by Russ Johnson, Southside Equipment, Inc.
Poor maintenance makes companies less competitive than other firms that follow sound maintenance procedures. And many small start-up companies can’t wait to replace weak competitors.
Maintenance still has pitfalls. Here are the three major categories of reactive maintenance mistakes:
1. Maintenance can be incompetent. Some maintenance operations cannot identify problems until failure occurs. Then they do only enough to get equipment back into operation. Because these operations experience frequent, severe breakdowns, they are inherently unsafe.
2. Maintenance may be able to repair properly but unable to identify small problems proactively – handling today’s problems but not next month’s. Such operations may operate safely, but excessive breakdowns, usually severe, continue.
3. Maintenance is highly competent and recognizes the need to be proactive but is so buried in emergency breakdown maintenance that proactivity is impossible.
The above problems result from reactive operations. Reactive maintenance produces a maximum expense and minimum reliability. Two programs can convert maintenance from reactive to proactive: preventive and predictive maintenance (PPM) and the implementation of planning and scheduling. These two programs – set in place and operated to complement each other – can reduce uncertainty, maximize reliability, enhance safety, contribute to profits, reduce downtime and ensure competitiveness in the marketplace.
Preventive and Predictive Maintenance
Preventive maintenance comprises the applied procedures that physically extend the life of equipment – mainly cleaning and lubrication, but not confined to those activities. Predictive maintenance includes the analytical techniques applied to equipment to forewarn of impending failure.
This knowledge permits repairs during normal nonproductive time, thus maximizing reliability and smooth operations while reducing surprises and downtime. Planned and scheduled work is always more efficient, less costly and more predictable than emergency work. But the biggest benefit of foreknowledge is the elimination or reduction of secondary damage to equipment as a result of the primary failure.
Good maintenance – preventive and predictive, with timely planning and scheduling – is an integral part of the success of any company. Such maintenance lowers repair costs and downtime while extending the life of the equipment.
Bad maintenance, on the other hand, can seriously hurt any company. At its worst, bad maintenance puts lives at risk, from the individuals who use the equipment to the life of the company itself.
Russ Johnson has been in the pressure washing business since 1975 when he worked in equipment maintenance in a rental store. He later worked as a service manager for three different distributors, one in Florida and two in Kentucky. Russ started Southside Equipment in 1998. To learn more, visit his website at www.PressureWasherKY.us