Planned and Reactive Maintenance Strategies To Craft Resilience In 2024

Facility Management
Published on:
February 9, 2024
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An organization’s total productive systems can be reduced through poor maintenance strategies. 

It is difficult to determine how often a machine needs to be taken offline and the upside of longer usage compared to the potential downside risk of machine breakage when these two events need to be balanced. 

Most maintenance organizations are now dealing with predicament through a very careful balancing act between how long a part and component need to be used and the potential downtime a machine could experience during a failure of that component or part. 

New connected technologies i.e. reactive maintenance software are here that will allow machines to use a part and component for the maximum amount of time and also help in avoiding machine failure.

In that order, this post aims to highlight different aspects of planned and reactive maintenance. We wanted to facilitate frontline and asset managers with enough knowledge to help them make informed decisions concerning planned and reactive maintenance scenarios.

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The key to a successful maintenance strategy is balancing planned and reactive maintenance approaches. 

Not every asset at a facility requires the same type or level of maintenance. Regardless of whether you are improving upon your maintenance strategy or starting one from scratch, selecting the right planned and reactive maintenance strategy is a best practice.

According to Plant Engineering, 18% of unscheduled equipment downtime is operator-induced. The real focus is that we need digitalization maintenance programs for the training and skill development of operators as well as proactive maintenance programs. Simple practices like routine inspection, preventive maintenance schedules, and utilizing digital tools will help take the impact of operator-induced errors on equipment performance down.

Two types of maintenance approaches can be utilized: Reactive and Planned.

 Reactive maintenance consists of fixing equipment and machines after they break down, and Planned maintenance consists of a company keeping up to date with equipment, checking and preventing failures before the breakdown.

In this post, we will touch upon the breakdown of the meaning and reasons for both types of maintenance, and scenarios that would require each.

Reactive and Planned Maintenance - Which one is Suitable?

Reactive maintenance is also called breakdown, corrective, or repair maintenance. It comprises any strategy taken to fix an unexpected failure of a machine or equipment involving something minor such as lubricating moving parts to something major like a motor, gearbox, or pump change just as long as it is non-routine. 

To do reactive maintenance is to gamble on the chance that the machine will not fail and that you will have the supplies and resources to fix the machine when it does fail. That’s nearly impossible. All facilities require reliable equipment to help meet customer demands 

The fact that respondents from 46.91% of companies in North America indicate allocating 21% - 40% of their operating budget to the cleaning and maintenance of equipment and supplies is exceedingly significant from a financial perspective and highlights the financial burden of maintenance activities.

This portion of the budget, if one is allocated, is particularly significant after considering the costs of reactive maintenance. Failure to address unexpected breakdowns and equipment failures can lead to additional costs, including emergency repairs,  the requirement for replacement parts, and the possibility of dissolutions in production.

Planned maintenance, also known as proactive or preventative maintenance, is when routine inspections, repairs, and replacements are performed, in an attempt to keep equipment and machines from breaking down and maximize their lifespan. Rather than allowing for equipment failure to take place before action is taken, this approach takes action before equipment failure. 

To be successful with planned maintenance, routine inspections must take place to look for signs of potential issues. Consistently maintaining equipment will not only help prevent breakdowns but also extend equipment life. Typically, the items that get serviced under planned maintenance are what the manufacturer recommends for service, but some companies have taken their standard from Industry standards and even historical data.

There are several reasons which can influence an organization’s choice between planned and reactive maintenance and both of them have their advantages and disadvantages.

Reactive maintenance may be chosen over planned maintenance if the cost of avoiding the breakdowns through appropriate preventive measures is greater than the losses that would arise out of the breakdowns. For example, when breakdowns do not involve any immediate safety risk or the cost of downtime is not high then reactive maintenance is often a practical alternative.

Alternatively, preventative maintenance can be preferred in situations where standard maintenance tasks can be performed easily and at a reasonable cost.

Planned maintenance is used when equipment failure would have consequences, such as in a critical production process or a safety-critical system. Proactive preventative maintenance has the benefit of identifying potential issues which are then resolved before they develop into more serious problems and cause major failures, costly breakdowns, and production stoppages, for example, in a manufacturing facility regular inspection, lubrication and replacement of components like bearings will prevent machine breakdown and maintain continuous product production.

