When was the last time you had a lubrication-related failure with one of your machines? Is something like this a regular occurrence? If so, something needs to be done about your lubrication management program (LMP).
While many companies don’t view lubrication as a top priority, the opposite is true – proper lubrication practices keep your machines from breaking down.In reality, having a consistent, organized LMP actually does much more than just prevent breakdowns. In addition to extending the life and up-time of your machines, following a consistent LMP can lead to better production quality, decreased MRO costs (maintenance, repair, and operations), improved efficiency, and simply fewer headaches. Problem is, even when companies understand the importance of lubrication, they still might not have the time or resources to commit to their own LMP—putting their problems on the back burner all over again.
Despite the misconception that outsourcing your lubrication management is more expensive than it’s worth, outsourcing your LMP to a third-party can actually save you money in the long run—all while maximizing your efficiency, product quality, and profits. If you’re struggling to keep up with your own LMP, but still want to maintain your preventative maintenance, the 5 indicators below are a good sign that you should outsource your lubrication management.
1) You have assets that you ignore from a lubrication standpoint because there isn’t enough time.
Recently, on a visit to one of our client’s facilities, we were shocked to hear how they handled their lubrication maintenance. Each machine in their facility was classified based on its criticality, with the bottom three classes (least critical) simply being ignored from a lubrication standpoint. Lubricating these machines was deemed more trouble than what it was worth essentially, but when several small problems pile up with these machines, they can quickly turn into big problems. If you’re getting to the point where you’re completely ignoring preventative maintenance procedures, because you simply don’t have enough time, it’s time to take things seriously and consider outsourcing.
2) Your component failure rate is unusually high compared to the lifecycle guidelines given by the component manufacturer (bearings, pumps, etc.).
It’s inevitable that machines will break down, that’s for sure. However, if yours are breaking down at a higher than normal rate, something is obviously wrong. If you don’t have the resources or time to address these problems in-house, you’re only costing yourself more money by doing nothing or even taking the minimal steps of action. If you continually have operational downtime due to lubricated component failure, outsourcing your lubrication management can eliminate these problems and keep your production running at its projected levels.
3) You don’t have specific, documented lubrication procedures for each of your machines.
We often encounter companies who are doing some level of lubrication management, but it’s often a bare bones plan with a “use as needed” policy. Nothing is documented in terms of how to store, refill, or replace lubricants; it’s typically just a few people who were shown how to change the fluids once or twice, and they’ve been doing it that way (as needed) ever since. If someone were to forget which fluid is used in which machine, however, and decided to go with one they thought was correct, they could do some serious damage to your machine if their gut feeling is wrong. Regardless of how many times you’ve done it without making mistakes in the past, all it takes is one slip up to potentially cause thousands of dollars in damage, and it can all be avoided by following the same documented procedure every time. By outsourcing your lubrication management needs, you can be assured that lubrication specialists will not only create documented procedures, but follow them as well.
4) You view lubrication as a “glide into retirement” position that any worker can do.
Another trend we often see with companies is that they underestimate the importance of lubrication and the attention to detail that it requires. Keeping track of machine health, knowing when to change fluids, and knowing which fluids to use is no easy task—especially in plants with hundreds of machines that need monitoring. Taking a lackadaisical approach to lubrication only leads to the other problems mentioned on this list, and you don’t want to go down that road. Outsource your lubrication needs to lubrication specialists so they can handle all tricky nuances of lubrication, while your employees can focus on their own responsibilities.
5) You’re spending money on lubrication, but aren’t getting the desired results.
For plant managers, there’s nothing more frustrating than investing the time and resources to do something the right way, only to find out that things aren’t exactly working like they’re supposed to. With lubrication, it’s especially frustrating, because your machines can break down at any moment, despite you thinking they’re in good health. By outsourcing your lubrication management to a reliable contract lubrication service, they can diagnose what’s going wrong, provide an audit of your processes and procedures, and help you start experiencing those benefits that you’re paying for.
At U.S. Lubricants, we know just how important a comprehensive LMP is when it comes to maximizing machine health, productivity, and ultimately cost-savings. That’s why we partnered with AMMRI to form Precision Lubrication Services, Inc. (PLSI) to provide the best possible contract lubrication service. By relying on a third-party like PLSI to develop the best possible LMP for your machines and operational needs, we’ll provide a week long, in-depth audit of your plant procedures, which includes:
- A review and assessment of your rotating equipment
- Component replacement costs and rates gathered from customer records
- A review of preventative and predictive maintenance procedures/activities
- Observation and documentation of material and fluid handling from delivery all the way to application
- A review of your machine criticality assessment (if available)
- A review and assessment of your predictive technology, especially fluid analysis procedures
- Interviews with all parties involved in the process, from lube technicians to senior plant management
- A cost calculation of component replacement and fluid usage
- And much more
After the audit is complete, our team will provide a 5-year net present value (NPV) assessment as part of our comprehensive report. All generalized recommended capital improvements are calculated into this NPV assessment, and this report is to be reviewed with the senior and plant management on the last day of our audit. For some companies, they can even expect to save over $750,000 over a 5-year span!
If your company wants to see real, documentable cost-savings with their lubrication program, but don’t have time our resources to give it the attention it needs, U.S. Lubricants and PLSI can work with you to develop and execute the ideal LMP for your company. Once our audit is complete and program is in place, our team of expert lubricant technicians will work diligently to ensure your machines are running to perfection, and they’re always ready to answer your questions and solve any problems. It’s that combination of dedication, expertise, and service that sets them apart from other contract lubrication services, and we’d be happy to show you what we’re all about.
For more information about how U.S. Lubricants can help you outsource your plants lubrication needs, make sure you read our past articles on LMPs, and please contact Tony Springer at TSpringer@uslube.com or by phone at (800) 490-4900 ext. 8823 if you have any questions.