Maintenance Q&As

What are common misconceptions about plant maintenance?

Answered April 23 2019

Sometimes, the rumors that surround industrial maintenance (and its perceived difficulty or effectiveness) can be harmless – other times, the perceptions of plant maintenance can really hinder the ability of a maintenance team and a facility to maintain its assets.

It can be quite difficult to break engrained ideas of how maintenance should and can work, but any organization seeking to improve its maintenance efforts should expend some time doing so. Ultimately, you rely on your employees to execute a maintenance plan, so having their cooperation and enthusiasm does a lot.

Change is scary
This myth sees a lot of life in almost every organization, and about more topics than just maintenance: people hate change, they don’t want to change, and it would be better if everything stayed the same forever.

While it’s true some people are afraid of the difficulty of navigating new changes, it’s not impossible to overcome this fear. But there’s another facet to this: people don’t want things to be changed without their understanding and their feedback.

This happens a lot – a workplace changes a rule without consulting employees, leaving them disgruntled or afraid. We can see that the change itself isn’t generally the problem here, though – employees want to feel as though they are a part of the process.

More people = less problems
Some maintenance managers might believe that throwing bodies at problems will help. Some companies will even go through massive hiring binges where more and more maintenance staff are hired.

However, more people on maintenance staff doesn’t necessarily reduce problems. In fact, it creates another kind of problem in terms of ineffective resource use. More so than people, it’s necessary for these situations to figure out the root causes of problems, evaluate schedule compliance, and understand the lengths to which technicians are performing repairs and inspections.

We must lower maintenance costs ASAP
As “good” as it might look to have low maintenance costs, this doesn’t necessarily translate to more effective maintenance, especially depending on where those cuts are coming from.

For example, if a plant decides to cut their maintenance budget to reduce costs, this looks good on paper financially, but in reality deprives the maintenance team of vital resources, man-hours, and materials.

Asset Management Questions & Answers