The Impact of Maintenance and Company Success:
5 Things you should know about the importance of maintenance
In the ever-evolving world of manufacturing, companies all over the world are trying to find new and creative ways to save money. For many organizations, finding a solution that helps them increase revenue or even simply maintain company success can be challenging to say the least.
However, with so many advancements in technology, solutions are now available to help you meet your financial goals and business objectives. Some solutions even help you do this by simply modifying your existing processes so you can start getting a better return on your existing investments.
Before we get to the Nitty Gritty, I first want to address a couple of common patterns that effect overall company success.
Change. It’s necessary
Many older companies today seem to be “stuck in their ways” and are reluctant to change how they do things. This is because some of them fail to see how their financial goals can be more easily achieved while others simply just think “it will just cost too much”. Therefore, they continue doing the same things every year in hopes something will magically change. Consequently for most, things only become worse.
Some company executives may just see that things are going well and profits are being made which can lead them to believe change is not necessary. As a result, most of them fail to see that utilizing new technology and better strategies can not only increase their revenue even more, but can save massive amounts of cost while decreasing the risk of future failures.
Benefit of change
Companies that were willing to step outside of their comfort zone have seen a substantial increase in revenue. Most importantly, they have also experienced greater efficiency, increased productivity, higher product quality, and a better working environment for employees.
Among many important factors, one major thing that has been found to help more than most is simply investing in existing processes and implementing proper maintenance practices in their day to day operations.
One of the most highly overlooked or disregarded processes for most companies is Maintenance.
Extensive research over the course of the last 15 years has proven that maintenance, or the lack thereof, has a tremendous impact on a company’s profitability. The effectiveness of proper maintenance is essential in attaining proficiency in production systems to meet long-term objectives. For most manufacturing companies, a production system in which maintenance is not given the proper attention and/or preventive maintenance is neglected, may easily lead to increased production downtime. Furthermore, it can lead to defective products, machinery damage, and decreased life span on critical assets, just to name a few.
Lack of proper maintenance or preventive maintenance can result in a quality and profitability nightmare!
As revenue decreases and maintenance costs increase, maintenance level technicians are then held accountable. They are then placed under a tremendous amount of pressure to quickly “fix the problem” while eliminating the cost to do so. With a poorly structured maintenance program, neither may not be possible.
Pressure begins to mound as goals are not met due to the lack of maintenance structure and the resources necessary for an effective maintenance program. Tension and stress begins to rise among key technicians and managers which then leads to poor work performance or loss of a valuable and knowledgeable employee. What comes next is nothing more than disastrous.
What can be done?
For starters, implementing a well-oiled and finely tuned maintenance program will have a tremendous positive impact. Research has shown that focusing on asset management, preventive maintenance, work order processing, and effective communication between all employees involved is essential in preventing most problems from happening in the first place.
Based on that research, I have come up with 5 things you should know about the importance of maintenance and how they contribute to success.
Effective maintenance can improve profits and decrease cost:
Yes, maintenance CAN generate profit and IS an important activity that should never be ignored. With today’s technology, maintenance programs are now being recognized as being one of the highest contributing factors in attaining a company’s goals and objectives. Not only financially, but with production efficiency and product quality as well.
Maintaining the availability and efficient operation of production equipment is essential to sustaining production capacity and the quality of your product. Capacity and quality creates profit. Effective Maintenance allows for both.
Efficient maintenance adds value through better utilization of resources:
When maintenance is focused more on being proactive vs reactive, asset performance is optimized and significant value is increased on the product that is being produced. The results of proper maintenance and preventive maintenance is; higher output, enhanced quality, and reduction in rework and scrap.
It also significantly increases the life span on costly equipment which ensures the longest possible utilization of key assets while maintaining regulatory compliance and warranty guidelines. In simplicity terms, “get more bang for your buck”.
Maintenance and production MUST have an integrated relationship:
This is a big one! Maintenance should be considered as an organizational function that functions in parallel with production. Read that again.
