Proactive Maintenance—Boosting Business Value; Ensuring Operational Excellence
Equipment operation is, at its core, a business activity, and proactive maintenance is an investment in that activity.
Unlike reactive, or break-fix maintenance, proactive maintenance involves vigilant asset management and a dedicated strategy that plans not only for component replacement on a recommended schedule (e.g. preventive maintenance) but also equipment analysis to identify root failure origins—excessive vibrations, part contamination, and other issues—and take action to avoid impending part and machinery failures (predictive maintenance).
At PCA, we are always amazed at how easily financial decision makers persuade themselves to ignore the benefits of proactive maintenance, putting short-term profit over long-term economic health. Essentially, they embrace a “run to failure” strategy, often as a consequence of a “production at any cost” mentality. They override sound operating practices, either to meet tight supply chains and/or deadlines or to squeeze more productivity, and therefore profit, than is good for the equipment and its health.
This is unfortunate, because the bottom-line benefit from proactive maintenance is undeniable. An oft-cited research report estimates that firms who embrace proactive maintenance enjoy a 10 to 40 percent reduction in costs, up to 50 percent reduction in downtime, and 3 to 5 percent lower equipment and capital investment through extended machine life. PCA’s engagement with an industrial plant illustrates this assertion (see sidebar, in this article).
When proactive maintenance is performed correctly and effectively, every dollar spent on it becomes a “future” bank deposit, in the form of return on investment. Anything less is operating on borrowed time.