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How to embrace a proactive maintenance approach?

Maintaining production continuity is crucial for asset-intensive industries to thrive. However, unplanned downtimes are always a problem due to reactive maintenance strategies. Shifting from a reactive to a proactive maintenance strategy is essential to overcome unplanned shutdowns, ensuring uninterrupted production. Wondering how proactive maintenance can make a difference? Let’s explore the challenges with reactive maintenance, the benefits of proactive maintenance, and the essential steps to adopt a proactive approach. 

The Challenges with Reactive Maintenance: 

Reactive maintenance follows the conventional “fix it when it breaks” approach, focusing on repairing equipment only after it fails. While this strategy may seem cost-effective in the short term, it comes with several inherent challenges in the long run. Here are a few instances: 

Increased downtime: Reactive maintenance often leads to unexpected equipment failures, resulting in unplanned downtime. According to a study conducted by Aberdeen Group, unplanned downtime can cost businesses up to $260,000 per hour on average. This massive figure underscores the urgency for a proactive approach to maintenance. 

Higher repair costs: Unplanned equipment downtime is expensive. When critical equipment suddenly fails, your maintenance team rush to fix it. This incurs higher costs due to overtime labor and expedited shipping. The reactive nature of maintenance can lead to further damage, exacerbating the complexity and cost of repairs. 

Impact on productivity: Unplanned downtime disrupts workflow, reduces productivity, and affects overall operational efficiency. According to research by Deloitte, companies lose an average of 5% of their productive capacity due to unplanned downtime. 

Benefits of Proactive Maintenance: 

To solve the challenges of reactive maintenance, you need to be proactive. With a proactive approach, you can focus on identifying and addressing potential asset-related issues before they cause equipment failures. The proactive maintenance approach offers numerous advantages for companies seeking to optimize their operations. Let’s explore some of these advantages. 

Increased equipment reliability: By implementing preventive maintenance measures, such as regular inspections, scheduled maintenance tasks, and equipment monitoring, companies can reduce the likelihood of unexpected failures. This, in turn, enhances equipment reliability and extends its lifespan. 

Cost savings: Adopting a proactive maintenance strategy allows businesses to control costs more effectively. By addressing minor issues promptly, companies can avoid major breakdowns, minimize repair expenses, and optimize their maintenance budget. 

Enhanced safety: Proactive maintenance ensures that equipment operates within safety guidelines and standards. Regular inspections and preventive measures help identify potential hazards, reducing the risk of accidents and ensuring a safe working environment for employees. 

How to implement proactive maintenance? 

Implementing proactive maintenance requires a cultural shift in your maintenance organization. Traditional practices such as paper-based work orders and siloed maintenance management systems will not help you be proactive. Let’s discuss how you can implement a proactive maintenance approach in your organization. 

Establish a maintenance plan: Develop a comprehensive maintenance plan that outlines regular inspection schedules, maintenance tasks, and equipment monitoring procedures. This plan should be tailored to the specific needs of your business and its assets. 

Invest in predictive technologies: Leverage advanced technologies, such as sensors, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and predictive analytics, to monitor equipment performance in real time. These tools can provide valuable data insights, enabling early identification of potential failures. 

Implement condition-based maintenance: Instead of relying solely on fixed maintenance schedules, adopt a condition-based maintenance approach. Use data collected from monitoring systems to assess equipment health and determine maintenance actions based on actual condition and performance. 

Train and empower maintenance teams: Provide comprehensive training to maintenance personnel, equipping them with the skills and knowledge necessary to identify potential issues and perform preventive maintenance tasks effectively. Empower them to take ownership of equipment reliability and actively participate in continuous improvement initiatives. 

Modernize your maintenance management systems: Most companies are relying on paper-based maintenance practices. Maintenance technicians fill in inspection checklists and work orders. The back-office staff later enter this data into the back-end systems. These manual practices are leading to inaccuracies in maintenance data. You must modernize these legacy maintenance systems to connect your frontline maintenance technicians with the back-end systems such as Oracle EBS and SAP S/4HANA. For example, PropelApps has developed a best-in-class mobile maintenance management system that digitalizes your maintenance operations end to end. 

In an era where downtime can significantly impact profitability, adopting a proactive maintenance strategy is no longer a luxury but a necessity. By embracing preventive measures, you can minimize unexpected breakdowns, reduce repair costs, enhance productivity, and ensure a safer working environment. Leveraging modern maintenance management systems will help you be proactive and strengthen resilience.  

Want to get a modern maintenance management system for your business? We can help you. Reach out to us now.