A First-Hand Perspective: Preventative Maintenance At Food And Beverage Manufacturing Plants

A project manager's perspective on preventative maintenance at manufacturing plants.

When project manager Theresa D'Amato (PMP, SSGB) worked for a large confectionary company, the plant experienced excessive downtime, which the maintenance force was in a consistent reactive state to resolve. Many food and beverage manufacturers will face a similar challenge. 

Setting aside time to repair and maintain equipment is essential because plants are automating process lines. But many do not want to sacrifice production time to carry out the necessary repair works. 

“Maintenance is often looked upon as an unnecessary cost because production pays the bills. The result is very expensive machine breakdowns, which could cause extended downtime,” says D’Amato, Project Manager at Kerry Foods.

The solution, from her perspective, is teamwork and commitment, working together to eliminate reactive maintenance and increase equipment uptime. At the confectionary company, D'Amato convinced her manager to hold weekly meetings to discuss which equipment was due for preventative maintenance. She worked with the mechanic to identify the downtime issues and what equipment parts were needed. It was a great success story: downtime was reduced across the plant.

Manufacturing companies need to understand that maintenance is "a necessary evil but pays off greatly," she urges.

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