Many companies begin implementing a maintenance system by first dealing with problems as they occur, called reactive maintenance. The philosophy is “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. Adopting this approach assures that corrective, emergency or breakdown maintenance activities are performed to keep equipment operational after problems occur. There are valid reasons for starting with reactive maintenance as it is easy to implement and cost effective upfront but problematic over time.
Reasons for Reactive Maintenance
Short Term Cost Containment
If companies must constrain current costs, a reactive approach to maintenance will save money short term. Staff costs will also be lower as planning for and execution of preventive maintenance tasks are not being performed. However, costs will be higher in the future due to shortened equipment life, unplanned failures which affects production capacity and special shipping costs for parts that are not available. Also, budgets are difficult to establish for reactive maintenance as costs will not be known.
Maintenance staff size will be smaller as planning and performance of scheduled preventive maintenance is not being performed. However, this could lead to overtime due to emergencies that occur outside of regularly scheduled staff work hours.
Information may not be available to properly plan for preventive maintenance tasks. For example, how often a task needs to be performed to avoid a failure and the steps involved to complete the planned task. These include safety precautions, step-by-step instructions for completion of the task, parts needed, tools needed, estimated time to complete the job, maintenance staff skill required, etc. If a CMMS system is used to track reactive maintenance, some of this information will be available in history to help establish the planned maintenance activity in the future.
With reactive maintenance, equipment will not be taken out of service to perform planned maintenance tasks. However, when equipment fails, it will be out of service until repaired and this could negatively impact production during critical times.
Reasons for Proactive Maintenance
Using proactive maintenance, this allows for planning of maintenance activities in the future. While occasional failures still occur, these can be minimized over time with proper historical analysis. Most costs will be known and budgets can be established including staff costs, parts needed and planned replace of equipment at the end of its useful life. This reduces inventory carrying costs and special shipping costs as parts can be ordered as needed for planned tasks. Downtime costs can also be reduced as few failures occur and production downtime can be scheduled at optimal times.
Extended Equipment Life
When equipment is purchased, it is considered to have a specified life expectancy if the equipment is properly maintained. Proactive maintenance provides for scheduled preventive maintenance, reduced unplanned downtime and inspections provide the opportunity to check equipment and catch issues before they become serious problems. The useful life of equipment will be extended with proper preventive maintenance as well the ability to compare the cost of maintaining equipment versus replacement.
Safety and Accident Prevention
Proactive maintenance includes planning for safety and accident prevention, such as safety precautions that must be taken before performing a maintenance job. When defining the maintenance task, all safety-related information can be included, such as an equipment or plant shutdown requirement or having a properly trained technical perform the task. Not only does this information improve safety for all staff, it is also often a requirement for insurance and regulatory agencies.
Time Management/Work Smart
With proactive maintenance and CMMS software, activities can be planned. This includes work order tasks to be performed daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and beyond. With this knowledge, tasks can be assigned to the maintenance staff based on priority, date needed, estimated time to complete and craft/skills needed. This provides the information needed for effective time management and the ability to work smart rather than dealing with unplanned emergencies with reactive maintenance.
When maintenance is planned, the production and maintenance teams can work together to plan for maintenance downtime during optimum time periods. This reduces the impact on production and also keeps equipment in excellent working condition, reducing waste due to product defects. Unplanned production and equipment downtime is expensive and can be avoided with proper proactive maintenance.
Using a CMMS system and proactive maintenance, a wealth of information will be available at your fingertips. Not only does CMMS software make it easy to track proactive maintenance, historical information will be available to make informed business decisions to further reduce costly unplanned emergencies and improve safety.
Transitioning from Reactive to Proactive Maintenance
Due to the work involved when switching from reactive to proactive maintenance, this can be accomplished over time, starting with the most critical equipment and assets and adding other equipment as time and resources allow. Fortunately, there are some excellent resources available that can help make the transition easier and more efficient. This can be done with a customized EAM/CMMS software program and the assistance provided by the software companies that provide them.
As the transition from reactive to proactive maintenance is being carried out, new ways of thinking will have to be adopted. The most effective procedures can now be put in place to help scale up the efficiency and productivity of the maintenance department. Utilizing a customizable and easy-to-use EAM/CMMS software program will make the transition much easier and will help to reduce costs and improve profitability.
DPSI Meets Your Proactive Maintenance Needs
DPSI is a global EAM and CMMS software leader. Our solutions help organizations implement an effective proactive maintenance management strategy. Interested to see how DPSI’s CMMS software can help your company? Contact us Now or Get started with a free trial today!