When you’re setting maintenance goals for your department and then looking at the different ways you can reach them, a maintenance audit can be both an important first and  recurring step. 

It’s the same when you’re planning a path over a physical terrain. Before you can start moving in the right direction, you first need to know where you’re standing. And once you’re on the move, it pays to periodically recheck your bearings.

What is a maintenance audit? 

A maintenance audit is a formal process for collecting and evaluating objective data to determine if your maintenance processes are delivering what you need from them. You can see if you’re: 

  • Meeting both internal and external requirements 
  • Matching the right strategies to each asset 
  • Running your programs properly 

Basically, an audit is your chance to see if you have the right programs in place and if the maintenance team is following them. 

If you were running a kitchen, an audit would tell you if you had the right ingredients, recipes, and if your cooks were putting the dishes together properly. 

What are the types of maintenance audits? 

Although it’s possible to describe maintenance audits in broad strokes, you can also look at some of the more specific types, each with its own set of goals. 

Mandatory 

Here, government agencies charged with industry oversight perform an audit on your facilities and assets to ensure you comply with applicable regulations. It’s likely that auditors look at maintenance programs as one part of a larger examination of company policies and procedures. So, OSHA might come in for a safety audit, and part of that involves looking at how often the maintenance department schedules preventive maintenance inspections on equipment guardrails. It can also involve looking at the types of personal protection equipment you provide the maintenance techs. 

Voluntary 

Many organizations implement projects to obtain voluntary certificates. For example, ISO 55001, and asset management standard, and LEED, a green building standard. Although there is no requirement to have these certificates, companies seek them out for the competitive advantages they gain through “bragging rights.” 

Regardless of the type of certificate, most have initial and then ongoing audits, many of which involve systematic close looks at your maintenance programs. 

Internal 

Generally, internal audits are one part of larger efforts at continuous improvement, where your company is checking to make sure its processes are correct and that the team is following them correctly. Here, the goals are basically the same, but the standards and key performance indicators are all internal. 

Why are maintenance audits important? 

They’re important because of the value they deliver, including visibility, protection, and accountability. 

Working through an audit helps you gain a more complete understanding of not only what your maintenance programs look like in theory but also how well your team is putting everything into action in reality, giving you opportunities to fine-tune everything from schedules to standard operating procedures. You can also use audits to protect your company from regulatory fines and litigation stemming from safety issues. And because the results are objective, they help create accountability throughout the department. Once you know that the team is not meeting maintenance maintenance  KPIs, you can start to ask why. 

What should you cover in a maintenance audit? 

You want to strike a balance between auditing as much as possible while also staying focused on the areas that are the most important. Each audit differs by who’s conducting it and why, but generally, an audit includes examining: 

  • Safety 
  • Planning 
  • Scheduling 
  • Training 
  • Documents 
  • Policies 
  • Practices 

So, during a maintenance audit, you can look at what documents you have on hand, how recent they are, how safely you have them stored, and how easily the team can access them. Documents can include everything from operation and maintenance manuals, schematics and diagrams, written SOPs for common maintenance inspections and tasks, maintenance checklists, and even warranties. You also need to look at how well the team is putting your program into action, which means you need to review your word orders, both on-demand and scheduled, as well as your inventory. 

How does an EAM help you with maintenance audits? 

The combination of a central database and powerful reporting features in an enterprise asset management (EAM) solution can help you at every step of a maintenance audit. 

Know what you have 

A good EAM solution makes it much easier to conduct the audit because you already have all the data you need in one spot, where it’s safe, secure, and accessible. Instead of spending time chasing down everything from SOPs to warranties, checklists to old inventory purchase orders, everything is already right where you need it. 

If during the audit you find gaps in what you should have, you can add them to the system, ensuring you won’t lose them. 

And because everything is inside one central database in digital format, you don’t have to worry about wasting time moving back and forth between formats. It takes a lot more time to match paper work orders to SOP PDFs. Everything is faster when all your data lives inside the same system. 

Know what you did

An EAM is the perfect place for all your policies, procedures, and programs. But that only covers the “what should be” of your maintenance efforts. And during an audit, you also need to look at the “what was,” which includes all your historical work orders, regardless of which maintenance strategies they fall under. 

With the EAM’s built-in reporting module, you can quickly and reliably spin raw data into maintenance metrics and KPIs, which are what you need to see if your maintenance programs are working the way you need them to be. For example, your failure metrics reveal how quickly the team reacts to failures and how long their repairs last before assets fail again. Collectively, your work orders tell you which assets are costing you most to keep up and running, as well as how well the team is keeping up with scheduled inspections and tasks. 

Next steps

To find out how EAM software can support your goals, schedule a demo of ManagerPlus Lightning today.

CEO summary 

A maintenance audit is a systematic process for collecting and evaluating objective data related to your maintenance program and how well it is delivering the results you need. There are many types of audits, and auditors often look at maintenance programs as part of larger audits. In some cases, the auditors are regulatory bodies. For example, OSHA. There are also voluntary audits where a company wants to meet certificate requirements for a competitive advantage. With internal audits, your organization can look at what programs you have in place and how well the team is putting policies and procedures into practice. The advantages of maintenance audits include better visibility on maintenance activities, protection from fines and litigation due to safety lapses, and overall accountability. With modern EAM software, you can make every step of a maintenance audit easier. Because all your data is in one central database, it’s much easier to examine it, as well as find and fill gaps. And because the software comes with powerful reporting features, you can track metrics and KPIs to see how well the maintenance team is putting your programs into practice. 

About the author

Jonathan Davis

Jonathan has been covering asset management, maintenance software, and SaaS solutions since joining Hippo CMMS. Prior to that, he wrote for textbooks and video games.
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