Physical assets require continuous maintenance throughout their useful lives. That makes allocating and tracking maintenance expenses a necessity for companies. Maintenance cost is any expense that facilities incur while keeping assets in good working conditions. Typical maintenance costs include:
- Amount spent for procuring spare parts or replacement components.
- Cost of purchasing or leasing maintenance tools.
- The amount for procuring and maintaining digital maintenance tools.
- Wages for maintenance staff.
- Costs associated with inventory management.
Performing timely asset maintenance guarantees the effectiveness, availability, and reliability of diverse physical assets. Although asset maintenance is vital for keeping them at optimal performance levels, the frequency and intensity of maintenance-related work determine operations and maintenance expenditures. High maintenance expenditures translate to lower revenues for the company. Companies should understand the cost of maintenance and implement measures for controlling maintenance-related budgets without impacting asset reliability. Here are ways companies can achieve this.
1. Increase maintenance productivity through training
Low maintenance productivity hurts the quality and quantity of maintenance work within any facility. Technicians spend more time assembling work tools, diagnosing defects and reworking repairs. It results in dismal wrench time and increases demand for additional maintenance supplies – something that causes the company to spend more on MRO inventory and wages.
Training improves maintenance productivity significantly. Companies structure training sessions depending on the existing skill gaps and complexity of work tools. They utilize these sessions to communicate changes in standard operating procedures (SOPs) and explain how to exploit digital tools and strategies for optimizing maintenance schedules.
Structured and continuous training improves maintenance productivity, reflecting in better wrench time, less material waste, improved quality of maintenance work irrespective of the composition of technicians, and predictable expenditures. That way, the company improves the reliability of assets while lowering the total cost of maintenance.
2. Optimize proactive maintenance programs
Some companies perform asset maintenance only when failures occur. Such instances are accompanied by heavy maintenance workloads and costly asset damages. Some companies have proactive maintenance measures which lack quality. They may contain outdated maintenance schedules or non-valuable processes, which increase the cost of maintenance.
Optimizing proactive maintenance schedules reduces the cost of maintaining assets. For instance, a robust preventive maintenance program is crucial for averting recurrent equipment breakdowns. The company can manage heavy maintenance activities over an extended period using fewer resources. Maintenance cost saving increases when companies select a predictive maintenance strategy that is data-driven. Technicians collect vast amounts of data, which improves maintenance planning and enhances the accuracy of maintenance activities. That way technicians spend less time diagnosing defects, and concentrate efforts towards eliminating predominant causes of failures.
3. Conduct failure mode and cause analysis
Nothing frustrates maintenance technicians as much as correcting the same defect repeatedly. It strains technicians and drains maintenance budgets. It happens when companies fail to address the root causes of asset failures. Finding short-term solutions for such problems is time-consuming, costly, and interferes with proactive maintenance schedules. It leads to poor prioritization of work and deferment of crucial maintenance work.
Companies can enhance maintenance activities by establishing a failure mode and a cause-analysis strategy. The company focuses on finding long-lasting solutions instead of simply fixing problems. Eliminating the cause of defects ensures no similar failure occurs in the future. In return, the company lowers maintenance expenses. Additionally, the company acquires valuable data essential for streamlining existing operations and reliability programs.
4. Digitize maintenance management
Manual maintenance management methods have complexities that affect the quality of maintenance work and the consistency of workflows. Maintenance professionals spend a lot of time analyzing data or accessing the manuals and historical maintenance records. There is also a challenge when creating and adhering to maintenance schedules for multiple assets in a facility. Such time-consuming activities escalate the cost of maintenance and lengthen asset downtime.
Digitizing the management of maintenance work yields better cost control. Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) enable the company to schedule and track maintenance workflows. Technicians can access information regarding the tool and spare part requirements to reduce the mean time to repair. Access to long-term maintenance records enhances root cause analysis and resolution.
The use of IoT sensors enhances data collection on the status of diverse components of an asset. Technicians leverage the data to optimize predictive maintenance algorithms vital for detecting and correcting defects before they cause asset failures. Fixing a small error is cheap compared to replacing broken equipment.
Cutting down maintenance costs does not imply that the company should compromise the reliability of assets. Companies can achieve this by integrating appropriate digital tools and technologies, as well as by spearheading a culture shift among maintenance personnel through continuous training.
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