Reducing Your Company’s Dependence on Reactive Maintenance

Many companies are moving away from reactive maintenance and towards preventive maintenance. There are plenty of reasons for doing so.

For starters, preventive maintenance is an effective method of getting more out of a company’s assets while preventing unforeseen breakdowns that hamper operations.

However, moving away from reactive maintenance entirely is not realistic and not advisable. Through proper planning, reactive maintenance can become an integral part of your company’s overall maintenance scheme.

A place for reactive maintenance

Why do some firms still adhere to reactive maintenance?

One of the key reasons why some companies still use reactive maintenance is that it requires fewer resources, including human resources, time, and even cost.

When you wait until an asset breaks down, you can allocate these resources toward more important things in your business. This is why smaller companies prefer to use reactive maintenance in the first place.

However, this maintenance model has a few drawbacks.

First, it can be challenging to draw up a budget for unexpected repairs. Second, when an asset breaks down, it can cause ripples in your production, which translates to delays in production, lowered productivity, and unplanned time off for your staff.

But despite these drawbacks, reactive maintenance still has a place in an organization’s overall maintenance system.

For reactive maintenance to work, it is vital to designate it for pieces of equipment that are non-essential for production. It may also be used for assets that are cheap and easy to replace.

For essential assets, it goes without saying that these should not be put under a reactive maintenance program.

Reducing dependence on reactive maintenance

Whatever may be your reason for shifting toward a preventive maintenance plan, there are a few things that you need to do in order to make a seamless transition.

  • It begins with your company culture

Before you can shift from reactive to preventive maintenance, there should be a radical shift in how your team views maintenance.

This shift in philosophy requires a few things.

For starters, you need to get management and your employees to buy into the idea of transitioning to a new maintenance model. In order to achieve this goal, you will need to spend time educating them about the benefits of preventive maintenance as well as clarifying concepts that may be confusing.

Stakeholders should also be introduced to the different tools that will be used in preventive maintenance, including software, sensors, an asset management mobile app, and cloud systems.

It is critical for every stakeholder to buy into this plan — not just management, not just the maintenance team, but also other departments, including the people who operate the assets.

●       Putting together a new team

The transition toward preventive maintenance means the creation of new tasks. And for these, you need to form a new team, although not necessarily from scratch.

One essential task that this new team needs to undertake is ensuring the reliability of all assets. Take note that this is not the sole responsibility of just one team member. Instead, you will need multiple people who will ensure that assets are in optimal running condition. Next, you will require a team that will be assigned to perform all the maintenance tasks.

Initially, you may need to provide your current staff members with additional training, especially in the use of new tools like physical asset management software. In some instances, you may need to add new people to your existing team.

Apart from these, you will also have to draw up new standard operating procedures or update your existing ones to reflect your shift into preventive maintenance.

Finally, in order to ensure a successful transition, you will need to give your team ample time to make the necessary adjustments.

  • Developing platforms for improvements

No transition will be free from roadblocks. Along the way, you and your team will encounter hindrances. That is part and parcel of the transition process.

In order to avoid some of these mistakes and fast-track your progress, it is a good idea to seek out platforms that bring together key personnel in the organization to anticipate these issues as well as formulate solutions to problems before any of these arise.

  • Root out common causes of breakdowns

With a team and new SOPs in place, one of the most critical tasks that you will need to do to reduce your dependence on reactive maintenance is to identify the causes of asset breakdown.

One useful tool for this task is the root cause analysis. In root cause analysis, potential triggers of breakdowns are identified in order to monitor these carefully. Through monitoring, your maintenance crew can stay on top of the game and avoid unexpected equipment breakdowns.

Another tool that your team can use is the chronic failure analysis, where assets that frequently break down are identified and evaluated.

Finally, you can use a failure mode and effect analysis where weak areas in the production are identified in order to develop new processes to prevent failures.

By no means is the transition to a preventive maintenance system an easy process. But through proper planning, adequate preparation, and educated anticipation, your company will reap high dividends later on.



Company’s Dependence on Reactive Maintenance

Andrew Piechowiak

Andrew Piechowiak is the General Manager – Asset Management Business at SGE Group International, a multidisciplinary group of companies with core business interests in Asset Lifecycle Management, Land Development and Software. Aladdin is SGE’s proprietary Asset Lifecycle Management software, designed to empower FM, Maintenance and Asset teams across multiple industry sectors.

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