Preventative maintenance—also known as planned maintenance, scheduled maintenance, or simply "PM"—is a critical component of foodservice equipment ownership. Unfortunately, preventative maintenance is often delayed or forgotten. While preventative maintenance won't prevent all unexpected repairs or equipment downtime, overall it can extend the life of your equipment and allow you to get the most out of your money, all while keeping your staff, product, and customers safer.
What It Is
Preventative maintenance is simply maintenance performed on a regular basis. You typically don't need a toolbox full of expensive tools, and you don't need a technician's knowledge on equipment repair. Manufacturers make your life easier by printing the needed maintenance in your owner's manual. Follow these instructions and you should see your equipment operating more efficiently and consistently.
Much of preventative maintenance involves cleaning, as well as disassembling parts of the equipment in order for you to remove and sanitize them. Often these are areas that come into contact with food—crumbs, grease, and other gunk can build up over time, making your equipment work harder to heat or cool, creating potentially unsafe hazards for staff, or undercooking your food due to low heat. In other cases, mineral deposits or even bacteria can accumulate in your equipment (like your ice machine), so flushing it with the proper cleaning solution can clear the lines and give you a safer, better product to serve to your customers.
Who Can Do It
Who should be performing preventative maintenance depends on the equipment and the level of effort needed. Standard, simple cleaning procedures can be done by the entire staff, but for expensive equipment requiring careful disassembly, it may be best to leave this responsibility to supervisors, managers, or owners. The best way to assign who should do what and to avoid confusion is to have a detailed maintenance schedule for the entire staff.
Some equipment's preventative maintenance procedures may involve working around gas or electricity, so if you are unsure or apprehensive around these sources, contact your local service technician. Most service companies offer a preventative maintenance package with periodic, scheduled visits to inspect and maintain your equipment.
Genuine OEM Parts
An equipment's preventative maintenance's procedure will often require replacing parts—gaskets, switches, lightbulbs, filters, or blades—and it's critical to use only genuine OEM (original equipment manufacturer) replacement parts approved by the manufacturer. OCM (original component manufacturer) and generic parts may look the same and be less expensive, but they do not come with the manufacturer's testing and guarantee, and they put your equipment and your equipment operators at risk. OCM and generic parts may also fail or need replacing more than genuine OEM parts, so buy the correct part the first time.
3Wire is the foodservice industry's leader in genuine OEM maintenance and repair parts. Shop 3Wire.com where you have access to parts from hundreds of the top equipment manufacturers.