Business-Oriented Systems Maintenance Management

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Abstract

Maintenance introduces different actions that are taken to control the condition of equipment and deal with failures in the working process. Regarding the available resources, the staff, and the goals of organizations, leaders could choose between proactive, reactive, and other types of maintenance systems. In this report, attention will be paid to several systems, their characteristics, and their outcomes. Preventive, predictive, routine, and planned maintenance systems contain a proactive type in terms of which the regular inspections and services help to keep equipment in good repair. Breakdown and corrective maintenance systems are offered to deal with the already identified problems. This report also discusses several maintenance approaches that neither predict nor repair equipment but develop another way of controlling assets. Companies are not obliged to use maintenance systems, but their consideration is never superfluous in strategic management and organizational success. The goal of this paper is not to identify which type of maintenance is better but to discuss the most common systems for businesses in terms of costs, human resources, and equipment.

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Introduction

In the modern world of technological progress and a variety of resources, the idea of maintenance systems is not new. Maintenance is a concept that is characterized by regular services and checks to optimize devices and equipment and support functional units. The core aspect of such systems is to maintain and manage assets of facilities in regard to their budget, resources, goals, and experiences (“Types of maintenance,” n.d.). Due to the existing inequality and changes promoted by globalization and industrialization, there are many types of maintenance, which requires well-trained workers and software to create a strategy and follow it. Proactive maintenance is used as a preventive means to anticipate problems and detect them before they occur, and reactive maintenance is applied if a failure has already defined and the reaction is needed (Bellstedt, 2019). Both strategies can be categorized as per their functions and resources, including preventive, corrective, breakdown, predictive, emergency, deferred, condition-based, and planned/unplanned. In this report, the analysis of maintenance systems will be developed to promote a better understanding of maintenance management and cost-effective practices with the help of which it is possible to choose and preserve equipment.

Maintenance Systems Goals and Importance

Maintenance management plays a crucial role in any sphere where the role of equipment cannot be ignored. With the help of specific programs, employees are able to reduce waste, improve the quality of work, remove insufficiency, and promote progress. It is usually recommended to support regular maintenance because organizations are in need of guarantees. If short inspections and cleaning practices are taken as per a particular schedule, it is easy to make minor adjustments and identify problematic areas before they cause a negative impact. According to Chauhan (2019), maintenance systems complete two types of functions, primary and secondary. Their primary purposes include equipment lubrication, distribution of utilities, and installation or maintenance of buildings or other subjects (Chauhan, 2019). Secondary purposes are salvage, property accounting, protection against fires or criminals, and environmental control (Chauhan, 2019). These contributions are effective in different spheres, such as food processing, services, construction, or manufacturing, and organizations try to find out the newest and most appropriate systems. However, the areas where maintenance systems can be applied are frequently investigated, and new aspects or achievements are identified.

Depending on their resources, services, and possibilities, companies could choose between proactive and reactive types of maintenance. The essence of proactive maintenance is the importance of correcting the conditions of equipment before its failure or evident risks (“Proactive maintenance,” n.d.). Many organizations find it necessary to follow this approach and predict problems instead of thinking about how to correct the already made decision. The goal is to avoid a breakdown by any possible means, prevent outages, increase safety, and maximize the work of the equipment. At the same time, many leaders do not find it reasonable to spend their resources and predict a problem, believing that no breakdowns occur. The idea of reactive maintenance is to reduce costs and avoid hiring many people, whose services could be unnecessary (“Reactive maintenance,” n.d.). Although an unplanned crisis may cause serious changes and spending, some companies are confident in their systems and do not want to predict them in vain. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, supporters and opponents, and, to understand the worth of maintenance systems today, this report will be used as a detailed description of proactive and reactive approaches.

Proactive Maintenance Systems

Today, much attention is paid to the challenges and benefits of maintenance systems and their designs. Some people classify these systems as per their overall goals (to predict or to restore), and some organizations make their choices as per the frequency of procedures that have to be taken (routine, planned, unplanned). However, despite the type of classification, any maintenance system remains the source of original equipment manufacturer recommendations, with the machinery and people’s needs being critically explained (Gopalakrishnan & Banerji, 2013). In this report, the idea is to combine several approaches and develop a classification with the description of each type of maintenance.

Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is one of the common approaches to control equipment conditions and identify the areas that need special treatment. Gopalakrishnan and Banerji (2013) explain that the work of every machine requires an evaluation from time to time to predict or reduce the possibility of failures. Preventive services usually introduce routine inspections in terms of which all facilities are able to keep equipment in good repair (Wienker et al., 2016). The frequency of preventive programs depends on the needs and possibilities of an organization. Depending on predetermined intervals and prescribed criteria, these activities may be calendar-based, usage-based, historically based, or software-based (“Proactive maintenance,” n.d.). It is necessary to hire an expert, also known as the maintenance manager, who analyzes and detects weak areas. As soon as a potential threat is found, a team of employees must ensure that perfect functioning can be achieved within a short period as a result of several manipulations (Gopalakrishnan & Banerji, 2013). Such concepts as reliability, high-level performance, and efficiency should not be ignored.

Preventive maintenance systems are expensive, which makes the leaders of the organization think about the appropriateness of their implementation in a particular site. Planning and scheduling to prevent a mistake or failure add costs. This approach may achieve from 12% to 18% of cost savings (“Types of maintenance,” n.d.). However, if the goal to increase asset lifetime is achieved through repair, lubrication, and the replacement of certain parts, all the expenses will be approved. Applying several statistical methods to understand the relationship between life expectancy, replacement periods, and outcomes is recommended. The preventive maintenance method is used to provide guarantees that even if a mistake occurs, the utilization capacity of this equipment, machine, or system does not stop (Gopalakrishnan & Banerji, 2013). Sometimes, it is better and more effective to throw an item away and buy a new one in order to avoid losses if the same asset is repaired several times without evident positive results. As well as any other maintenance system, preventive one has its advantages and disadvantages, and the experience of organizations, the analysis of resources, and future accomplishment play a crucial role.

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Predictive Maintenance

Many students or even employees with degrees confuse the predictive and preventive approaches, believing that both of them have similar goals and methods. On the one hand, these systems are used to increase asset reliability and reduce the number of failures. According to their nature, both of them are scheduled, meaning that repairs and control have to be performed within a certain timeframe (“Types of maintenance,” n.d.). Scheduled maintenance has already been mentioned in this report in the form of a calendar-based intervention. People are assigned to complete scheduled predicting maintenance as per their available working hours, and outside coordination is required. On the other hand, any scheduled maintenance system occurs in two different ways, either repeatedly, following properly set intervals, or in response to a request to employees or instructions. This is the main difference between preventive and predictive maintenance: the former is regularly scheduled within a company, and the latter is scheduled as per asset (equipment) condition.

Condition-based maintenance turns out to be a part of a predictive maintenance system. This approach includes the application of various sensor devices with the help of which the condition of equipment is check, which allows performing maintenance as soon as some problem, change, or deviation is detected. There are many industries where working conditions are severe to either subjects (people) or objects (equipment). Therefore, it is important to predict failures by observing existing conditions and changes (Gopalakrishnan & Banerji, 2013). The establishment of specific sensors in real time helps predict failures and avoid unnecessary losses associated with too much or not enough maintenance.

There are four major steps in taking this approach, including the identification of baselines (asset limits), the choice of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, the connection between equipment and software, and the discussion of schedules when monitoring is obligatory. According to Chan (2019), an understanding of the concept of maintenance has been considerably improved during the last years due to the technological progress and automation processes. There are many cloud-connected IoT devices with the help of which distant monitoring and control are possible, and successful critical manufacturing is supported (Chan, 2019). These steps and technologies promote the possibility of vibration, acoustical, and infrared analyses, observations, and imaging to predict problems and set appropriate working timeframes.

Routine Maintenance

Routine maintenance is one of the types of preventive maintenance systems. It is frequently applied for large or small tasks that have to be performed at lower frequencies (“Types of maintenance,” n.d.). Compared to ordinary preventive operations, routine maintenance is the responsibility of operators, not technicians. It is possible to create a crew within an organization or hire a team outside the company and invite them as per the schedule (in the majority of cases, outside employees follow the agenda independently). People need to follow a list of tasks to check the condition of equipment or assets regularly or, as Gopalakrishnan and Banerji (2013) say, “as a cyclic operation recurring periodically” (p. 38). There are many examples of how routine maintenance is organized: many banks find it necessary to check the condition of their distant ATMs every morning or evening, or weekly checkups are recommended for machine tools.

