Have you ever considered what your company’s definition of “maintenance” may be? Unfortunately, within many organizations “maintenance” is simply synonymous with “fix-it”. Maintenance is derived from the word “maintain” and that concept is critical for equipment reliability. Basically, your goal should be to maintain your equipment to some standard and functional ability. When equipment is allowed to reach a point of breakdown, then we have actually failed to maintain it.
How do we maintain our equipment to standards for performance, safety, quality, etc.? First, is design. Second comes proper installation. Thirdly, good operation. Improper operations can result in breakdowns and inability of a machine to meet the defined standards. Fourth, precision maintenance skills, condition monitoring, planning & scheduling and execution of the foregoing are required to maintain equipment and ensure it can meet functional requirements upon demand.
Always remember your maintenance department cannot overcome poor design, improper installation, incorrect operation of the equipment, improper maintenance execution (poor craft skills, bad planning and scheduling, and so on). These things will result in repeated repairs (“fix-it”) and extra costs to meet the desired standards (operation, safety, quality, etc.) Properly maintaining equipment requires the involvement of many individuals and groups within your company.
Perhaps some discussion about the definition of “maintenance” may create opportunities for improvement within your company.