Maintenance Budgets: Balancing Cost Cuts and Equipment Integrity
As manufacturing braces for economic contraction, producers are already tightening their belts. When looking to reduce expenses and create bottom-line efficiencies, many companies begin with the maintenance department, but scaling back maintenance costs demands a delicate approach. Saving money is important, but the integrity of equipment is paramount. Manufacturers need to strike the right balance between cost savings and efficient operations.
Waste not, want not
Identifying and eliminating waste is one of the keys to a lean manufacturing approach, and there’s always room to reduce waste in equipment maintenance. By taking a lean approach to eliminate “muda,” producers can cut service costs without sacrificing equipment integrity.
Maintenance areas prone to waste include time, inventory, motion, personnel resources, and overprocessing. Addressing this waste is the first step to cutting fundamental costs, improving efficiency, and preserving equipment life span. While maintenance cost cuts may seem nominal at first, when extrapolated, they can account for significant savings.
In-house service vs. outsourced savings
Is it better to rely on your in-house team or outsource your equipment maintenance? The answer depends entirely on your budget approach.
For regular, routine maintenance tasks, such as cleaning, checking, lubricating, and adjusting, it makes more sense to rely on an in-house team. But many manufacturers find outsourcing certain facets of equipment maintenance much easier and more cost-effective than retaining an in-house service staff. Partnering with an expert vendor for specialized service or infrequent maintenance tasks is often the most affordable solution.
The best way to control your maintenance budget is to be proactive. After all, proactive maintenance is budgeted maintenance.
When planning a budget, consult maintenance records, track your current operations, and determine where you can optimize efficiency to reduce costs. A proactive maintenance strategy results in fewer unexpected maintenance requirements and the costly downtime they can cause. Scheduled maintenance is proven to extend the life of equipment and reduce its total cost of ownership.
Maintenance budgets are rife with opportunity
By reducing waste, outsourcing service tasks, and carefully adjusting maintenance budgets, manufacturers can trim costs during challenging economic times. Remember to take a cautious approach to cost cutting — one that won’t compromise equipment integrity or reliability. Cutting too much can cause problems with equipment maintenance that increase, rather than decrease, costs.