Bridging Reactive and Proactive Maintenance
It seems that every corner you turn there’s an accident; a spill in lane three or a London bridge that just fell down. It’s almost unavoidable. But when it comes to effective maintenance, most accidents can be prevented. The question is, can you fix something that isn’t broken? The answer is a resounding yes, through effective maintenance measures, you can lower risk and increase the total lifetime value of your assets.
An Ounce of Proactive Maintenance Buys a Pound of Reactive Maintenance
Proactive maintenance of buildings, bridges, planes, trains, and automobiles prevents failure, and hence, prolongs the life of your valuable assets, and who isn’t after a bigger bottom line? Simple or complex, the appropriate preventative maintenance schedule will extend life and mitigage the need for major overhauls.
Haphazard assembly, cheap components, and hectic operating schedules all reduce an asset’s lifespan. Inspections offer the potential to raise red flags early on, trading major overhauls for light upkeep. A robust CMMS plans and regulates maintenance activities to minimize interruption and cost; shutting a machine down is always better than running it to failure.
Montreal Bridge Collapse: The Facts
Accidents like the 2011 collapse of De La Concorde Overpass in Montreal highlight the importance of scheduling and recording maintenance. The bridge had all sorts of inspections by different people, so how and why did this happen?
With much hand wringing and finger pointing, consensus was eventually achieved:
1. The life span was grossly overestimated due to higher than anticipated traffic
2. Preventative maintenance was neglected
3. Preventative maintenance that was done was improperly finished
Could it Have Been Saved?
High standards breed high quality. A documented process with constant evaluation and notification automatically includes safe checks into a system so ignoring responsibility isn’t an option. Detailed documentation creates a sense of responsibility and ownership that cannot be ignored. People died in a catastrophe that could have been easily avoided by performing the preventive maintenance that was planned.
A CMMS notifies personnel to assist managing work orders. Each completed job has a record of parts used, time estimates, actual times, and completion notes. Assets may not be perfect, but you can only plan for what you know about. Documentation allows service plans to be executed by anyone accessing the CMMS, whether or not they have had experience with the asset before.
Maintenance Assistant includes fields for specific notes related to an asset, insulating organizations from negligence. If negligent employees are the problem, documentation remedies it before it spirals into multimillion dollar settlements or worse…a fatality.