SafetyCulture Summit 2021
Learn about the different types of maintenance, its pros and cons, and how each industry benefits from good maintenance practices
Published 21 Jul 2021
Maintenance, otherwise known as technical maintenance, refers to a set of processes and practices which aim to ensure the continuous and efficient operation of machinery, equipment, and other types of assets typically used in business.
Diligence in implementing an effective maintenance program is essential to the successful performance and longevity of machinery, assets, facilities, and entire businesses.
There are different types of maintenance work, each designed for specific scenarios. Knowing the differences between maintenance types helps people determine which ones are the most suitable for their purposes.
This type of maintenance, also referred to as preventive maintenance, is implemented on a fixed schedule and typically includes activities such as inspecting, cleaning, washing, replacing, and checking. It is typically performed in the downtime between shifts or on weekends to avoid affecting productivity goals. Routine maintenance has two objectives; to identify existing issues so they can be corrected ASAP and to prevent possible issues from becoming a reality through consistent care.
Where routine maintenance may happen on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, planned maintenance may be scheduled once per year or as needed. This is because planned maintenance is more time-consuming, expensive, and thorough—often requiring the services of a specialist. In the context of maintaining an air-conditioning unit, routine maintenance is taking out and washing the filters once per month, while planned maintenance is hiring an HVAC professional to check refrigerant levels, possible leaks, and measure airflow through the evaporator coil.
If during your routine maintenance inspection of a car you discover signs of severe wear-and-tear, you need to perform corrective maintenance. When computer or gauge readings for a machine show unusual, possibly hazardous anomalies, you need to perform corrective maintenance. Corrective maintenance pertains to the repairs and replacements necessary to get an asset back up and running at full power and optimal condition.
This maintenance type focuses on techniques used to determine the appropriate schedule for planned and corrective maintenance. Its primary goal is to predict, through a variety of testing methods, when a machine will start experiencing severe wear and tear so corrective maintenance can be scheduled without affecting productivity goals and before the machine breaks down.
In general, businesses benefit from good maintenance practices. However, several factors need to be considered before you can determine if maintenance is helping, or hurting, your operation. Below are some of the pros and cons of maintenance.
Increase longevity of assets
One of the most common reasons businesses should bother with maintenance practices is to maximize the longevity of assets. Having the patience and dedication to regularly inspect, clean, and care for an expensive asset helps operations maximize productivity and cut costs by preventing expensive repairs and replacements.
Optimize asset performance
A well maintained asset operates at maximum capacity, positively affecting business ROI through efficiency and consistency.
Avoid unscheduled downtimes
Unexpected breakdowns can cause significant problems for any business. Financial losses, unhappy customers, and a disrupted operation can snowball into bigger issues where fallout is inevitable and costly to resolve. Diligent maintenance can help businesses avoid unexpected outages, ensuring operations run smoothly and without any hiccups.
Most industrial machines used for business operations cost a small fortune to begin with, so it only makes sense to diligently maintain these assets in order to get the most out of them. Failure to implement good maintenance practices will lead to machine breakdown, costing the business more money through avoidable repairs and replacements, as well as lost productivity.
Though good maintenance practices are often more beneficial than not, the bottomline is they still cost money to implement. It is important for businesses to know when to perform maintenance activities in order to avoid needless expenditure through over maintenance.
Planned maintenance often requires assets to be shut down completely and be inoperative for a set period of time. Lost productivity translates to financial losses and possible disruption of operations if the necessary contingencies were not prepared in advance.
Possible safety risk
Failure to follow proper maintenance protocols such as ensuring that machine assets have been completely depowered before maintenance can cause serious injuries and even fatalities to personnel.
Maintenance and repair work have the same goals, and that is to keep your business running efficiently as designed. Knowing their fundamental differences, however, will help you determine when to utilize maintenance techniques over repairs and vice versa to keep your business productive and profitable without issue.
The goal of maintenance is to make repairs unnecessary.
From the time a business acquires an asset, they should already have a maintenance plan ready for implementation. Routine maintenance techniques like cleaning and regular inspections are often done on a weekly, monthly, and sometimes even daily basis. Cleaning, monitoring and inspecting can be done quickly and often at no cost while still contributing to an asset’s overall health and longevity.
