The dictionary defines maintenance as follows: The work of keeping something in proper condition; upkeep? In the equipment world, this would suggest that maintenance should be the steps taken to prevent equipment from failing. The problem is a majority of companies wait for equipment failure to occur and then take whatever steps are necessary to repair or replace the equipment. This is known as reactive maintenance. preventative maintenance sign, mobile data collection, reducing equipment failure.
Difficulties of Relying on Reactive Maintenance
Reactively performed maintenance is the notion of reacting to failed equipment as it happens and restoring it to its normal condition. Studies indicate this is still the predominant mode of maintenance in the USA, with over 55% of facilities using it as their maintenance program. The advantages of performing maintenance in a reactive manner are that there are observable, lower initial costs and fewer full-time service or repair technicians. This reactive method, however, can be a very costly way to operate. The lower initial costs will be offset by higher long-term costs as the lifetime of the equipment is shortened and replacements are more frequent.
Reduce Equipment Failure
Equipment failures can happen at any time, resulting in unprepared technicians and resources. This can affect a company’s budget, timeline, and reputation. If the equipment is operated to failure, it increases the chances of a primary device failure causing an additional secondary device failure. With unpredictable equipment breakdowns (often at the most inconvenient times and places), a large parts inventory will be required on-site. In the long term, reactive maintenance programs actually end up costing the organization more on parts and labor, but with a more focused strategy, these costs can be avoided.
Avoid Equipment Failures Through Preventative Maintenance
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a preventative maintenance program will have an estimated 12% to 18% in cost savings over a reactive maintenance program. It is designed to prevent and mitigate equipment and system breakdowns by running on a schedule in accordance with manufacture suggestions, thus extending the potential lifespan. As with all equipment operations, belts need to be tightened, the oil needs to be checked/changed, and moving parts need to be lubricated. These tasks are often outlined by a company’s protocol but left to the discretion of the operator. A preventative strategy should make these tasks visible to management and service technicians to instill a sense of accountability in completing each task. Working conditions and the geographical location of equipment are important to record as this can affect the frequency of maintenance needed. Collecting this information in the field and recording it digitally, allows you to view the maintenance history of each asset and to track any recurring problems. This is most effectively done by using preventative maintenance software. It’s also a quick way to build an accurate preventative maintenance procedure/schedule and share it across the company.
Benefits of Completing Proactive Maintenance
A good preventative strategy will improve the reliability of equipment, resulting in less unexpected downtime. It will also allow for forecasting service times and scheduling your maintenance around your workload. By employing a mobile preventative maintenance program, the understanding of forecasting and scheduling by decision-makers is greatly increased. Knowing exactly when maintenance is going to occur allows a company to stock the appropriate amount of inventory, which will prevent the resulting cost of overstocking, or of running out of parts and having to pay a premium to complete a maintenance task. Making the proper lubrication and filter changes in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendation will actually increase energy savings on fuel consumption and boost productivity. Lastly, a huge benefit of creating a proactive maintenance strategy is the ability to budget and plan weeks, or even months in advance for jobs.
Know in Advance: How Mobile Data Collection Can Help Schedule Proactive Maintenance
Data collection on paper is better than simply guessing when maintenance should occur, but this often leads to following a reactive schedule. To truly be able to schedule properly timed maintenance, we must understand each asset’s specific status. A mobile data collection system can be the key to accomplishing this, employing an effective scheduled maintenance program thus being able to reduce equipment failure.