Manufacturing companies that include maintenance recommendations for everything from small power tools to production equipment do so for good reasons. Although planned maintenance does have associated productivity and financial costs, in most cases, adopting a proactive approach to maintaining equipment and company vehicles has distinct advantages. While some advantages affect your business directly and others have a more indirect effect, all can work to increase overall profitability.
There’s often a world of difference in how a preventative versus reactive maintenance strategy affects business profits. Although you may initially realize more up-time and greater productivity by never taking a tool or piece of equipment off line for servicing, this short-term view often has equally short-term benefits. A preventative maintenance schedule not only helps to minimize the initial purchase price by extending useful lifetime, but it also may decrease power costs, because well-maintained equipment typically requires less electricity or fuel to run. In addition, opportunities to plan and budget for replacement parts can lead to better and less-costly purchasing decisions.
Preventative maintenance can be a cost-effective way to meet customer service goals and at the same time strengthen your company’s public image. If unplanned downtime due to malfunctioning or failed equipment means you can’t offer your customers the right products at the right time, it might not matter that your products are of higher quality than a competitor's products. In contrast, businesses that customers can count on to offer quality products on a reliable schedule often have a better reputation.
In addition to obvious productivity advantages such as decreased downtime due to fewer unexpected equipment breakdowns and failures, preventative maintenance allows your employees to spend less time on pre-production setup. Not having to spend time adjusting or finding workarounds for components that don’t work correctly increases productivity. Planned maintenance also allows you to optimize work schedules. For example, knowing in advance that a machine or a production line will be down for two hours of scheduled maintenance allows you to shift employees to other work areas or schedule a safety meeting.
Well-maintained equipment leads to a safer working environment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that every business implement a preventative maintenance strategy, even if it’s not a compliance requirement. According to OSHA, a preventative maintenance schedule is vital to make sure that hazard controls continue to function effectively and to prevent equipment malfunctions from creating new workplace hazards. These include not only potential physical injuries from flying objects and strains and sprains that can occur from lifting and pulling, but also injuries due to excess noise.