A reactive maintenance strategy is one that focuses on fixing equipment after it breaks down or fails. Reactive maintenance was the predominant strategy for many years, but as new software and technology tools became available, proactive approaches like preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance became more prevalent. Most maintenance programs today are some combination of reactive and proactive.
While the perfect ratio of reactive to proactive maintenance varies based on many factors, there are 5 primary consequences of reactive maintenance strategies that are compelling reasons for companies to continue to shift toward more proactive approaches:
- Reduced Safety
- High Unplanned Downtime
- Maintenance Labor Inefficiency
- Shortened Asset Life
- Increased Maintenance Costs
High Unplanned Downtime
One of the primary goals of manufacturing maintenance programs is to limit unplanned downtime. Preventive maintenance programs focus on regularly schedule maintenance based on calendar time or in-service utilization that prevents the downtime event. Reactive maintenance strategies allow downtime events to occur. As a result, manufacturers who use reactive strategies have a much higher frequency and longer durations of unplanned downtime than those who employ preventive or predictive maintenance approaches.
Maintenance Labor Inefficiency
One often overlooked consequence of a reactive maintenance strategy is its contribution to maintenance labor inefficiency. It is very difficult to plan work schedules when unknown maintenance events take priority. The maintenance planner/scheduler job can be extremely challenging when unplanned downtime events frequently interrupt scheduled work.
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