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The Role of Automation in Successful Preventive, Condition-Based, and Reactive Maintenance

Maintenance is vital for any facility if pieces of equipment are essential for routine operations. Maintenance reduces the operational expenses of a business when done wisely. Maintenance can be divided into two categories, namely proactive and reactive maintenance. Reactive maintenance may not help in the long-term upkeep of a business. For the upkeep of non-critical assets, you can use reactive maintenance as reactive maintenance is cost-effective. In this blog, let us focus on reactive maintenance. Reactive maintenance is performed only when equipment issues crop up. You wait for equipment failure to repair assets to standard operating conditions. Reactive maintenance lowers costs, consumes fewer resources, requires no prior planning, and is not associated with complex schedules. Let’s analyze various reactive maintenance techniques. Various types of reactive maintenance techniques are:

1. Breakdown Maintenance

In Breakdown maintenance, the asset has stopped working and calls for repair. Maintenance teams repair it as per the asset priority. They attend to high-priority assets quicker and those with lower priority at leisure, based on asset need. The technique is applied for non-operational and repairable assets.

2. Run-to-Failure Maintenance

The run-to-failure maintenance technique inclines towards planned maintenance. An asset is permitted to run till break down after which it is repaired or replaced. Assets are kept on standby to compensate production until the teams repair failed assets.

3. Run-to-Failure Maintenance

Corrective maintenance is a reactive maintenance technique that provides a temporary solution to the problem. The maintenance team does not focus on the root cause of the problem. It does not apply to extreme disruptions of performance. Corrective maintenance tasks can either be planned or unplanned. Corrective maintenance is performed under these circumstances: There are three situations when corrective maintenance occurs:
  • When an issue is detected through condition-based monitoring
  • When techs detect a potential fault during routine inspections
  • When actual equipment breakdown occurs without posing any safety threats.

4. Emergency Maintenance

It is a maintenance activity wherein a critical asset has failed suddenly. It needs to be restored to normalcy for the direct impact on the production and credibility of the business. Emergency maintenance is of high priority and usually expensive.

Benefits of Reactive Maintenance

Reactive maintenance makes sense for equipment where replacement saves time and money compared to repair.Though maintenance teams must perform a high degree of proactive maintenance compared to reactive maintenance, the latter offers some benefits:

1. Low Initial Costs

A notable benefit is that reactive maintenance frees you up from initial investments or upfront costs. However, the long-term expenses may shoot up and become unpredictable.

2. No Planning Required

Owing to a simple strategy reactive maintenance does not require planning and scheduling beforehand. Tasks consume less time and resources for maintenance tasks.

3. Limited Maintenance Crew

You can outsource maintenance work and avoid frequent expenses. Staffing needs are less compared to preventive and predictive maintenance.

Drawbacks of reactive maintenance

  1. Sudden breakdowns will require calls during odd hours.
  2. Maintenance task reassignments may clash with production schedules.
  3. Maintenance scheduling and streamlining is difficult with reactive maintenance.
  4. As you are unsure of your maintenance needs, it is difficult to allocate resources. Inventory management becomes highly ineffective.

How to perform reactive maintenance as early as possible?

As a general rule of thumb, always prefer preventive maintenance over reactive maintenance techniques  as it is cheaper in the long run. An organized approach to maintenance management is the only solution. Traditional methods using heaps of paper, spreadsheets, mobile calls, e-mails, etc., are highly inefficient. CMMS software can help you out in the following ways: Whether you carry out maintenance in-house or outsource it, completely or partially, you can prioritize tasks and define a service-level agreement (SLA) outlining maximum response times, multiple reminders & escalations to receive timely mobile alerts on violations, etc. CMMS software provides real-time visibility into the current workload of technicians. Not just that! View continuous updates on routes until they arrive at your premises. The ability is essential to get the techs to work at the earliest with transparency on travel. You can precisely measure the downtime, time technicians worked on various reactive maintenance tasks, their attendance, obtain work estimates, etc. This information is needed to bargain service costs and reinstating assets to production cycles at the earliest. With historical data on asset performance serving as a baseline, you can view valuable KPIs and metrics that a CMMS application calculates automatically to choose the best technician for work. A CMMS provides all the information and processes required to manage service contracts, renew contracts, and track payment details. It is easy for maintenance supervisors to produce accurate records on maintenance work and get the work approved by senior management. Production houses can also help technicians with clear-cut step-by-step instructions along with multimedia illustrations and comments which help in preserving the quality of fixes. The maintenance management software stores all the needed information to carry out work orders quickly and effectively such as user manuals and documents in a centralized repository for uninterrupted access and progress on reactive work orders.

Create a culture of excellence in maintenance

While automating reactive maintenance is important, it is highly recommended that facilities incline more toward preventive/condition-based maintenance. Generate important reports on proactive, condition-based, and reactive maintenance in a few clicks to plan training requirements, perform internal audits, analyze past work orders for continuous improvements, etc. Optimize the teams’ workload and oversee work progress while on the go or away from the facility. Get a clear glimpse of the progress of outstanding proactive and reactive maintenance tasks with the power of the mobile app. When you have a lot of equipment, automation of maintenance workflows is a must to keep the ball rolling in production with minimal impacts due to downtime.

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