There are many reasons for facilities to pay close attention to routine maintenance. In addition to the possibility to avoid failures and losses, managers evaluate the results of the work, reduce the usage of energy or the number of people, and promote consistent production. If some mechanic equipment is frequently applied, its users understand the need for lubrication, cleaning, or change of some parts. Such routine maintenance reduces downtime, increases rating, and positively influences working capacity. People get an opportunity to work under safe conditions, plan their quality standards internally, and document activities to track repair history (Chauhan, 2019). In addition to a number of expected benefits in the work of companies, there are many positive aspects in terms of its implementation. For example, it is not difficult to establish the most appropriate timeframes and follow them regularly as per individual needs. As soon as the company follows the same routine, involves the same repair crew, and deals with similar machines or equipment, it is easy to detect mistakes and understand what has to be re-done to achieve better results.

Planned Maintenance

In order not to confuse planned and routine maintenance systems, one should carefully investigate their main characteristics. In the discussion of routine maintenance, attention was paid to people and their responsibilities in terms of repair, cleaning, and other preventive activities. In planned maintenance, the emphasis is made on equipment and asset requirements (not people’s needs) (Gopalakrishnan & Banerji, 2013). In this system, the problem has to be recognized within a tool, and steps should be developed in accordance with its technical properties. The results of this type of checkups are used to formulate a key performance indicator, and the maintenance manager is responsible for giving recommendations (Gopalakrishnan & Banerji, 2013; “Types of maintenance,” n.d.). Sometimes, it is necessary to plan not a maintenance activity but a response (or reaction) that could help the company to develop additional tasks and goals (Bellstedt, 2019). In the routine maintenance system, instructions are brief but regular, and in the planned maintenance system, attention is paid to the details and the quality of inspections.

Reactive Maintenance Systems

When a company makes a conscious decision not to implement a system that predicts and prevents equipment failures, another approach to maintenance management has to be developed. The process of repairing assets after a breakdown or poor quality work is observed is known as reactive maintenance (“Reactive maintenance,” n.d.). This group of systems is frequently preferred by companies that do not have enough staff to implement such an intervention and plan to lower costs (by not spending money on unnecessary, as they believe, preventions) (Bellstedt, 2019). Corrective and breakdown activities are taken as part of reactive maintenance.

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Breakdown Maintenance

In many research articles and sources, breakdown maintenance is not identified as a separate system. Gopalakrishnan and Banerji (2013) admit that it should not be considered as a system at all because its main idea is doing nothing until a failure or problem occurs. According to this principle, companies do not take any measures to predict or prevent malfunction. No services are offered, but sometimes employees find it normal to clear or lubricate equipment but not regularly and without any particular purposes. However, it is crucial to remember that unplanned breakdowns may considerably worsen working conditions and lead to a number of serious problems in production, safety, or organizational units (“Reactive maintenance,” n.d.). Although the idea to spend less on unnecessary changes, control points, and improvements seem to be reasonable in terms of finance, a true cost of repairing without maintenance is hard to predict. The number of necessary resources to manage unplanned problems remains unclear until a company faces a challenge and tries to find a solution.

Breakdowns are usually unpredictable, but, as the experience of many organizations shows, are not obligatory. Therefore, it is possible to implement proactive maintenance systems (spend money) and still deal with failures or spend nothing and deal with new tasks as soon as they appear. Reactive activities are limited and depend on the abilities of the staff and the sources of the company. When a cycle of breakdowns is launched, its associated changes cannot be neglected. As a result, the breakdown maintenance system has to be replaced with another activity, and new goals must be developed.

Corrective Maintenance

Corrective maintenance or emergency maintenance is a system that is applied when something needs to be fixed within a short period of time. Some companies use this method as a reactive procedure, but, sometimes, it is possible to rely on it as a proactive means. Its essence lies in the necessity to restore machines or tools if they are not able to meet the required conditions or purposes (Gopalakrishnan & Banerji, 2013). To understand how this system works, the authors suggest imagining a situation many car owners face (Gopalakrishnan & Banerji, 2013). There is a car that is used regularly as per people’s needs. There are no specific devices or software to maintain its condition regularly, and much depends on how well a driver can recognize changes and raise concerns. If oil, gas, or petrol control is a part of a planned maintenance system, the work of the engine, the condition of the brakes, and pad functions are never undergone some regular or planned checkups. As soon as a person hears unusual sound or reaction to a command, the need for corrective maintenance occurs.

