Reactive Maintenance / Maintenance Work

Three warning signs that your plant may be engaged in too much reactive maintenance

Is your backlog getting out of hand? Your team might be ready take a more proactive approach and break free of reactive cycles.

Improving reliability is a priority for many organizations, but achieving reliability goals can be more difficult than expected. Despite the best efforts of you and your team, problems keep popping up, stealing your time and resources, and keeping you in a cycle of reactive maintenance.

In a recent Plant Services webinar, Jason Tranter, CEO and founder of Mobius Institute, explored the causes of a detrimental cycle of reactive maintenance and identified five ways to break out of the cycle. To start understanding how so many teams get trapped in this unending cycle, Tranter says to first examine what happens in organizations that experience a lot of reactive maintenance:

1) Every time a preventable breakdown occurs, workers must stop what they are doing to fix the problem. This type of emergency work is often rushed, and the repairs can be performed incorrectly. The failing machine is at the mercy of whoever is available to do the job, regardless of whether or not they have the right skills, have been properly trained, or have the right tools.

2) Sometimes temporary repairs are performed with a “let's just get it done” attitude. The workers get the machine running with the intention of coming back later to do the repair work properly but, of course, later never happens. The necessary work is done quickly, which causes the machine to fail again in a short amount of time, wasting additional resources and time.

3) No root cause failure analysis is performed to determine what can be done to eliminate the failures from reoccurring. And if suggestions for improvements are made, they're either totally ignored or there’s just no time to implement them.

When management looks at these continual repairs and they see all the costs and resources being consumed by this downtime, they decide to make cuts to the maintenance department to recoup some of the losses. This means that there are now fewer people to do the same amount of work, causing morale within the department to decline. And, as more and more jobs are added to the to-do list, the maintenance backlog continues to grow until preventive maintenance tasks are missed.

Changes need to be made to break out of the cycle. So how can you break out of this "reactive maintenance cycle of doom"? To learn how, watch the on-demand webinar.


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