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What Is The Difference Between Planned And Reactive Maintenance?

Maintenance is the action taken to keep something running or in good condition, but in a commercial business there is great value invested in processes running correctly, and hence maintenance is a very important factor.

Businesses rely on processes and equipment operating effectively and efficiently and breakdowns can be costly in terms of repairs, but also in terms of lost production or revenue, wasted man hours and loss of reputation. Maintenance also contributes to the longevity of processes and equipment, so in simple terms, if you look after something it works for longer. And in a business sense, if you have invested capital in machinery or equipment, it is important that you maintain its condition to operate at its maximum capability, which will ultimately mean that you will see a return on your investment much quicker, ie. the savings or additional sales you predicted to justify the investment, will arrive much sooner.

Maintenance is important to commercial businesses, and a failure to carry out important tasks can be very expensive. In this respect, there are two types of maintenance, which differ quite significantly; planned and reactive maintenance. At Robinsons Facilities Services (RFS) we would always recommend planned maintenance.

What is planned maintenance?

Planned maintenance is work that is scheduled and agreed upon to be carried out on equipment over a specific period, for this example let’s say a year. This means that over a 12 month period you can schedule work to be done on equipment every three months or every six months, to ensure parts are replaced, cleaned and tested. In other words, you know when your equipment will be ‘down’ and can plan around it. Effectively this means that a scheduled stop on a routine basis prevents an unscheduled stop at any time that you can’t predict.

This also means that parts we know can wear or get clogged up can be replaced or cleaned BEFORE they become a problem that can lead to a breakdown. This not only prevents costly downtime, but ensures the equipment runs smoothly and at peak performance. It also means that we can accurately budget for our maintenance costs and we can predict what replacement parts will be needed and keep a stock of these with easy access.

What is reactive maintenance?

Reactive maintenance is attending to issues only when they occur. This is also called breakdown maintenance. It is sometimes viewed as leaving things in the lap of the Gods and keeping your fingers crossed that nothing will go wrong, but effectively, you aren’t in control. If you follow a reactive maintenance philosophy you can’t predict when things will go wrong, you don’t know if you will have the knowledge or skills to fix them and you don’t know if you will have the replacement parts availability.

To a business, reactive maintenance can be costly and while unforeseen problems can always happen with equipment, even under a planned maintenance programme, it is always better to do everything you can to prevent known problems that are likely to occur.

A good example of planned maintenance

In order to illustrate the difference between planned and reactive maintenance, you only have to look at a car. Filling the car with petrol, water and oil may seem like an obvious thing to do, but this is in fact planned maintenance – we don’t want the car not to start! In addition, we have the car periodically serviced to check the brakes, exhaust and motor etc, but if we didn’t do this we would run out of petrol and the car would seize up, leading to a costly and frustrating way to live.

The machines and equipment used in commercial businesses work on the same principle. Planned maintenance can be complex and requires skilled and qualified staff, but it allows us to be organised and to plan ahead with knowledge and confidence. Hence, Robinsons Facilities Services will always recommend planned maintenance and we can talk to you about your business, your equipment and what we can do to keep you running and your maintenance costs down.

For more information on our planned maintenance services, please contact us.

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