Proactive maintenance requires fewer people and is more suited to physical distancing, yet cost-savings measures are driving more reactive work and workplace crowding than necessary. Proactive maintenance is more “Covid”. You have laid-off workers, contractors, and reduced spending on maintenance and parts. In fact, Covid-19 presented you with a great savings opportunity! Have you done anything to make sure those costs stay down though? Short term maintenance cost savings are easy to achieve. but they bite hard later!
Changing resource levels drives short term savings and makes it appear that you are making your workplace safer – fewer workers will indeed mean less potential for disease transmission. But when you bring back your workforce because workloads are climbing, you will expose them to the very risk you were trying to minimize.
When you cut maintenance staffing you spend less on labor and parts. You also get only the most urgent work done. Urgency is always highest for breakdowns. If you had done your proactive work, you would have fewer urgencies. But, instead, your efforts will be entirely focused on fixing what breaks. Eventually, you stop doing anything proactive. That ounce of prevention soon morphs into a pound of cure! More condition-based maintenance is part of your solution – but get it right.
Covid-19 or not, if you want to keep your operations running, you will need to bring your maintainers back. Any savings that you achieved, were short-lived. Worse still, they left you with a big maintenance deficit, too many breakdowns, and a big hole to climb out of. When you bring them back, they will need to catch up and that will take a long time because of all the breakdowns and urgency to do repairs that you’ve chosen to create!
Yes, you chose that one. It’s on you.
Reducing costs is like taking a weight off one end of a see-saw (teeter-totter). The other end, performance, will drop. Expecting performance to remain the same with fewer people and lower costs requires that you work on the way you manage those people and making sure that the work that they are doing is delivering the result you want. Yes, proactive maintenance is more “Covid” – it requires a change in what you with maintenance to achieve reliability. You can’t get new results doing the same old things!
Efficiency and effectiveness are needed – together! For now, forget how you get to that point. How do you know when you have it right? Try our free online Maintenance and Reliability Maturity Assessment. It will show you if you are “getting it right” or if you need to smarten up. If you find that you need to smarten up, there are links on that same page you can use to get more in-depth ideas and help.