Work Smarter, Not Harder – Optimizing Fan Maintenance With A CMMS

fan maintenance

On an icy, gray, cold winter day, your maintenance department receives communication from an employee that a bathroom does not seem to have the proper ventilation. Well, doesn’t that just stink?

A technician is dispatched, travels to the location, ascends to the roof area, and opens up that bathroom’s exhaust fan to find that the v-belt which turns the exhaust fan has broken. “Surprise, surprise!” With freezing wind battering on him, the technician grabs the broken v-belt with its valuable replacement information hopefully still readable on its side, and travels to the storage room and starts sifting through hundreds of v-belts hoping to win the v-belt lottery to find the particularly needed replacement belt. It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

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Spare Parts Inventory

After a fruitless search for a very needed belt, the technician gives up and gets in a company vehicle and drives out to a local supplier, and thankfully, they have the needed v-belt in stock. The technician travels back through snow and wind to his work location, ascends to the roof via an icy-covered exterior ladder, and replaces the v-belt in the dark of winter. Crisis averted. The bathroom has nice fresh air to breathe again.

Does this sound like a typical day in the life of a maintenance technician? It really should not. But, unfortunately, this type of situation comes up regularly in the maintenance industry but there are a few ways this situation could have been handled much better. We need to work smarter, not harder.

Preventive Maintenance 

Of course, any maintenance manager worth a pound of beans knows that preventative maintenance needs to be scheduled on exhaust fans. Everyone knows that v-belts on exhaust fans do not last forever. For gosh sake, if you let them sit in your stock room long enough, they will start cracking and crumbling all by themselves. And who wants to make your poor maintenance technician climb that exterior roof ladder 20 separate times, probably on a freezing winter evening or on a sweltering hot summer afternoon or during a thunderstorm or during an ice storm, just to service each broken fan individually? I wonder if they have DYFS for maintenance technicians? It just makes life so much easier to schedule preventative maintenance so that your poor, hard-working maintenance technician can stroll up onto that roof on a beautiful spring sunny day and change all the belts on all those fans in one shot. One trip, not 20 trips, in beautiful weather rather than in icy, windy frigid, winter weather. Hey, you can even schedule the preventative maintenance for early-late fall nights when the red moon is out and the stars are shining bright. How romantic would that be?

The Solution To The Problem

But there is an even better way this situation could have been handled. Using a handy dandy magnetic hook, each exhaust fan could have a replacement belt stored inside the actual unit itself just waiting for a customer to call about a stinky bathroom. I ask you, is there a better place you could possibly store this belt? And when everything is working smoothly, on the next PM, that storage belt hanging inside the exhaust will be utilized to replace the old existing v-belt while a newly purchased v-belt will reserve its new spot on your handy dandy magnetic hook, stored inside the actual exhaust fan, just waiting to jump onto those pulleys in the event of an unexpected v-belt breakage. This keeps your v-belts fresh and ready to go when you need them. You know, those same v-belts that love to turn into cracked-up, a crumbling string of rubber when you leave them on your stockroom shelf too long, Who would think that v-belts have a shelf life?

In the stinky event that an exhaust fan blows out a belt in-between your scheduled preventative maintenance work, the technician can quickly ascend the roof and immediately utilize the replacement belt hanging inside the unit to get the unit back up and running quickly. A replacement storage belt can be ordered without having to make a special trip, and arrive from your supplier with the regularly scheduled deliveries he is already making. That new v-belt can be placed into the exhaust fan as a backup storage belt on the next scheduled PM or maybe on a beautiful, romantic late fall evening with the moon shining and the stars twinkling away.

Optimizing Maintenance Operations

And if you crawl out of the stone ages and decided to actually do all the above smarter steps using a CMMS to schedule your preventative maintenance and to track your equipment history, spare parts, and all your vendors, that would make things even easier when future breakdowns will occur. All that information will be waiting at your fingertips. When things go wrong, all the information you need will be waiting for you inside your CMMS, whether you sitting in a comfortable chair in a beautiful, environmentally controlled office by your desktop computer or whether you are shivering in the icy cold fumbling for your smartphone on top a roof in the middle of the winter. A properly configured and utilized CMMS can actually make everyone’s life in and out of your maintenance department much easier.

CMMS systems have a real reputation for being a bean counter tool. And when setting them up initially, one may even conjure up nightmares of consultant vampires flocking to your company to suck as much money out of your organization as they can get their grimy little hands on. And there are consultant teams like that out there just looking for their next victim. But it does not have to be that way. A properly configured CMMS will serve your maintenance technicians and should not be a slave master to your hard-working technicians. Those guys want to turn wrenches and not count beans. With eWorkOrders, we will quickly get you set up and running, without any vampires. And we will show you, from our decades of experience, just how our software can make everyone’s life easier. Think smarter, not harder. It’s that simple.

GetApp Category Leader Award for CMMS, Preventive Maintenance, Fixed Asset Management, Work Order, Fleet Maintenance, and Facility Management      #1 Rated Maintenance System for CyberSecurity      Capterra Shortlist Award for CMMS, EAM, Asset Tracking, Fixed Asset Management, Fleet Maintenance, Facility Management, Field Service Management, and Preventive Maintenance