Maintenance of cleaning equipment has always been part of the cost of doing business, but preventative maintenance can actually have a positive result on a manager’s bottom line. Preventative maintenance can impact productivity, efficiency and sustainability, as well as result in a cleaner facility.

Many custodial departments operate under the assumption that there is a preventative maintenance plan in place. For example, managers assume that workers clean equipment filters when dirty, or at least according to the frequency suggested in the equipment manual. Doing so is important to extending the life of equipment, but a true preventative maintenance program will often include more than what’s recommended by manufacturers. It should be designed to reduce equipment failures, reduce repair costs, reduce production downtime and reduce the potential deterioration of equipment.

“A scheduled maintenance plan will not only keep machines running at optimal levels, but preventative maintenance will also allow for the possibility of finding and fixing small problems before they become inhibitive to the overall function of the machine,” says Cory Bohlman, service manager at Bruco, Inc., in Billings, Montana.

Develop A Plan

Glenn Rothstein, president of Bio-Shine, Spotswood, New Jersey, compares preventative maintenance for floor equipment to that of car care.

“If you provide preventative maintenance to your vehicle, it will perform as designed for a long period of time,” he explains. “The same is true for floor equipment. Every machine requires ongoing maintenance — greasing, flushing with vinegar, rotating squeegee blades, replacing filters, etc.”

Formulating a good preventative maintenance program for cleaning equipment is a process. Bohlman advises that managers begin by asking — and honestly answering — the following questions:
• Will the machine be maintained in-house or by an outside party?
• How often will equipment be seen and evaluated?
• What type of budget will be spent on maintaining the equipment?
• Which machines will be included in the plan?
• Who is accountable for maintaining the machine between scheduled visits?

Once these questions are answered and a preventative maintenance plan has been developed, it is important that managers keep track of maintenance records.

According to Jon Scoles, president of Scoles Floorshine Industries, Wall, New Jersey, “You should keep a log. Whether you do this manually or with a software program, the tracking needs to record who used the equipment, when and how long it was used, and when maintenance had last been performed on that particular piece of equipment.”

He adds that inattention to maintenance can have a domino effect and result in a poor return on investment. 

“Poorly maintained records can cost the organization in the form of downtime for the repair of the equipment,” says Scoles. “Additional labor might be required to correct for the deficiency, and maintenance might take longer before the machine is ready to function properly.”

Distributors agree that a piece of equipment that breaks down due to lack of scheduled maintenance is an unnecessary lack of foresight on the part of departmental managers.

“Cleaning personnel are now forced to spend extra time doing the same job,” says Bohlman. “Floors are not getting as clean, which can lead to a less than desirable perception and complaints by building occupants.”

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Maintenance Tips for Floor Equipment