Preventive Maintenance Software vs the $5,000.00 Flat Tire
We know Preventive Maintenance Software prevents equipment problems. We also know a preventive maintenance software saves time and money. The cost penalty for not doing preventive maintenance is severe. But, because most equipment does not fail immediately when it has not been maintained on a regular schedule, we treat preventive maintenance as a nicety instead of a necessity. The fact is that this gradual failure becomes more and more costly as operation continues. This can be illustrated by showing the steps involved in something as straightforward as a flat tire on your vehicle as compared to a bearing failure at your company!
Just Another Normal Day
Ready: You’re already late for the customer meeting a couple of towns over, can’t seem to get off the phone long enough to make sure you have your car keys and directions while trying not to spill your coffee as you deal with this mornings fires.
Set: A quick kiss and you’re off (Darn, got to find a way to spend more time at home!) Finally, you’re belted in your vehicle and trying to get your head in today’s game. Thankfully, the traffic is light and you are able to push the speed limit to make up for lost time. The handling seems a little soft, you think, probably should get that checked. About a half hour after getting off the highway you realize things are seriously not quite what they should be. Another few seconds and you know you have a flat tire!
Breakdown!: You express your thoughts out loud, (hoping there’s someone around to hear them,) and carefully maneuver to the side of the road. You were on your way to a remote customer for an important team presentation. Your flat happens in the valley where there is no cell phone coverage. Your spare tire is also flat. The thought of preventive maintenance is starting to creep, not so subtly, into your subconscious. (“Was that tire low the last time I looked? When did I actually LOOK at, much less check, the tires? How often am I supposed to check the tires, anyway?!? Hey, maybe that’s why my gas mileage has been so bad lately!”.) You’re stuck for an hour before an officer comes by to radio for a tow truck. In less than two and a half hours, spare inflated and mounted, your on your way. Of course, you’ve already missed the meeting and blown the opportunity, so the day has not been very productive. When you get near civilization, you go to the tire store and it turns out that the tire cannot be repaired. Oh yes, they do not have that particular tire in stock so it will be several days to get you back to full operation. Your quick trip has turned into a slow nightmare; you never do make it back to work.
The Costly Flat Tire
The flat tire, that generally avoidable nuisance, doesn’t really cost much, does it? You switch to the spare, get it fixed, and your ready to roll – total cost about $200.00 right? Well, maybe not. How about:,
- The disruption to your planned trip,
- The downtime you experienced waiting for the cruiser and the flatbed,
- Having to order a new tire because you did not catch the problem early,
- Having your vehicle out of service while it awaits a replacement tire,
- The loss of use, or cost of a rental, while you’re waiting,
- Paying a premium to get it sooner rather than later?
How much does all this disruption affect the other issues you should be dealing with? What else fell apart because you did not have time to deal with it before it became a serious problem? Maybe $5,000 is an understatement! Compare the cost, time and efforts above to a regular, planned tire check. Preventive maintenance is starting to make its case. As outrageous as the above example seems, something similar happens every day.
Real Maintenance Problems at a Company Near You
You’re having another one of those days, fighting fires and trying to hold everything together when a key machine breaks down and production is halted. This becomes your new Priority A Number One! Your maintenance team assembles at the errant piece of equipment, pours through drawings and bills of material, under the watchful and impatient eye of the production manager, until the cause is discovered. The problem turns out to be $.50 worth of grease that, when not applied on schedule, caused bearing failure. (When was the last time this machine was serviced, you ask?) You do not have a spare part in inventory, so you have to order a new one, from overseas. The rush order, plus next day air, plus overtime to get the part installed right now, increases the Purchasing and Installation cost to somewhere around $2,200.00. Oh right, we haven’t included the fact that now your production line has been down for 2 or 3 days (assuming the part was available immediately) – which increases your total cost significantly. Maybe that’s why everyone was screaming at you!
Preventive Maintenance – Magic Potion or just another Buzzword?
Preventive Maintenance is just that – a maintenance plan to prevent breakdowns. With a preventive maintenance software the errant bearing would have received its lubrication on a timely basis, just as the tire would have its air pressure checked before a catastrophic failure. Fifteen minutes and $.50 worth of grease could have saved your company a fortune! Let’s compare:
Costs with a Preventive Maintenance Software: $25.50
- Labor and Grease.
Costs without a Preventive Maintenance Software: $2,200.00 (Use your own numbers, see how they compare!)
- Equipment and production problems as bearing wears (decline in quality, increase in defective parts, higher energy costs, production slowed to compensate for defects, decrease in overall quantity produced, loss of sales).
- Premature part failure (lost production, maintenance staff disruption, waiting for part, expedite costs, maintenance overtime to replace part, production overtime to catch up).
- Customer satisfaction plummets (Internal and external customers get angry and frustrated with your company).
Other indicators of how well CMMS programs pay off are surveys* that have consistently shown a 10% to 20% reduction in maintenance labor costs, and a 10% to 15% reduction in parts cost after implementation of a CMMS software. (*Thomas Marketing Information Center.) Preventive maintenance software can be purchased for under $1,000.00. You can see in the above examples the Return on Investment (ROI) would have been instantaneous! (And, you might get to spend some meaningful time at home after all.)
As we see from the above comparisons, preventive maintenance helps everyone avoid costly and damaging breakdowns. These costs can add up quickly when a CMMS software is not set in place.
A table summarizing the Flat Tire vs. Bearing Failure breakdowns can be found at:
Preventive Maintenance Avoids Skyrocketing Costs