6 Tips To Reduce Equipment Maintenance Costs

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reducing maintenance management costsEquipment maintenance costs at many organizations can be a significant expense. As a result, maintenance managers or supervisors will often be under pressure to reduce these costs. Due to its impact on the bottom line, senior management will also take interest in such cost reductions.

Have you ever had this happen to you?

Impact of equipment maintenance costs on profits

A report by E.I. DuPont de Nemours Co. (Delaware) said that the largest, single controllable expenditure in a manufacturing plant is maintenance. Therefore in many manufacturing plants the maintenance budget exceeds annual net profit!

Maintenance department costs can also be a significant expense in other types of commercial facilities.

Just think about it!

Often it may look impossible to find ways to cut or hold costs. Especially when equipment keeps breaking down and the maintenance department is overstretched.

However, there are a few things that can help you control maintenance expenditures while meeting expectations of the maintenance department.

Some of these ideas are an based on the tips in our “Maintenance Management – Tips For Success” e-booklet.

Equipment Maintenance cost reduction strategies

1. Review all maintenance procedures & simplify them

What could this mean?

Many procedures will have grown over time. In short we may no longer need some steps. For instance, better spares or newer procedures may now be available. In addition, there is a tendency of job instructions to grow over time! To make sure a job is done correctly, we will add more & more detailed steps.

However, too much complexity will cause confusion. As a result, people will tend to fill checklists without really doing the steps. Research shows that people have difficulty handling more than seven items at a time. So identify the most important steps and specify them.

2. Understand and follow safe work practices

It can be tempting to cut some corners and complete work faster. However, this can be an expensive mistake if there is a major accident or technicians get injured. Above all we must make sure that technicians and equipment operators have appropriate safety training and do follow them.

3. Better management of unpredictable unplanned or breakdown maintenance

We should build in buffer time to handle such work. This means we break each day or week into periods for planned maintenance based on a category.

For instance, category A (must be done), category B (should be done sometime soon) and category C (nice to do). In short, we will schedule unplanned maintenance as needed around time for category C or even category B maintenance.

As a result, this can help prevent cascading maintenance issues and associated continuous firefighting. Read more about this in “7 Breakdown Maintenance Planning Tips“.

4. Create a maintenance calendar of scheduled work in the next month, quarter or year for critical equipment

We should share maintenance scheduled dates on critical equipment with operations. We use this to make sure that it will not conflict with their plans. Learn more about the value of this calendar in “How To Schedule Equipment Preventive Maintenance“.

5. Educate non-maintenance personnel to detect potential maintenance issues and report them

For example an unusual noise during machine operation that may signal a potential bearing failure. We should use the maintenance request management features in our equipment maintenance software. This will make it easier for others to request maintenance or report potential issues.

6. Have the right tools – maintenance management software

When looking for CMMS software it may be tempting to get one with many bells & whistles. These can be things like fancy reports, integration with other systems, advanced monitoring or prediction capabilities and so on.

But that’s just part of the story…

Above all the value of the system will depend on the efforts we put into it. If we put “garbage in”, we will get “garbage out”! If too much data needs to be collected, most certainly it will not be done.

Integration with other systems may be incorrectly done or not implemented at all. So this will result in bad data. In addition, equipment monitoring systems can fail. For instance they may require their own maintenance which may not have be done.

All this results in questionable data or missed equipment maintenance. We should select the “right-sized” CMMS package that will work for us and our colleagues.

Want To Try CMMS Software For Free?

Get a free trial or online demo of FastMaint CMMS software. Use the trial to see how the above corrective and preventive maintenance cost reduction strategies will work. For instance techniques #1, #3, #4 and #5 really need to be done with a maintenance software program to be effective.

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