On the one hand, corrective maintenance is beneficial because it is offered just in time to help a person or a group of people to solve a problem. By its nature, this approach can prevent additional failures and negative consequences. Still, among its disadvantages, there are the inability to predict malfunction and the necessity to pay unpredictable (usually high) costs (Bellstedt, 2019). No one can give guarantees that failure never happens again because of a number of outside factors. At the same time, there is no confidence that the condition remains the same for a long time. Corrections may be required any time, and the application of this maintenance system is effective.

Additional Maintenance Systems

Some maintenance systems could be differentiated as proactive (to prevent failures) or reactive (to correct the already happened mistakes). However, there are also several types that play a special role in promoting safety and assisting companies with maintenance management and control. These systems include design out maintenance (DOM), total productive maintenance (TPM), and contracted maintenance. Their characteristics vary from those of reactive and proactive ones and have to be thoroughly studied in this report.

Design out Maintenance

Being poorly developed and resourced, many countries have to apply new methods to control their equipment. DOM system is one of such methods, the goal of which is to eliminate or minimize the implementation of maintenance (Gopalakrishnan & Banerji, 2013). Therefore, certain manipulations and decisions have to be made at the design stage. A number of economic and technical improvements are considered before a tool is offered to a company, and leaders agree to use them if they learn that no additional maintenance activities are necessary. This strategy is beneficial when failures are frequent and cannot be controlled even by highly educated experts. Instead of predicting problems and dealing with high maintenance costs, people are ready to pay a high price once and avoid continuous repairs and inspections.

Total Productive Maintenance

Several developed countries are interested in the promotion of the TPM idea. This strategy includes not only asset maintenance but also employee satisfaction and high morale (“Types of maintenance,” n.d.). Overall equipment effectiveness is combined with planned maintenance principles, which creates new opportunities to identify necessary resources, attention to the direct needs of the staff, and the reduction of work turnover. Leaders are interested in supporting their employees, and employees, in their turn, do everything possible to reduce the number of mistakes and asset problems.

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Contracted Maintenance

Finally, today, there are many organizations that lack experienced personnel who may services equipment and solve complex problems. However, it is important for a company to know that any problem that is discovered could be solved within a certain period. Therefore, the contracted-out maintenance system is offered as an alternative. Many business-to-business organizations introduce their services on contract, with all the responsibilities being properly identified (Gopalakrishnan & Banerji, 2013). The suppliers of tools and plants that have to be implemented in a company provide guarantees (signed contracts) and supervise in case of emergency. Sometimes, the deadline of the contract may expired, with services being unused. however, even under such conditions, companies do not lose anything from a financial or organizational point of view.

Conclusions

As a result, the topic of maintenance systems has been thoroughly discussed. Maintenance can be of different types, depending on the approaches and goals chosen by organizations. Proactive maintenance systems aim to predict equipment failure and improve the quality of work. Instead of repairing assets, employees follow preventive or predictive maintenance principles and choose an appropriate frequency of work (routine or planned maintenance). If leaders do not find it rational to spend costs on the prediction of mistakes, reactive maintenance systems are applied. They include breakdown (actions when a problem occurs) and corrective (shortages are fixed quickly) maintenance steps. If none of the above-mentioned systems meet the demands and resources of a company, total productive maintenance or design out maintenance types are considered to help companies stabilize their assets and improve the condition of machines and other equipment. There are no critical guidelines on how to choose a maintenance system, but recommendations discussed in this report enhance an understanding of maintenance management in general.

References

  1. Bellstedt, S. (2019). Proactive vs. reactive maintenance: What’s the difference – and can they actually work well together? Fiix. Web.
  2. Chan, R. (2019). Industry 4.0: How IoT will inspire a new era of maintenance technology. Forbes. Web.
  3. Chauhan, M. S. (2019). What is the need for & importance of maintenance management? Asset. Web.
  4. Gopalakrishnan, P., & Banerji, A. K. (2013). Maintenance and spare parts management (2nd ed.). PHI Learning Private Limited.
  5. Proactive maintenance. (n.d.). UpKeep. Web.
  6. Reactive maintenance. (n.d.). UpKeep. Web.
  7. Types of maintenance. (n.d.). UpKeep. Web.
  8. Wienker, M., Henderson, K., & Volkerts, J. (2016). The computerized maintenance management system an essential tool for world class maintenance. Procedia Engineering, 138(1), 413-420. Web.

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