ENTOUCH Smart Building Solutions

Role of Predictive Maintenance in Managing Weather-Related Disruptions

Weather-related disruption sits on the top 10 list of major disruptions to business. Depending on the average number of customers visiting a location per day, the impact from weather-related disruptions can be severe. In cases of extreme weather, disruptions may last days, if not weeks, and Facilities Managers need to understand how predictive maintenance can aid in preparation for such events.

Weather-Related Disruptions Are Typically Associated with Reactive Maintenance

The 2018 hurricane season seems to be off to a strong start. Before the end of May, the National Weather Service had already issued tropical warnings along the coast of Florida, reports the Los Angeles Times, and the first name on this year’s list had already been used. Weather-related disruptions are traditionally associated with reactive maintenance. Facilities Managers do not know when weather will disrupt operations, but that does not mean predictive maintenance lacks value.

Predictive Maintenance and Managing Weather-Related Disruptions Reduce Risk

Take a moment to consider the biggest costs associated with weather-related disruption, repairs to existing systems. Unfortunately, existing systems, which may be functioning fine, could actually be a step away from total failure with minor issues. Temporary power outages, sudden surges in power, like those occurred when lightning strikes a building, or flooding could result in severe disruptions to the company. However, predictive maintenance allows Facilities Managers to keep existing assets in the best possible condition.

As a result, emergency services can focus on recovery, not correcting issues that were one step away from disaster. This effectively reduces risk for fire and additional disruptions after the storm passes. Furthermore, predictive maintenance is based on the use of analytics and data tracking, which have implications for weather monitoring as well. Essentially, Facilities Managers can identify possible impacts from weather-related events through analytics, reports FMLink.

How to Use Predictive Maintenance to Prevent Weather-Related Disruption

Although monitoring weather data can reduce risk of weather-related disruptions, Facilities Managers need to know how to use predictive maintenance to prevent such disruption. Predictive maintenance involves using information to reduce disruptions and improve facility assets. Some examples and best practices might include:

  • Information from historical records about disruption, such as flooding records for a given area, can be used to identify ways to reduce impact to a given facility. This could include the creation of permanent barriers, comparable to a fence, that could be filled in event of higher coastal waters.
  • Automated, wooden shutters could be used to prevent broken glass from high winds, water and debris.
  • Sensors deployed throughout the facility to monitor inventory, especially perishable inventory, in the immediate aftermath of a disaster or other event.
  • Notification systems to encourage occupants to take cover or evacuate a building, if necessary. This may be of use in both coastal areas and areas prone to severe weather, especially tornadoes and large hail.
  • Security systems to reduce looting or unauthorized entry, which may include CCTV and on-site personnel.

In a sense, all weather-response planning for facilities management may be considered a part of predictive maintenance.

Plan for Weather-Related Disruption to Reduce Risk and Impact Now

Disruptions can cost a company much more than just temporary closures. Customer relationships could be permanently damaged, and inability to return to regular operations could result in lost competitive advantage, as well as inventory damage. However, a predictive maintenance program could help your organization survive weather-related events and stay in tip-top shape.