Recently I have been confronted with the frequent question: What is Maintenance?

Now, I can already hear a couple of answers running through a few people’s minds… 

Let me ask you this: Are the following statements true or false, accurate or not accurate?

1.     Maintenance only spend money and don’t make any money.

2.     Maintenance are there to keep equipment running.

3.     Maintenance are only there to fix what Production has broken.

4.     Maintenance is a bottomless pit.

5.     Maintenance is not core business.

So what if I tell you that there is some truth in all of these statements? 

Let me explain:

1.    Maintenance only spend money and don’t make any money

From a pure P/L perspective, this is correct. Maintenance is traditionally not a profit centre. So yes, they don’t make any money. However, without Maintenance, there will be no asset for income generation. Thus, making the validity of this statement questionable. If the leadership in an organisation is of the above belief, the organisation will not succeed in the long run.

2.    Maintenance are there to keep equipment running

This may be the case. But if it is all your maintenance team is doing, there will be no progression, no forward momentum and no continuous improvement. Maintenance should not only keep your equipment running, but should be improving it on a continuous basis. If this is not the case, you need to review your maintenance team’s make up and structures.

3.    Maintenance are only there to fix what Production has broken

Again this may appear to be a factually correct statement, however there is more to it. Production operators are employed to operate your assets at the optimum level. If they operate your assets outside of the designed operating specifications, it will usually break. And it will break pre-maturely, and cost you more for repairs. Accidents do happen, but if it happens regularly, it is no accident, but a systemic problem. If this systemic problem is not addressed, your maintenance effort will spiral out of control. Also remember that all equipment is just that. A piece designed to operate and do a job for a finite life. Equipment do not last forever, not even if you operate it 100% correctly.

4.    Maintenance is a bottomless pit

Maintenance will seem like a bottomless pit, when spending is out of control. If the spending is out of control, you should investigate the drivers. If you have systemic damage occurring, review point 3. If you keep fixing the same problem, review point 2.

5.    Maintenance is not core business

From a purist perspective this seems correct. As said, attributing Profit to a Maintenance activity is hard (obviously maintenance services suppliers are excluded from this) as maintenance do not seem to be core business. However, if your maintenance is under control, ever improving, it will be a clear core business activity. What does it mean? It may not be core business, generating income, but it is a core business activity that supports other income generating activities. It is the same with Safety, it does not make money, but without it, you will soon be out of business.

Does any of the above resonate with you? Do you feel like you need more control over your Maintenance function? Do you need to review your Maintenance activity or form a better understanding of your activities and efforts? Give Asset Optimisation a call and let us help you to review your maintenance efforts.


For a conversation on how we can assist you,

please contact us

DERICK MARTINS  - Specialist Coach

M: 0418 295 374      |      Email Us

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