Maintenance is any activity carried out to ensure that equipment or tools remain in working condition. Maintenance management must take into consideration whether it is cheaper to maintain or replace equipment owned by the company. Sometimes, repairs require highly trained personnel who must devote a lot of time to examining equipment, identifying potential defects and performing repairs.
Maintenance programs require a lot of planning to be carried out efficiently. For example, fleets that are maintained must have designated moments in which the fleets are stationed in a particular area and are serviced. Personnel must be scheduled to work during those hours and perform the required maintenance.
Regular scheduled maintenance can usually require less manpower than repairs. Also, the need for manpower is more predictable, which makes scheduling easier. When a piece of machinery breaks down, several repairmen might suddenly be needed to repair or replace broken parts. With regular maintenance, however, a regularly scheduled team of technicians can visit different machinery and perform the necessary maintenance.
Maintenance management must keep up-to-date with the latest technologies that aid in the maintenance of equipment. This includes computers that can identify internal damage within a mechanical device and more sophisticated coatings that increase the durability of otherwise fragile objects. Advanced technology has not only increased the number of things that companies can do but has also lead to equipment that is more complex, which makes repairs and replacements more difficult, time-consuming and expensive. Also, more complex equipment can often cause damage to nearby equipment when it malfunctions, which can further increase costs.
Maintenance vs. Repair
Maintenance is mostly focused on preventing damage so that equipment does not have to be repaired or replaced. Even worse, equipment that is not properly maintained can fail at a crucial moment can cause an operation to fail or even put a life in danger. Maintenance management must be able to predict potential problems that can occur so that maintenance strategies can be implemented to prevent these mishaps.
Computer software must also be continually maintained so that this software continues to function properly. Unnecessary data must be eliminated so that the computer system can operate at peak efficiency. Programs that become corrupted must be repaired so that they continue to function properly. Maintenance managers can hire administrators who continually monitor computer systems and perform maintenance. They can also cross train information workers so that they can perform regular maintenance in between other tasks.