Maintenance Or Repair – How To Decide

maintenance-repair-37846418_sWhen buying a used car, it’s always good if you can see a pile of maintenance records. Someone took care of the car and spent money to make sure it was kept in good shape.

Buying a chemical company is just the same, and in any assessment of the condition of a plant, a good place is to start is in the maintenance department.

Chemvalon often reviews budgets and financial statements which show expenditure on repairs and maintenance. But which cost is it? A repair cost, or a maintenance expense?

Many businesses actually do very little by way of actual maintenance. They take a “run to fail” approach and most of the expenditure is better characterized as repairs, rather than maintenance.

If your company takes a “run to fail” approach – it will fail and each failure will tend to be a surprise. Maintenance typically involves a planned approach, while a repair culture screams out a reactive approach.

Maintenance usually pays off in the long run, whereas a repair-it mentality usually costs more in the long run. So which type of organization are we looking at?

You can start by looking at the repairs and maintenance system. Is there a written system with planned down time, critical spares inventories and evidence of non-destructive testing methods? Is there clear evidence of calibration, alignment, balancing, training and testing, etc.? Is there a management of change process in place?

If you can’t measure it – you can’t improve it. Is anyone generating metrics to measure down time? Does maintenance fall under the ISO system for quality assurance? Is the maintenance shop clean and tidy, are spare parts tagged? Are equipment failures investigated, root causes determined and corrective actions implemented?

An experienced ear and a sharp eye can tell a lot from looking at the way maintenance is managed.

Let Chemvalon be your eyes and ears, saving you money and risk. Contact us to learn more.