In addition to inventory management, equipment maintenance includes both upkeep that is performed regularly, including proactive maintenance, as well as any necessary maintenance tasks.
Types of equipment that need to be properly maintained on a regular basis include vehicle fleets, computer systems, tools, construction equipment, industrial and/or manufacturing equipment, and any other assets your business relies on in order to operate.
The success of your business is dependent on how well your equipment functions. While it is important to keep costs down, it is equally important to make strategic investments in equipment maintenance to avoid failure of your most valuable assets. Performing routine maintenance tasks such as keeping a maintenance checklist and having a maintenance process can help keep this from happening.
Having a strategic plan for maintaining your equipment can prevent costly breakdowns and downtimes and help your business get the most value out of its assets.
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There are four main types of equipment maintenance that companies typically practice.
Preventive maintenance is maintenance that is carried out on a regular schedule in order to reduce the risk of equipment failures. For example, if your business depends on heavy equipment, which includes cranes, forklifts, bulldozers and any heavy vehicles designed for construction purposes, your maintenance plan should include regular oil changes and lubrication.
Like preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance is a proactive approach to maintaining equipment functionality and extending lifespan. Unlike preventive maintenance however, predictive maintenance relies on real-time data about a piece of equipment’s condition to predict when it will fail. This data is provided using a network of sensors embedded in physical objects known as The Internet of Things, or IoT. Maintenance software such as enterprise asset management (EAM) or a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) centralizes maintenance information and facilitiates the processes of maintenance operations.
Reactive maintenance, or corrective maintenance, refers to a strategy of repairing equipment once it has broken down. This type of approach is based on the belief that costs sustained during downtime or as a result of necessary repair are typically lower than that of a regular maintenance program. While fine for low-cost, low-importance pieces of equipment this approach can have a negative impact on the life cycle of your most critical assets.
Run-to-failure maintenance is a maintenance strategy that relies on using assets until they break down completely and must be replaced. This maintenance plan is typically only effective if the cost of replacing a piece of equipment is less costly than repairing it using another maintenance strategy.
Regularly scheduled maintenance prevents equipment breakdowns that cost companies hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Some examples of recent incidents include:
Proper maintenance management keeps employees safer according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA.) (link resides outside ibm.com). Their research found a strong link between poor equipment maintenance and workplace injuries—even fatalities. Researchers estimated that 35% of workplace incidents were related to failures of equipment.
In addition to reducing costs associated with downtime, proper equipment maintenance preserves equipment for longer, meaning it doesn’t have to be replaced as often. Thanks to modern tools such as IoT and EAM software which allow for real-time monitoring of performance, businesses are extending the lifespans of their most valuable assets.
A broad range of industries rely on equipment maintenance to streamline their maintenance services and keep their equipment running smoothly.
A maintenance team is composed of a variety of different roles that are crucial in preventing equipment downtime, heavy machinery breakdowns and costly repair work. While some of the roles on your team will focus on emergency maintenance, others will handle equipment management and routine maintenance procedures.
A maintenance manager is critical in developing and implementing your equipment maintenance strategy, managing staff, supervising work and budgeting/forecasting for any future repairs.
A maintenance technician is a highly skilled worker that performs both regular maintenance tasks as well as repairs that arise from breakdowns.
A Maintenance engineer ensures that equipment is installed and running smoothly. Their background in engineering helps them perform regular diagnostic testing and managerial duties as well as more hands-on repair work.
Learn about preventive maintenance which allows your organization to fix your most valuable assets before they break.
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Gamet, Jeff, “App Store Downtime Cost Apple USD25M in Sales”, macobserver.com, March 12th, 2015, https://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/app-store-downtime-cost-apple-25m-in-sales (link resides outside ibm.com)
Dustin, Jeffrey, “Power outage at Delta causes flight cancellations, delays”, Reuters.com, August 8th, 2016, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-delta-air-outages/power-outage-at-delta-causes-flight-cancellations-delays-idUSKCN10J0VP (link resides outside ibm.com)
Rocker, Thomas, “Facebook returns after its worst outage ever”, Theverge.com, March 14, 2019, https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/14/18265185/facebook-instagram-whatsapp-outage-2019-return-back (link resides outside ibm.com)