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Reactive Versus Proactive Maintenance Methods

CFLSS employee Jorge on the job

Plenty of facilities still run on a “run-to-fail” basis. The Marshall Institute reports that reactive maintenance is up to 5 times more costly than proactive maintenance. While reactive methods may seem like a quick fix for your facility, it is likely to cause issues for you, your team and your facility itself. Many choose to take on reactive methods as opposed to proactive methods because of their ill-perceived financial benefits. Is it worth it?

What is Reactive Maintenance?

Reactive maintenance is about always being in an active state of response. This approach, also known as the “run-to-failure” approach, has been the predominant approach for many businesses. It doesn’t mean that failure is guaranteed, but it’s a strategy utilized to wait until something breaks before paying to fix it.

The major benefit of reactive maintenance is short term cost savings. Why fix something that isn’t broken? However, it can typically cause issues in the long run, including:

  • Decreased Employee Safety – Faulty equipment can lead to accidents in the workplace, putting everyone involved at risk.
  • Increase in Downtime – Unplanned downtime hurts your business financially. According to Asset Performance Management: Blazing a Better Path to Operational Excellence, over $50 billion is lost annually due to unplanned downtime in the manufacturing industry.
  • Shorter Asset Lifespan – When equipment is not properly maintained, it’s life expectancy will be shortened.
  • Increased Maintenance Costs – Reactive maintenance is known to spawn higher maintenance costs in the long run.
  • Lower Quality Customer experience – Repeated machinery problems are sure to cause issues with customers. All it takes is one bad experience for a customer to turn into a competitor.
  • Hasty Equipment Decisions – When there is a need to make repairs, the immediate solution is usually made. Being so, it isn’t always the most effective decision. A better and more cost-effective purchase can be made in a scenario that doesn’t require such urgency.

Although reactive maintenance may cause many issues, it may be best suited for small facility operations like light bulbs and coffee makers. Also, reactive practices can play an important role in a maintenance strategy for emergencies, but it should not be the focus of the entire operations and maintenance plan. To rely exclusively on reactive maintenance is not sustainable in the long run. Most maintenance programs today are some combination of reactive and proactive.

According to Siemens, organizations that have implemented comprehensive maintenance programs find that their total costs can be as much as 35-45% lower than those organizations that continue to maintain equipment reactively.

What is Proactive Maintenance?

Image of a facility filled with equipment

Proactive maintenance is concentrated on assuming and managing machine failures before they occur. Identifying the source of potential failures helps to avoid breakdowns caused by deteriorating equipment. After you identify critical areas within your facility, this will help determine an optimal maintenance strategy. While this process does take a lot of effort, is it more cost-effective than reactive methods.

Proactive maintenance includes benefits like:

  • Identifying problems before they occur
  • Fully functional equipment
  • A longer life expectancy of critical equipment
  • Consistent response times to maintenance calls
  • Savings in maintenance
  • An established workflow using a Computerized Maintenance Management System
  • Accurate analytics of facility metrics
  • An overall improvement to facility health

Setting Up a Proactive Maintenance Plan

With a proper plan for proactive maintenance, your return will surpass your initial investment. According to Siemens, organizations that have implemented comprehensive maintenance programs find that their total costs can be as much as 35-45% lower than the costs for those organizations that continue to maintain equipment reactively.

An excellent proactive maintenance plan starts with getting the right people on board. Make sure your team is well trained and well-versed on your facility’s equipment infrastructure. Your team has to set goals for your short and long term proactive plans providing a vision of what everyone wants to achieve.

Consider a proactive maintenance plan to improve the functionality of your facility. If your facility requires maintenance services to accomplish your goals, Central Florida Store Services is here to help you achieve them.

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