How often do you PM a ....well, anything in your lab? More often than not, the answer will either be 'once a year' or 'never.' While the latter response may be due to budgetary constraints, or indifference, it is usually a recipe for disaster. Things break if you don't maintain them and they generally break when you need them the most. Periodic Maintenance (PM) is always a good idea, but back to my original question...how often? Most people choose to PM once a year because that is what the manufacturer recommends. However, this might not be the best strategy for your lab or a particular instrument as it does not take into account utilization. It goes without saying that something that is used everyday, or more than one shift per day will require more frequent PM's than something that is used occasionally. The challenge for many labs is just how to keep track of that utilization and how to pro-actively maintain based upon actual usage. Figuring that out will help forestall major failures on high usage instruments and also stretch support budgets for lesser used devices.
A recent report by Astea International Inc.(Horsham, PA) , a leading global provider of service management and mobile workforce management solutions titled "6 Biggest Field Service Trends To Watch Right Now" highlights a sea change shift in field service from reactive to pro-active. The report highlights the rapid adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) to enable field service organizations to remotely monitor client assets to create added value by scheduling maintenance based on performance degradation or utilization as opposed to "because the manual said so." Monitoring research lab instruments is very different than production equipment, but at the end of day, ensuring that instruments are properly maintained so that they are available when needed will always be a winning strategy.