Balancing reactive maintenance with planned maintenance

Many facility managers will take issue with the old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In fact, they might even argue that it would be more accurate to say, “if it ain’t broke, it eventually will be.” Despite this belief, many companies today rely on a maintenance strategy more akin to reactive maintenance.

With a reactive maintenance plan, equipment fixes and tune-ups only happen after a breakdown occurs, leading to hours or days of downtime. Each passing moment of halted production could cost the company money in materials, labor, production revenue and reputation with its partners.

The average downtime incident lasts between three and four hours, Stratus reported. In many industrial settings, an hour of downtime can cost as much as $50,000.

Avoiding reactive maintenance with a plan

Instances of sudden or unexpected equipment failure can be avoided through planned maintenance. With this strategy, equipment is inspected and maintained on a regular basis according to a predetermined schedule. Any emerging issues are detected in a timely manner and corrected before they cause major issues and delays.

Planning maintenance tasks can also decrease downtime and improve efficiency, but there’s no such thing as a perfect system. There could – and likely will – come a time when something breaks down with little to no forewarning. In these moments, facility managers need to act quickly and get their operations back online safely.

But even when these instances happen, it’s important to not lose sight of the goal of a maintenance program that plans its downtime and utilizes its maintenance personnel strategically. In cases like these, one maintenance philosophy should not replace the other. Instead, facility managers need to learn how to reduce the overall amount of reactive maintenance to as little as possible and strengthen planned maintenance.

How to strike a balance

Understand that, at some point, an emergency or urgent maintenance need that you don’t anticipate will pop up. But how much reactive maintenance is too much? A good balance, according to professional registered engineer Doc Palmer of Richard Palmer and Associates, is 20 percent reactive maintenance and 80 percent planned maintenance. Reactive maintenance can be broken down further into emergency and urgent maintenance needs. Ideally, emergency maintenance should be the smallest sliver of the pie – about 3 percent of overall maintenance activities.

Having a plan for when emergency or urgent maintenance occurs can help facility managers react promptly. Miner offers immediate maintenance services to help partners get their mission-critical assets back online as quickly as possible.

Beyond having a go-to procedure for immediate maintenance tasks, facility managers should have a planned maintenance schedule based on each unique assets needs. Any instances of reactive maintenance should not derail your planned maintenance efforts. Our service professionals understand the requirements for various assets, and can build and carry out a planned maintenance schedule based on that.

To begin reducing downtime through smart maintenance strategies, connect with Miner.