It's Time to Break the Cycle of Reactive Maintenance Management

Distracted by the “busy-ness” of day-to-day operational requirements, reactive maintenance (otherwise known as breakdown maintenance) tends to become our go-to when dealing with broken down equipment, but although effective in the moment, it certainly doesn’t provide the benefits of a proactive, or preventative, maintenance strategy.   

That being said, however, while most proactive maintenance (PM) programmes are focused on keeping equipment in proper working order, they’re usually based on the age-related maintenance of assets, which is scheduled at regular intervals, for example, after a certain number of operating hours. According to research, however, only 20% of equipment failures are directly related to the age of the equipment, which means that 80% of equipment failures happen randomly and unpredictably, which in turn results in higher incidents of reactive maintenance.   

Of course, preventative maintenance does require more planning upfront than reactive maintenance, but it does result in the more sustainable management of assets. After all, running equipment to failure is expensive, due to the additional damage that might occur, so it makes sense to find a way to determine when it is likely to fail and schedule an overhaul before this happens. But how exactly do you do this?   

Well, on the face of things it seems obvious that you should consistently monitor and assess the condition of your equipment. Keep an eye on things like hot spots, vibrations, leaks and cracks, and keep up to date with the latest technologies. Not only will they help you to determine what you should be monitoring, but help you monitor your chosen indicators too. To help make life easier and more efficient, there are now a number of technologies and applications that assist with the implementation of a comprehensive condition-based maintenance programme, which can reduce reactive maintenance to an all-time low.  

Take a look at these other compelling reasons to move away from reactive maintenance:


Reactive maintenance is more expensive

Not only can unexpected equipment failure lead to unplanned downtime during production runs, but these delays can have a far reaching effect on your reputation, which can in turn impact your income. These delays can be further compounded by the fact that labour and spare parts may not be readily available so you could pay a premium for overnight shipping and after-hours support. Aside from that, when equipment is not properly maintained, it uses more energy, which in turn results in higher energy costs. Doing simple things like changing filters or greasing moving parts can reduce energy consumption by 15%.  

Reactive maintenance is inefficient

Emergency repairs are usually given priority over planned work due to the unexpected nature of the breakdown and the fact that it might impact production. This means planned work is constantly being pushed further down the list, which can lead to a maintenance backlog that’s hard to get on top of. This affects worker productivity due to the majority of work being unplanned. Caught unawares, technicians waste time looking for manuals and parts while trying to diagnose and fix the issue under pressure, rather than being able to schedule the work in and prepare accordingly be ensuring they have all the parts they need for the job.  

Reactive maintenance affects job safety

When work is planned and scheduled properly, technicians have time to review the operating procedures and safety requirements of the equipment they’re due to overhaul on any given day. Unscheduled, or reactive maintenance, affects on-the-job safety, as workers tend to take more risks when they’re under pressure to get things back up and running in a hurry. And that’s when accidents happen.  

Reactive maintenance reduces asset lifecycle

Proactive, or preventative, maintenance is designed to keep systems running in their best condition, whereas reactive maintenance lets equipment run to failure before responding, which can be catastrophic. Much reactive maintenance takes a quick fix approach to get machines up and running. The problem is, however, that systems that have been repeatedly “patched up” tend to deteriorate faster over time, which at the end of the day means you’ll have to replace your equipment sooner than expected, which in turn, has an impact on your capital outlay. Many organisations imagine that the shift from reactive to proactive maintenance is a mammoth task, but it’s not impossible. By focusing on your critical assets first and implementing a proactive maintenance schedule, that makes use of the latest tools and technologies, you can slowly but surely get on top of your backlog and take back control.   

AssetFinda’s Scheduled Maintenance allows you to plan the most efficient and cost-effective way to perform scheduled or reactive maintenance of your asset network and extend your asset lifecycle. With our advanced GIS interface, you can visually see where all maintenance is happening across all asset classes. Want to know more? Get in touch with use today for a free trial of our asset management software!


We would love to know more about how your organization deals with maintenance management. Share with us on Facebook or LinkedIn!