Planned Vs Reactive Maintenance in Action

Scenario: Imagine a factory where doing things just right and very quickly is essential. Everything is running just right until suddenly one of the production machines stops. Now the facility is in danger of not producing the things it is planned to make. That could mean corporations will be stuck for something they have promised to deliver.

Challenge: In this situation, a critical machine is the bottleneck of an important part of a manufacturing process that fails abruptly.

It is not immediately clear what has happened, and passing supervisors are confronted with the problematic task of trying to get the operation back up and running as quickly as possible to limit the financial damages and to keep the customers' faith.

Solution: Maintenance professionals utilize their years of experience to quickly troubleshoot machinery, identifying the problem through hands-on inspection and visual examination of parts and then performing the appropriate manual checks.

This part of the process can isolate the glitch to a specific component.

After the source of the issue is identified, the crew jumps into action, performing on-the-spot maintenance, and replacing the defective part with a spare that is kept on-hand in the maintenance inventory. The skillset of the team and sheer efficiency allow for this quick downtime.

Following each repair, the repair team would meet for a debriefing session to discuss what might have been the underlying cause of the equipment problem. This after-the-fact assessment provides essential knowledge for future preparedness. Although this is a reactive approach, the emphasis is on the maintenance team's practical expertise, emphasizing the value of experience and on-site expertise.

Digitalization of Planned and Reactive Maintenance

Moving on, We've recently heard a lot about Industry 4.0, Smart Manufacturing, and Digitalization.

The first thing that comes to mind is, "How does it relate to me?" The phrase "Smart Maintenance" in the setting of all these buzzwords will undoubtedly trigger another question in your mind: "How does smart maintenance help us do our jobs more effectively?" Let us try to discover solutions to both of these problems in a methodical approach.

Digitalization maintenance uses technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, sensors, data analytics, and machine learning to enable real-time, condition-based monitoring of equipment health, performance, and usage patterns, shifting organizations away from scheduled or time-based maintenance programs and toward condition-based or predictive programs.

When it comes to planned and reactive maintenance, digital tools give you a more granular, dynamic approach. Instead of relying on the predetermined intervals for inspection and replacement, for instance, the sensors and IoT devices get real-time data on the condition of equipment and advanced analytics can process the information to enable better-informed decisions to be made by the maintainer.

The result is that you can optimize maintenance schedules better but also minimize the risk of over-maintaining an asset – this is a highly efficient way of minimizing costly and unnecessary downtime, including a focused spend on maintenance.

In addition to that, digitalization maintenance tools can significantly improve the effectiveness of planned and reactive maintenance measures through early detection of potential issues.

For example, digital vibration sensors on rotating mechanical equipment can detect early signs of wear and other problems that could eventually lead to failure.

Acting on this information before a failure occurs allows maintenance staff to replace failing components or make repairs just in time to prevent a break in operations and keep equipment lifetime at a maximum.

Furthermore, digitization can support the successful implementation of a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) or enterprise asset management (EAM) system. Indeed, these applications offer a unifying platform allowing you to manage and coordinate the entire maintenance workflow, monitor work orders, and analyze historic performance figures.

The significant advantage of such centralized systems is clear: considerably streamlined communication, better staff allocation, and increased efficiency of maintenance measures.

Let’s go through an example of planned and reactive maintenance in a connected factory setting is a manufacturing plant implementing digitalization maintenance. 

Regarding planned maintenance, sensors on the machinery continuously monitor factors such as temperature, vibration, and lubricant quality. This data is analyzed in real time, enabling the maintenance team to schedule interventions according to the actual condition of the machine, preventing unanticipated breakdowns, and enabling maintenance costs to be optimized.

This same plant, under reactive maintenance, utilizes IoT devices and sensors to detect abnormalities instantly.

Once a failure or abnormality is flagged, an alert is then sent out to the maintenance team where they can quickly diagnose the problem and make the appropriate repairs. The result is that downtime is minimized, which reduces further the overall downtime impact on production loss, inventory loss, financial loss, and the customer impact associated with prolonged downtime.

