It’s an important document that meets the ISO 9001 standard, as it specifies how maintenance addresses asset needs.

Legal Order Procedures

Here the procedures meet some regulatory or legal standards. Without them, accidents or disasters could compromise the company. We can name a few:

Contingency plans: some standards such as ISO 9001 and IATF 16949 establish that you need for a contingency plan. In other words, a method must be developed on how to act in situations of great impact on your manufacturing operations.  

Safety inspections: in this case, they’re the appropriate procedures to meet legal inspection requirements, sustained by regulations. For example, there are the inspections defined in NR-13 regarding pressure vessels and boilers. 

How to prepare a procedure?

Regardless of the activities to be executed, work procedures normally have a well used format. This is what we call nomenclature, a standard format for entering the necessary information, including images. 

The following, in order, are the items that must constitute a procedure:

• Header/title of the procedure;
• Glossary (terms and acronyms);
• Goal (purpose of the procedure);
• Reference documents (laws, instructions, etc);
• Area(s) and function(s) involved;
• Description of activities;
• Relevant observations;
• Forms and documents related to any of the activities;
• Flowcharts (even if unnecessary, you should insert for related topics);
• Footer (date, procedure creator, approval and revision dates).

Having a Maintenance Software serves as an alternative for companies that want to be one step ahead. With a personalized CMMS, operation management can be tailored. And, as a result, the manager will have a better view of both the plant and activities.

With TracOS, TRACTIAN customized CMMS, it is much easier to perform maintenance procedures

With a platform like this, you can better monitor maintenance processes, asset management, and your team. Additionally, produce accurate data, optimize routines, and make assertive decisions without having to interrupt your production. 

With the help of a specific software, it’s possible to analyze data to better manage the service and make reports. That way, you’ll have more control to see how you’re spending money and create standard procedures, guaranteeing the maximum level of quality in your processes.

Don’t waste more time: talk to one of our experts and take your maintenance to the next level. 

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About the author:

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Luis Cyrino

Industrial training consultant and instructor at Manutenção em Foco, graduated in Business Administration, post-graduated in Engineering and Innovation and MBA in Business Management at FGV. Maintenance Management and content production specialist, focused on the industrial and agribusiness sectors.

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