Repair or Replace??

“If the maintenance costs get high enough, we will just replace it.” This phrase seems to represent a common attitude throughout both maintenance and manufacturing industries. This belief often represents an inaccurate understanding of where high maintenance costs come from and what the proper method for reducing them would be.

Many asset managers still operate under the impression that older assets exhibit higher failure rates. There is growing evidence that demonstrates that the majority of failure modes for any given asset are often a direct result of how the machine is treated, and not necessarily how old the asset is. How machines and other equipment are operated, lubricated, cleaned, and maintained, as well as how the parts are stored and installed plays a role in the failure rates and the longevity of different assets throughout any facility.

There are many things to consider when deciding whether it is time to repair what you have or purchase new, for everything from bathroom fixtures to equipment and machines. Here are a few of the questions you should take into consideration before you make your next big decision.

  • Are there significant costs for downtime and troubleshooting if the equipment goes down again?
  • Have there been cost effective enhancements made to the design or functionality of the fixture or equipment?
  • Are there safety or ergonomic issues that can be dealt with if a new model is purchased?
  • Are you looking to replace just because the room is getting a facelift? If the fixtures work, will a good cleaning with the right products suffice?
  • What is the potential downtime, and how much of your facility will that impact, for both a repair and a replacement?
  • Post-repair quality may decrease following another repair, what will future maintenance costs as well as the immediate cost be?
  • What kind of time and costs might be required to train people on a new asset?
  • What are the installation costs for putting in the new equipment and the costs associated with disposing of the old asset?
  • Is the equipment nearing its life expectancy anyway?
  • Do you need the tax advantages or operating efficiency a replacement might offer?
  • Is it still under warranty and how many times have you run into trouble with it? (Be sure to have a warranty tracking policy in place.)
  • If your equipment has a lower energy-efficiency rating than newer models, will it reduce costs in the long run by switching it out?
  • Is equipment so old it is hard to find parts, or will the cost of parts on new equipment be significantly higher since it is newer?

Once you know the answer to these questions you can make a more educated decision on the best path forward for your facility.

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