To avoid disrupting services and productivity, maintenance activities are often scheduled on off days. For businesses who operate around the clock, planned maintenance for machine assets can be scheduled in sequence to ensure that productivity doesn’t halt and the expected output is still met.
Through special monitoring tools, businesses can also practice predictive maintenance techniques; using data gathered from asset performance and condition, they can gain insights as to when eventual wear-and-tear will need corrective maintenance to avoid unexpected machine breakdowns.
Even with the best maintenance plan and personnel, the possibility of unexpected machine breakdown can never be completely eliminated. When this happens, businesses need to rely on swift repairs to get their assets back up and running ASAP before losses become insurmountable.
Aside from financial losses due to lost productivity, repairs often cost more than regular maintenance,; requiring businesses to pay a huge sum up front for new parts, installation, and the services of a specialist.
As much as businesses need to invest in a good maintenance program, they must have contingencies in place for unexpected downtimes since there is no way to completely prevent them from happening.
Good maintenance programs benefit virtually all businesses across different industries; the only difference is how they apply maintenance techniques to achieve their business goals. Below is a list of how different industries apply maintenance practices to maximize their operation.
Good maintenance practices are crucial in the aerospace industry since malfunctions can result in high-fatality disasters. Aircraft maintenance is also legally mandated in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR), which states that the “the owner/operator of a civil aircraft is primarily responsible for maintaining that aircraft in an airworthy condition, including compliance with FAA Airworthiness Directives (AD).”
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the governing body that sets regulatory standards for aircraft safety and maintenance practices in the United States. The FAA published the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) which outlines the rules for all activities in the aviation industry. Under FAR, the FAA mandates the following maintenance inspection activities:
Sometimes referred to as the “transport industry,” the freight and logistics industry is essential to the successful operation of many other industries since freight services are called upon to transport materials and tools needed for service and production. Some common maintenance practices in the freight and logistics industry include:
With our increasing reliance on computers for both work and our personal lives, it is naturally in everyone’s best interest to maintain them and ensure that they are operating at optimal levels. Below are some common computer maintenance processes:
Agricultural activities rely heavily on equipment and industrial-grade chemicals to complete. Proper maintenance plays a crucial role to ensure that workers are safe from work-related injuries and operations proceed without a hitch.
Commercial, residential, and industrial buildings require regular maintenance to retain their structural integrity and functionality, avoiding deterioration and eventual collapse. Below are some common maintenance techniques practiced in the real estate industry.
The maintenance of food processing machines, utensils, and facilities is the foundation upon which successful food companies and restaurants are built. Below are some maintenance examples from the food and beverage industry.
It is easy for unsatisfied customers to voice their displeasure in numerous review websites if they are unsatisfied with your establishment, and customer dissatisfaction can stem from numerous reasons. This can damage your establishment’s reputation, resulting in diminished patronage. To achieve and maintain customer satisfaction and keep customers coming back, hotels and lodges need to keep their establishment in pristine condition through diligent and consistent maintenance practices.
Companies in the manufacturing industry utilize heavy-duty machinery for mass production. To prevent machine breakdowns that disrupt operations, good machine maintenance protocols must be implemented.
Aside from maintaining the machines used for production, the work areas and surfaces of factories must also be maintained to minimize slip and trip hazards and increase work efficiency by removing physical obstructions that interfere with work. Factory maintenance personnel conduct 5S audits to improve cleanliness, orderliness, safety, and efficiency while also eliminating waste and preventable work hazards.
There are multiple factors to be considered when coming up with a winning formula for a successful retail company. Selling high-quality products and having great customer service are some of the more obvious elements. Consistent implementation of good store maintenance practices, however, is just as important in making sure your business operates at full capacity.
The old adage goes, “to make money, you have to spend money.” This advice does not apply exclusively to a company’s initial setup stage where spending money to invest on equipment, a workspace, and employees are a given. For a business to thrive in today’s competitive landscape, business owners must also be willing to invest money, time, and resources on good maintenance practices.
Juhlian Pimping has been writing about safety and quality topics for SafetyCulture since 2018. Before writing for SafetyCulture full-time, Juhlian worked in customer service and wrote for an Australian RTO.
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