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How To Tackle Deferred Maintenance And Avoid Costly Downtime
Deferred maintenance can waste thousands of dollars each year due to a lack of consistent, proactive repairs. If your team still operates on a reactive approach to maintenance, it’s time for a change. Here are the dangers of deferred maintenance and how to transition to a more proactive approach to inspections and repairs.
8 Strategies To Combat Your Maintenance Backlog
1. Conduct an audit of current maintenance processes and projects.
A maintenance audit is designed to help your organization identify solutions to maintenance-related problems. You’ll also identify the root causes of why work orders are getting backlogged. What steps can be taken to improve processes and eliminate barriers? Include all members of the maintenance team in the audit process. The final result will be a report that features employee feedback and ideas for rapid departmental improvement.
2. Log maintenance activities in building infrastructure software.
Instantly increase productivity by centralizing all data in a cloud-based building infrastructure software. This way, team members have instant access to asset data, work order histories, service requests, equipment locations, and documentation (like O&M manuals and receipts). No more running around and sifting through piles of paper; harness the power of software to capture wrench time, improve productivity and boost ROI.
3. Leverage software to centralize work orders.
Say goodbye to bulky binders and messy filing cabinets. Building infrastructure software features are designed to help teams get organized and tackle deferred maintenance tasks more efficiently. Software also increases visibility to upcoming preventive maintenance tasks, enabling your team to use their time more wisely. Your whole team will benefit from having an easy-to-understand work order system and instant, computerized access to asset information.
4. Prioritize your list of backlogged maintenance tasks.
Staying on top of emergencies and reactive work while also prioritizing preventive maintenance is no easy feat. Help your team reduce stress, prioritize tasks and balance work by categorizing backlogged tasks into two categories:
- “Immediate Attention” Tasks: Deferred tasks that are cited (or could be cited) for safety violations or require repairs to return to normal operations. Tend to these projects first.
- “Delayed Attention” Tasks: Deferred tasks that could become critical if not addressed within a certain time frame. Prioritize these projects once “immediate attention” tasks have been dealt with.
Your team may also find it helpful to further categorize tasks. For example, you may choose to sort tasks by cost to upgrade, length of time to repair, asset lifecycle, contractor vs. in-house repair, or interdependencies (i.e. which processes will be put on hold while repairs take place). Deferred task prioritization is a great way to get stakeholder buy-in and demonstrate how backlogged tasks impact them versus how they impact you.
5. Strengthen your team’s preventive maintenance program.
One of the best ways to prevent maintenance emergencies and deferred maintenance is to increase your preventive maintenance (PM) efforts. Compile a list of all the asset categories each team is responsible for, and then identify the PM tasks associated with those assets. Once this information is collected, you can begin to schedule future work orders to service the asset in advance.
- Did you know? Some building infrastructure software options offer a preventive maintenance scheduling module to send automated task reminders to your team members. When a task needs to be completed, the technician is alerted and they’ll have all the information they need right at their fingertips.
6. Conduct a life-cycle cost analysis on critical pieces of equipment.
From planning through disposal, life-cycle costing is a technique that facilities personnel can use to understand the true cost of an asset over the course of its useful life. A life-cycle cost analysis will help you gain a better understanding of how a poorly-maintained asset could end up costing your organization thousands more than if the asset were regularly maintained and properly serviced. Data from a life-cycle cost analysis will enable you to work with your financial team to forecast an accurate amount of money for maintenance reserves.
In order to manage finances properly, facilities directors must have adequate funding for operations, maintenance and repairs. Getting additional funding is easier if your team is able to provide solid data that shows where your current budget is allocated and how it is affecting your department’s overall success.
A software’s statistics dashboard can do the work for you by compiling critical data and assembling helpful reports. Use this information to convince senior leadership that a budget increase is necessary to save money and reduce overall deferred maintenance.
8. Educate yourself on the industry’s latest preventive maintenance techniques.
Are you looking to build your knowledge of preventive maintenance best practices? If so, check out these industry resources, which feature tips and tricks on shifting to a more proactive approach to operations. During the next week or two, carve out time during your day to read these articles.
- Preventive Maintenance 101: How to Implement a Successful Program
- The Facility Manager’s Preventive Maintenance Toolkit
- What is Preventive Maintenance? Here’s the True Definition
- Preventive vs. Reactive Maintenance: What’s the Difference?
A long list of deferred maintenance can be stressful. But with the proper tools and resources, your team will be empowered to tackle your backlog one step at a time. Follow the action items in this article and you’ll be one step closer to improving your organization’s bottom line and getting ahead on maintenance.
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