To Delay or not Delay Maintenance.
(That should not be the question.)
We have all been there. Procrastination. Whether the cause is insufficient funding, not enough staff, or other reasons. We have all posed the questions “What’s the harm in waiting another hour or day? What’s one more month really going to do?” Before you know it, a simple task has become something far more difficult and expensive to deal with.
There is no doubt the cost of deferred maintenance is high. Buildings will start to prove their age and inefficiency, and major systems will have shorter life cycles. The results may quietly build up before you even know it is happening.
There is always an associated cost when you defer maintenance. According to research completed by Rick Biedenweg, president of Pacific Partners Consulting Group and colleagues: “Every $1 deferred in maintenance costs $4 of capital renewal needs in the future.”
Inadequate funding and insufficient staffing are the most common reasons for deferring maintenance. Maintenance managers and technicians may not fully understand the tasks that are required to properly maintain equipment or systems. Those setting the budget may not understand all the costs associated with deferring maintenance. This means that knowledgeable managers need to lay out all the costs of deferred maintenance, from emergency repairs to collateral damage in order to get the funding and staff required for proper maintenance.
Here are some of the costs associated with deferred maintenance.
Emergency repairs. Deferring maintenance changes the dynamic from proactive to reactive. When maintenance becomes reactive, the equipment decides when it needs emergency service or replacement. This may cause after hours overtime or peak occupancy shutdowns and service disruptions adding pressure to fix the issue at all costs. If parts need to be ordered, delays can further pile on added monetary outlay.
Reduced efficiency. Systems that are properly maintained run more efficiently and reduce energy costs. Periodic cleaning and maintenance ensure that the intended operating efficiencies remain in place. Skipping even one cleaning can reduce efficiency by as much a 5% depending on the system.
Shorter equipment life. One of the most important factors of expected equipment life is how the equipment is maintained. Without proper maintenance the life expectancy of equipment and buildings themselves is shortened. Peeling paint may allow water penetration leading to cracking, decay and eventually the need to replace the wood. Mechanical systems that are not cleaned, lubricated and inspected can lead to failure of consumable parts like belts and vibration that could lead to other failures.
Damage of property. Putting off things like HVAC cleaning, roof repair or gutter cleaning could cause water to enter areas that may cause damage to walls, insulation, electrical wiring, flooring and more. Now in addition to fixing the problem, damaged structures will have to be repaired or replaced, yet another cost increase.
As you can see, any savings from not lubricating moving parts, performing minor repairs and paying personnel to do preventive maintenance tasks are quickly eaten up by long-term costs incurred for emergency service, unexpected breakdowns and more frequent replacements. So why wait? Save yourself headaches and your business money, and implement a preventive maintenance plan today.