The Role of Reactive Maintenance Software

When your maintenance team is dealing with unplanned events reactive maintenance software is a key tool in your maintenance armory. Digitalization maintenance specifically helps the team respond to unexpected breakages or malfunctions quickly, and efficiently, minimizing the impact on your business and ensuring a first-time fix every time. Here are some of the features and benefits of reactive maintenance software that make it a ‘must-have’ tool for any business.

Features of Reactive Maintenance Software 

Quick Notifications

  • Allows for immediate alerts for particular maintenance teams.

Work Order Management

  • Allows for the creation of work orders instantly upon getting notifications.
  • Allows for thorough documenting of the issue, including images and relevant information.

Mobile Accessibility

  • Mobile device accessibility allows staff to get notifications and view work orders while on the go.
  • Improves collaboration and coordination among team members regarding both planned and reactive maintenance, leading to a faster response.

Asset Tracking

  • Maintains an extensive record of asset history, including prior breakdowns and repairs.
  • Enables informed decision-making based on equipment maintenance and performance trends.

Integration with CMMS or EAM systems

  • Integrates seamlessly with computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) and enterprise asset management (EAM) systems.
  • Improves overall visibility and cooperation throughout the maintenance procedure.

Real-time monitoring Dashboards

  • Unified dashboards provide real-time monitoring of equipment status.
  • Offers fast insights into the health and performance of critical assets.

Genenral Benefits of Reactive Maintenance Software

The advantages of Reactive Maintenance Software include reduced downtime.

  • Allows for prompt identification and reaction to equipment failures, eliminating unplanned downtime.
  • Improves operational continuity of planned and reactive maintenance while avoiding potential production losses.
  • Prioritizing critical issues enables more efficient resource allocation.
  • Reduces the overall cost of reactive maintenance by employing appropriate response strategies.
  • Offers a clear traceability path with documented work orders and resolutions.
  • Continued transparency in the maintenance process, allowing for analysis and continual improvement.
  • Improves coordination among the repair staff via real-time notifications and mobile accessibility.
  • Increases teamwork and coordination during emergency response scenarios.
  • Managers can apply historical data and performance analytics to guide decision-making.
  • Provides maintenance teams with insights into predictive maintenance planning.
  • Reduces delays to facility operations, improving overall customer satisfaction.

Let's assume the HVAC system in the main commercial building on your campus breaks down. Reactive maintenance software automatically sends an alert to the maintenance team’s workstations, and a mobile version of the maintenance software allows the team to immediately create a work order and have immediate access to all past maintenance history for the HVAC unit. The maintenance team can deploy and resolve the problem. The entire process is over very quickly, minimizing impacts on occupant comfort and potential impacts on the building's sensitive equipment.

The Bottom Line

Smart maintenance using preventive tools and predictive analytics, combined with advanced digitalization maintenance software for planned and reactive maintenance, forms a balanced approach that enables optimum resource deployment through proactive actions while ensuring fast response times to unexpected events. The combination augments the reliability and robustness of critical assets.

Given that 31% of users have reported over 30 hours per week on scheduled maintenance and 14% of consumers have reported 20-29 hours per week on scheduled maintenance, these statistics present the case for reactive maintenance in software. With reactive maintenance software, you can monitor equipment in real-time, get alerts, and have access while you are on the go, hence improving response time to incidents, reducing downtime, and causing better allocation of resources.

On that note, with the full suite of tools and functionality, maintenance teams equipped with Xenia can be confident in tackling both reactive and planned maintenance. Xenia predictive analytics and real-time monitoring enable organizations to become proactive in their maintenance schedule, avoid consequential breakdowns, and possess the with-all to extend the life of a critical asset.

Xenia’s commitment to innovation guarantees that facility managers and their teams are ahead of technology advancements.

The platform offers a competitive edge concerning operational excellence, promoting sustainability, and, ultimately, satisfying the ultimate customer at the highest level of their expectations. 

The future of maintenance is digital, and Xenia is your best ally throughout this journey until you become able to manage facilities in a more efficient, resilient, and proactive manner.

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