The four large air compressors supplying plant air have suffered numerous breakdowns over the past year. The manufacturer sent an engineer whose report made several claims about maintenance deficiencies.

A few years ago, plant air maintenance was a senior tech job, and you performed much of that maintenance. Through a series of "cost-savings" measures and "best practices," the maintenance became a "paint-by-numbers" entry-level task.

Using the CMMS, you review the maintenance data and everything looks good. Your boss doesn't believe the manufacturer is just avoiding warranty issues and wants you to dig deeper. Where should you start?

A company should never try to save money by lowering the qualifications for maintaining critical equipment. Use the downtime data to get this role upgraded back to senior tech.

Sometimes maintenance departments inadvertently supply a CMMS with bad data. Review the procedures; look for any "check-off-the-box" items. Change them to measurement data items. For example, change the "oil pressure OK" checkbox to a field for the actual oil pressure. This forces the tech to measure rather than assume, and it provides data you can trend or analyze. For example, if the oil pressure is OK but a little lower with each PM, then you have an emerging problem.

Do a full PM and modify the procedure so every necessary step is included. With a good procedure and qualified maintenance techs doing the PM, the maintenance deficiencies and their downtime will fade to a distant memory.