Is Your Maintenance Department Reactive Or Proactive?

When the internet goes down, it is difficult to work until IT resolves the issue. When unsaved work is lost, the situation gets worse. This example highlights the flaws of a reactive maintenance strategy. While most companies strive to adopt proactive maintenance, reactive maintenance is the industry norm. This article discusses the distinctions between reactive and proactive maintenance and why a proactive strategy is the way to go.

Reactive Maintenance

Reactive Maintenance delays action until a piece of equipment breaks down or is close to failure. For example, let’s say you forget to change your car’s oil and it breaks down on a highway. Now, you have to tow the vehicle, call your insurance company, and pay the bill once your vehicle has been repaired. A reactive approach presents the following clear disadvantages:

  • When one part on a piece of equipment fails, it often damages other equipment components.
  • Essential parts that aren’t stocked (or available) need to be ordered and will take time to arrive which can be expensive and time-consuming.
  • Technicians might need to grab parts off of other jobs to perform emergency repairs.
  • The machine determines when and how reactive work is conducted, regardless of Management’s or Production’s intentions.

A reactive maintenance strategy is sometimes preferred in unusual circumstances. For example, when it costs less to replace a piece of equipment rather than maintain or repair it. If a “run-to-failure” maintenance strategy is under consideration, be sure to determine whether the desired benefits outweigh the potential risks.

Proactive Maintenance

Proactive Maintenance is work that is properly planned, scheduled, and completed within a specific time frame so that a piece of equipment can be restored to its ideal operating condition at minimal cost to the company. For example, a proactive approach might call for lubricating a bearing to increase its lifespan, monitoring the bearing to detect failure, and replacing the bearing before it fails. The following key elements and concepts should be considered for effective proactive maintenance:

  • Asset Criticality Ranking (ACR)
  • Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS)
  • Failure Mode, Effects, & Criticality Analysis (FMECA)
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)
  • Precision Maintenance Alignment
  • Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM)
  • Root Cause Analysis (RCA)
  • Total Production Maintenance (TPM)
  • Training Programs

A well-maintained facility should strive for a goal of 85% to 90% proactive work because a proactive approach offers the following, clear benefits:

  • Management controls when downtime occurs, making it simple to replace a single part while keeping the rest of a machine intact, saving time and money.
  • Maintenance has time to figure out how it can use a downtime opportunity to address other essential maintenance tasks.
  • Engineering can review a machine’s work order history to identify opportunities for improvement while reducing future maintenance needs.
  • Planning grants technicians access to the parts, procedures, tools, and proper crafts needed to complete work.
Effect of Proactive on Labor

This graph illustrates the positive financial impact that proactive maintenance has on labor. When companies struggle to stay profitable especially during economic downturns, they often cut labor costs by laying off employees. Maintenance is usually the first department on the chopping block because it is often viewed as a cost center or a necessary evil, rather than a profit center. What management fails to recognize is how proactive maintenance reduces labor costs by increasing the efficiency of existing resources while reducing headcount through attrition. Proactive maintenance can reduce a company’s total workload by up to 25%, meaning it can remain profitable without laying off employees.

If a company puts a freeze on hiring, the hiring freeze means that money will not be spent on rehiring or retraining anyone.

Characteristics of a Proactive v. Reactive Maintenance Function

How Proactive or Reactive Is Your Department?

It is vital to assess whether your maintenance function is proactive or reactive. Compare the percentage of emergency / reactive work to planned / proactive / predictive work to get your answer.

Remember, proactive maintenance is often a more productive, efficient, and economical approach to maximizing equipment effectiveness and yields incredible results if companies invest in their facility’s long-term well-being.

Look No Further, We Are Here to Help!

CMMS Data Group’s Reliability Engineering Division offers a variety of services aimed at helping organizations achieve world-class maintenance & reliability. One place to start is the Maintenance Excellence Status Assessment (MESA). MESAs give organizations the steps needed to transition their maintenance function from a cost center to a profit center. Contact us today for more information!

About CMMS Data Group

Founded in 2000, CMMS Data Group is the market leader in CMMS software and services. Led by the award-winning MVP Plant™ CMMS software combined with its professional services and technical support, the Company also provides comprehensive Reliability Engineering Services. These solutions empower maintenance and reliability professionals to increase customer satisfaction, reliability, capacity, productivity, and profitability, delivering a competitive edge to their organization.

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My favorite part about MVP Plant is the technical support team.

Vickie Probst, Purchasing Supervisor, DaBecca Natural Foods

Communication is key and MVP Plant makes that possible.

Bill Hackett, Maintenance Manager, Clyde's Donuts

Our maintenance costs flatlined and we now produce twice the amount of donuts.

Bill Hackett, Maintenance Manager, Clyde's Donuts

My favorite part about MVP Plant is the technical support team.

Vickie Probst, Purchasing Supervisor, DaBecca Natural Foods

Communication is key and MVP Plant makes that possible.

Bill Hackett, Maintenance Manager, Clyde's Donuts

Our maintenance costs flatlined and we now produce twice the amount of donuts.

Bill Hackett, Maintenance Manager, Clyde's Donuts

My favorite part about MVP Plant is the technical support team.

Vickie Probst, Purchasing Supervisor, DaBecca Natural Foods

Communication is key and MVP Plant makes that possible.

Bill Hackett, Maintenance Manager, Clyde's Donuts

Our maintenance costs flatlined and we now produce twice the amount of donuts.

Bill Hackett, Maintenance Manager, Clyde's Donuts

We reduced our reactive time by almost 5% right off the bat.

Stuart Brandon, Maintenance Manager, Black Cat Wear Parts

The reports, by far, are what I really like about MVP Plant. I can forecast what I’m going to spend this month and the next couple of months.

Don Robertson, Maintenance Planner, DanoneWave

MVP Plant does everything that you need it to do to have a good maintenance department.

Stephen Lord, Maintenance Planner, Oberto Brands

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