Why More Companies Are Outsourcing Equipment Maintenance
Ask any manufacturer what makes a factory successful, and they’ll tell you behind the equipment responsible for producing quality goods is a stellar maintenance plan keeping the equipment in tip-top condition. While maintenance is a priority for successful manufacturers, it doesn’t always mean they manage maintenance operations in-house. In fact, many choose to outsource some or all of their maintenance to a trusted provider.
Why would a manufacturer outsource critical maintenance? For starters, it can yield far better results than trying to orchestrate a world-class maintenance program internally. Here’s a look at the reasons why outsourced maintenance often makes sense.
The benefits of outsourcing equipment maintenance
With manufacturing enterprises running on tighter-than-ever budgets, why would a company choose to outsource maintenance? In many ways, outsourced maintenance can save your company money in surprising ways — and it provides several other benefits:
- Cost transparency. Outsourcing maintenance is cheaper than maintaining an in-house team. Although you’ll still have to pay your maintenance partner, you won’t need to cover in-house staff wages and benefits like retirement contributions, insurance, and vacations. Moreover, most maintenance providers offer the flexibility of on-demand services or lower-cost service-level agreements (SLAs) to make costs predictable and easy to budget.
- Superior expertise. An outsourced maintenance partner provides the necessary expertise, which may not be available in your current talent pool. These skills are also incredibly difficult to find when hiring. Maintenance partners specifically develop this crucial expertise, and their business model revolves around deploying it to keep your equipment up and running. You’ll enjoy reduced downtime and increased productivity without trying to upskill or hire for niche abilities.
- Critical accountability. There’s no substitute for a job well done. When you’re paying a maintenance partner for service, you can expect a standard of accountability. A true partner will ensure everything is done to specification every time with exceptional quality. Instead of rushing an in-house team from one project to the next and putting undue expectations on them, producers can rely on a partner whose only job is to perform critical maintenance.
How to choose a maintenance partner
Putting your critical equipment in the hands of an external vendor requires total confidence. When searching for an outsourced maintenance provider, you must consider several criteria and variables:
- Experience and expertise in your specific industry and with your equipment
- A positive reputation and references from vendors or your customers
- On-call availability and responsiveness along with reasonable lead times
- A willingness to scale with your business to meet your equipment needs
Above all, you should feel confident in communicating with your vendor, as well as with the mutually agreed-upon expectations for equipment services. Trust plays a crucial role in vendor selection, so look for a partner who’s willing to earn your trust from the start.
Challenges to consider
Outsourcing equipment maintenance takes clear communication and coordination with every member of your team, from managers in the office to individual operators on the factory floor. While you won’t have complete control over the maintenance processes and techniques your maintenance partner uses, you should be able to rely on them.
Outsourcing is cost-effective and flexible. It helps managers focus their efforts and proficiencies on driving the business forward rather than worrying about day-to-day maintenance tasks. Leaving these tasks to the professionals can improve equipment reliability, enabling factory managers to keep their attention on maximizing efficiency, productivity, and quality.