In the hunt to reduce costs and increase profits, many management teams look to the maintenance department to reduce operational costs. Maintenance operations can be expensive especially when they’re not optimized. But, in order to optimize them, you have to spend money. So, we understand the temptation to defer maintenance to cut costs. What these managers don’t understand though, is that chronically deferring maintenance can lead to asset failure and often, environmental, safety, and health implications resulting in much greater costs later down the line.
How does a company safely and effectively reduce maintenance costs on capital equipment?
There are two main solutions to achieving long-term cost savings:
- Improving your maintenance strategy
- Utilizing an appropriate maintenance software
How to improve your maintenance strategy
The most popular way to improve your maintenance strategy is through preventative maintenance. Historically speaking, preventative maintenance has a proven return on investment. Though it requires some time and effort to transition from a reactive maintenance strategy to a preventative one, you can rest assured knowing that it will reduce costs by pre-empting problems before they occur and significantly reducing emergency repairs. Other cost saving benefits include reduced labor costs (as employees will no longer be required to work overtime on emergency repairs,) increased productivity, and extended life for your capital equipment.
Other popular maintenance strategies include predictive maintenance (PdM) and reliability-centered maintenance (RCM). Similar to preventative maintenance, PdM also helps predict equipment failure before it occurs by relying on a software system to monitor and track your facility’s production. PdM is a bit more expensive as it allows you to have complete control and insight over your assets. RCM identifies all possible failure modes and then drafts a custom maintenance strategy for each piece of equipment individually thereby optimizing labor, inventory, time, and more.
Ideally, you would implement all three strategies to minimize your maintenance costs and get the best possible results. But since this isn’t always financially possible, preventative maintenance is a straightforward, easy to implement maintenance strategy that will help you move away from reactive maintenance without the capital investment required from other maintenance strategies.
How to utilize maintenance software
The best way to implement a maintenance strategy is with a maintenance software. The best maintenance schedules are driven by accurate and reliable data and it’s almost impossible to gather this data without software designed to capture, track, and process the myriad of variables. A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) does everything discussed above and then some:
- Provides invaluable and actionable insights that will optimize your maintenance process
- Efficiently schedules maintenance work saving maintenance managers time and ensuring that maintenance operations don’t fall behind
- Optimizes workflow by improving response times and cutting overtime labor costs
- Provides a vast amount of statistical data that will enable you to measure the performance level of your maintenance team, identify which assets are the most expensive, and why and which of your facilities is performing the best so that you can implement those strategies across all locations
In order to cut costs on capital equipment, you need reliable data that will enable you to implement long-term strategies that will permanently reduce costs while mitigating risk. A software platform like a CMMS should be the end goal. But if that’s not possible yet, consider moving your most important assets to a preventative maintenance plan first, while allowing the non-essential equipment to remain in reactive maintenance until you can install the best solution for every piece of equipment, in every possible scenario.
About ASI: Andromeda Systems, Incorporated (ASI) is an ISO-9001:2008 company committed to superior technical performance and excellence in customer satisfaction. Our mission is to assist asset and fleet managers in achieving optimal levels of economy, availability, and safety by developing and applying leading systems engineering tools, processes, and expertise. We are headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA, with offices in Lexington Park, MD; Arlington, VA; Jacksonville, FL; Havelock, NC; Oklahoma City, OK and San Diego, CA.