For some, the long-held view has been that production produces product, product produces profit, and maintenance produces loss and interferes with production. Therefore, maintenance is a limiting constraint. Without an efficient maintenance program in place, that view is most likely accurate.
But what if your production process could be optimized to run more efficiently? What if your assets could produce the product at a higher capacity, with better quality, and for a longer period? When the mindset changes, you will come to the realization that better maintenance is the best way to do that.
Implementing an effective and proactive maintenance program will have a drastic positive effect on output quantity and quality. When integrated WITH production operations, your assets will be running at optimal performance with less downtime for maintenance. This will also allow for better scheduling of maintenance tasks, decreased wrench time, and ultimately increases the life-span of the asset.
Maintenance significantly effects multiple aspects of production costs:
When considering the assets specifically, the costs associated with purchase, transportation, installations, depreciation, and disposal are huge. Wouldn’t it make sense to increase the life-span of the assets to get the most out of them as possible?
Production assets and the process of implementing them into your production environment is extremely expensive. We are talking about hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars to replace just one piece of equipment. Not to mention the costs of maintaining and operating backup equipment so you can continue production during replacement.
When considering the costs during an assets production cycle, wouldn’t it also make sense to ensure they run at optimal efficiency? When calculating the costs of utilities, machine stoppages, parts, maintenance, energy consumption, and material usage during the life span, it adds up quickly. Research shows that effective maintenance strategies are a key factor in reducing these costs.
Simply put, when maintenance is not utilized effectively and is more of a reactive process, you end up replacing your equipment more often. Furthermore, your downtime is increased and your operating costs increase because your equipment is working less efficiently. Most importantly, the cost of maintenance is higher when having to fix a problem more often rather than having the ability to predict the problem and prevent it before it happens.
Implementing effective maintenance into production is an investment. Not a limiting constraint.
We can all agree that maintenance costs are high regardless. With the costs of labor, spare parts, overhead, as well as the cost of production downtime for maintenance can be overwhelming. In a company where maintenance has always been viewed as a separate function from production, those costs will most likely persist and/or increase.
With that said, maintenance is also inevitable for every manufacturing company and cannot be avoided. Wouldn’t changing your focus and allowing maintenance to work FOR you instead of against you be the smartest option? Change your focus because it’s possible!
Ensuring that your products are produced fast, delivered at the right time with the right quality, and produced with the lowest possible cost requires optimum availability. This can be attained by an efficient maintenance policy integrated within production.
Here is the bottom line!
Extensive research has proven that within the manufacturing industry, an effective maintenance program is one of the most significant factors in overall company success. What should also be recognized is that maintenance is not just about ensuring proper function of your assets. It is an essential support function that is indispensable.
Whether your mindset is on maintenance being a limiting constraint, too costly, or you think it’s the one thing that drags your company down, there is still one thing for certain; If you don’t have maintenance you can’t continue production. Without production, your company fails.
Either way, maintenance is necessary. So why not have a proactive mindset and let your maintenance program start working for you rather than against you? After all, having a proactive mindset is the first step to success in any capacity.
How do you get there?
To establish a solution that works, you must first change your mindset and make a choice to let maintenance start working for you. Second, you need to find a software solution that streamlines all your processes while helping you keep track of everything. Third, you need a company with the right tools and the expertise in knowing how to use them.
We have what you need!
At DigitalThinker, we understand the importance of maintenance and company success. We help guide companies in the right direction every day. It’s what we do best. To us, it’s more than just providing a service. It’s about helping companies who are stuck in the cycle of endless increasing costs and production constraints that keep them from growing. Our company is built on helping to keep the manufacturing industry alive and thriving better than ever before.
As an Infor Associate Channel Partner, we have the tools and resources you need to start your transformation. As EAM consultants, we have the experience and expertise needed to develop and implement your solutions while guiding you in the right direction along the way.