Here are some excerpts from Robert M. Williamson, Strategic Work Systems, Inc. regarding his experience with what PM’s should be and how they provide value:

“Let’s take a clean slate look at maintenance. What should maintenance be and do? Here are a few key points:

1. The top priority of maintenance should be to preserve the equipment and facility conditions. Some would call it “mission ready” condition. Regardless of who performs the work, keeping equipment and facilities in good shape is a foundation for market competitiveness. And good maintenance protects the investment of the owners and shareholders. Over the years, first-hand experience and studies have shown that reactive/repair-based maintenance costs the business 10 to 100 times more than preventive maintenance.

2. The priority order for maintenance activities should be as follows: 1) preventive, 2) planned repairs, 3) problem solving, 4) improving, 5) unplanned/emergency repairs, 6) setup/changeovers, 7) fabrication and then 8) installation projects. If the maintenance group does not have time to do preventive maintenance, planned repairs and problem solving, then they have no business doing fabrication and installation projects. They just keep digging the emergency-repair hole deeper. Unfortunately, unplanned/emergency repairs have a way of moving from #5 priority to #1—all the more reason for focusing on the top four priorities—to eliminate unplanned/emergency work.

3. The top business policy priorities in a capital-intensive operation include health, environmental, safety, quality and equipment and facility reliability. They are not five separate priorities but five equal priorities. Be careful with the politically correct statement: “Safety is our top priority here.” Stringing these priorities in linear fashion can be conveniently numbered: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. In reality, business demands a systemic perspective: health and environmental and safety and quality and reliability.

The Business Costs of Inadequate Preventive Maintenance

Lack of adequate preventive maintenance can be a huge unpredictable cost to the business the same as when workplace safety suffers. The lack of adequate PM costs more than merely making the repairs. Poorly maintained equipment is often an accident waiting to happen. People often get injured while making emergency repairs and during the aftermath of cleanup. So add the list above to the following costs of inadequate preventive maintenance or a reactive maintenance program:

  • Maintenance (repair) labor costs increase (unpredictable and uncontrollable).
  • OEM technician costs increase (unpredictable and uncontrollable).
  • Maintenance overtime labor cost increases (unpredictable and uncontrollable).
  • Spare parts costs and inventory increase (unpredictable and uncontrollable).
  • Expedited repair parts (Shipping costs increase.)
  • Planned work gets deferred or cancelled. (Productivity is reduced.)
  • Attitudes suffer as emergencies increase. (Productivity declines.)
  • Damaged, defective and/or lost product (increased costs, lost efficiency)
  • Workflow is interrupted. (Orders are not delivered on time.)
  • Costs of goods/services sold increase. (Price increase?)
  • Late shipments (Customer penalty/fines)
  • Customers are disappointed (potential market loss).

The investment in preventive maintenance pays big dividends. A recent example shows that unplanned downtime was reduced by 18 hours per month by spending $508.00 on preventive maintenance labor and materials with 6.16 planned downtime hours per month. This resulted in a cost savings of $115,536.50 per month and an additional $53,280 in production output per month. Astounding!”

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