Plant Maintenance is an integral part of the logistics function and in SAP it is fully integrated with other components including Materials Management (MM) and Production (PP). Every business that has a manufacturing operation will have implemented some level of maintenance functionality to keep its production facility operating efficiency. In SAP, the plant maintenance function covers three areas of maintenance; inspection, prevention, and repair. The inspection process identifies the condition of the equipment at the time of inspection. The preventive maintenance process is used to keep items at their in good condition and within operating tolerances. The repair process is required when equipment needs to be restored to its optimal operating condition.
Preventive maintenance is a schedule of planned maintenance which is aimed at the prevention of equipment breakdowns and failures at the plant. The goal of any preventive maintenance program is to prevent the failure of equipment before it actually occurs. If not, then this can cause a loss of production and unavoidable customer delivery delays, which in turn can cause negative customer satisfaction. A preventive maintenance program will ensure plant equipment reliability by replacing equipment component before their failure, which is cheaper than having to repair equipment after an unexpected failure or breakdown.
The maintenance department should produce a maintenance plan that will schedule the maintenance of equipment in the facility. Vendors will produce guidelines on at what period equipment should be inspected. These can be minor inspections or major teardowns. The maintenance department has to create a plan that looks at all the required maintenance of the equipment at the plant along with the resources available. Based on that information, the maintenance plan will ensure that the equipment is maintained in order to reduce or eliminate unscheduled breakdowns.
When the plan is created, the maintenance department will review the plan and every few days they will release the schedule and create maintenance orders based on the work to be performed. The schedule will also look at maintenance orders that have been created due to unscheduled failures. Sometimes parts for the planned maintenance are late to arrive from the supplier, so the schedule has to be modified to take this into account.
In maintenance processing, there are two major components; the maintenance notification and the maintenance order.
- Maintenance Notification - This is used when there is a problem with a piece of equipment at the plant or if a part is needed for a machine, but there is no actual failure. An operator in the facility may find that a piece of equipment is not working correctly, so he enters a notification in the system. The notification can contain any information that relates to how the item has performed in the past, such as unscheduled failures and breakdowns, as well as any other relevant maintenance information.
- Maintenance Order - This is the trigger for the maintenance work to be completed. The order can be converted from a notification, from a maintenance plan, or an order can be entered without either. The maintenance order contains details of the tasks to be performed including the required dates and resources. When the maintenance technician performs the tasks in the order, they will enter the time they spent on each task, they will enter the items they used to fix the piece of equipment, enter any measurements if they had to test the item to make sure it was within tolerance, and any information about why they think that the equipment failed. When the order is completed, the final costing of the maintenance performed can be calculated.