Home » Business » Reactive Maintenance vs Planned Preventive Maintenance

Reactive Maintenance vs Planned Preventive Maintenance

Which commercial maintenance plan suits your business?

When you own a building, you do not just buy it and use it for your business operations. You also need to maintain it and its contents in good running order. A commercial building or an office will include several pieces of equipment and machinery, which need to be maintained in good condition. Just imagine failing to retain your machines, equipment, computers and other assets in proper condition. The result would be that you lose hundreds or thousands of dollars within a few years’ time. You would need to replace these items, as otherwise you will not be able to continue operating either. So, it is evident that maintenance is simply imperative and it needs to be carried out every now and then.

There are in fact two main types of maintenance, namely, reactive maintenance, or planned preventative maintenance, sometimes referred to as “proactive” maintenance. We shall be discussing the differences between these two types of maintenance in commercial offices and buildings in more detail.

The Vicious Circle of Reactive Maintenance. Image credit: STR Software

What is Reactive Maintenance?

Reactive maintenance refers to the maintenance that is carried out only when a machine or piece of equipment breaks down or develops some sort of fault or error. Reactive maintenance is thus often referred to as breakdown maintenance. The main intent is to restore that piece of equipment or machine to its normal condition so as to regain operation as soon as possible. This will include repairing faulty parts or components, or replacing them.

What is Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive or proactive maintenance is an approach which, as the name itself implies, makes sure that repairs are avoided by being proactive. Certain maintenance procedures will be carried out on a regular basis in order to minimize the possibility of faults and the need for reactive maintenance.

5 Key Metrics that Affect Operational Efficiency. Image credit: CVP

What approach should your business take?

Needless to say, there are different reactions and opinions to the type of maintenance that one should choose. Some feel that the best option is to be proactive, as apart from saving money in the long run, one would also be increasing the life span of the assets as well as guaranteeing efficient productivity as breakdowns can be avoided. Others feel the reactive maintenance makes more sense since it is less time consuming than reactive maintenance, and there will be no need to excessive or useless maintenance being carried out at regular intervals which again, can be expensive.

Obviously both of these approaches have their respective pros and cons and it is not easy to choose between the two. There are various factors to take into account, including costs and time involved.

Establishing a clear and regular maintenance routine sits well with those who have a large commercial building or office, where there are dozens of computers, machines and equipment. With a regular evaluation being carried out, there will be a proper amount of time allocated to each machine. The evaluation will be carried out with the intention of checking the various components and ascertaining areas that require fixing, replacement or repair, so as to prevent the machine from breaking down in the near future. Preventive maintenance helps to divide the maintenance tasks over a period of time, and this makes the process a bit easier and less problematic.

For instance, one will schedule an inspection of all computers on the ground floor during January, machines on ground floor during February, and equipment on ground floor during March, and then proceed in a similar manner for the subsequent floors. In this way the tasks will be carried out at a leisurely pace, unlike the pressure involved when breakdown maintenance has to be carried out as quickly as possible. Preventive maintenance will also help to pinpoint problems and resolve them in a cost effective manner, thus reducing chances that these will become unmanageable and beyond repair in the future. So a well-rounded maintenance strategy will have these advantages. However, it is also rather difficult to execute since there would need to be the proper amount of time, skill and expense involved in carrying out on a regular basis.

On the other hand, with a Reactive maintenance approach, one would be focusing on repairs only when problems arise. This requires fewer staff as most repairs will simply be outsourced. There is no need for planning, or to employ technicians for such tasks either. However, with reactive maintenance there would be the problem of having to rush the repairs so as to try to continue operating. Unless repairs are carried out quickly there will be a loss in productivity which leads to a loss in sales as well as other expenses. Repairs may end up being very costly, and chances are that the problem ended up being aggravated and thus more expensive to resolve. There may also be safety issues, and generally speaking the life expectancy of assets is reduced with such an approach.

The decision as to which approach to take will depend on various things, and ultimately it is a matter of preference. However it is important to be aware of the differences between the two approaches so as to try to choose the one which strikes the best balance between costs, efficiency, productivity and convenience.