Why operator input is critical to planned maintenance

You already know that your employees are one of your most critical resources. They are the ones that keep inventory flowing and equipment running. But did you know they also play a critical role in preventing unplanned downtime?

The people who work in your warehouse provide unparalleled insight into the health of your material handling equipment. No one knows the lift trucks, dock doors, conveyors and racking systems better than the operators who use them on a daily basis.

Operator feedback is becoming more widely recognized as a valuable resource throughout the materials handling industry, as important to equipment development and design as "cost and practicality," according to Modern Materials Handling. Now that equipment manufacturers are beginning to take feedback into consideration, this may ultimately lead to better products that support employee health, comfort and safety.

Taking a similar approach by encouraging employee feedback regarding various equipment issues can help you resolve problems faster and prevent failure-related unplanned downtime.

Early detection is key to failure prevention

Lift truck operators are trained on their responsibilities, including the daily vehicle inspection. There's a reason for this regular review: It allows the driver to recognize problems and implement a fix as soon as possible. Drivers must always have confidence that the trucks they operate are safe.

A similar approach can be taken with other pieces of equipment too. While certain items may not experience the same heavy use as a forklift, and therefore don't require frequent inspection, regular reviews allow employees to detect and resolve problems quickly. Beyond scheduled equipment checks, facilities benefit from implementing systems and procedures that report intelligently on any needed maintenance tasks. Alerting the organization that a piece of equipment isn't operating as it should is the first step in resolving the problem and avoiding an equipment failure later on.

No reporting program would be complete without clear guidance on what employees should look for in the equipment they use. While they may understand the basic behaviors of the equipment they interact with, employees might not know which symptoms signal a major issue. A comprehensive training programs and accessible equipment histories are both important cornerstones of a safe and efficient facility.

Facility managers must promptly respond to feedback

Not all facility managers utilize their employees' firsthand knowledge to their advantage. Unfortunately, there are times when operator feedback is overlooked, or acted on promptly only when there is a spelled-out grievance or a clear risk of lost production. Anytime a piece of equipment isn't getting the attention and maintenance it requires, businesses risk lowered productivity.

Taking operator feedback seriously is critical to the success of a reporting system. Facility managers should act on reported concerns of equipment malfunction and demonstrate appreciation to the employee for his or her feedback. By showing that employee reports are valuable to your company, you encourage workers to continue bringing attention to issues within the facility.

Employee knowledge informs service professionals

When your facility calls on a facility maintenance provider like Miner to address a particular issue, a service professional goes to your location to check out the problem. You team is one of the most informative resources for maintenance professionals attending your site. By relaying their experiences with troublesome pieces of equipment and pertinent details about how they're used and how the problem was identified, the service professional can get a more holistic view of the problem. Ultimately, this can help resolve the issue faster and with greater accuracy.

If your facility's equipment maintenance program could use a tune-up, reach out to Miner. We can help you plan scheduled maintenance and implement fixes quickly and intelligently.