2 tips on deferred maintenance
1. The Consequences of Equipment Failure
If a manager decides to defer needed repairs or replacement, what is the impact of continued failures? In some instances, there is the potential for environmental issues or violations. Safety and health also need to be considered. This includes service disruption, staff comfort, and systems, as well. The criticality to the overall facility of this equipment has a significant impact on the decision-making process.
What costs should we consider? It is important to realize that maintenance costs are only one part of the costs we should consider. Best-practice maintenance organizations consider the total cost of ownership when evaluating options. Focusing exclusively on the direct cost will lead to less-than-optimal results. In the case of motors, for example, direct costs include:
- Labor costs of removal installation
- Materials costs for rebuilding, rewinding, or repairing
- Material freight costs, which are commonly at a premium or expedited rate.
But mangers also might consider the other costs:
- efficiency loss
- equipment downtime, including the costs of lost operator wages, utilities and, more importantly, customer service
- customer service or comfort, which is hard to measure but you sure do hear about it
2. Obama’s Promise on Deferred Maintenance
I’m Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions. Today’s topic is, energy efficiency and sustainability.
Presidential candidates make a lot of promises, but few voters expect a candidate to keep them all. Presidents-elect do the same thing, but maybe there’s a difference. Maybe — given they’ve already won election — there is reason to hope a president-elect actually can achieve real results.
President-elect Barack Obama recently made a promise that hit close to home with many facility managers.
In his Dec. 6 address to the nation posted on YouTube, the president-elect announced his plan for “the most sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings that this country has ever seen. We’ll repair broken schools (and) make them energy efficient.”
For more than 20 years, facility managers in the nation’s K-12 public schools have wrestled deferred maintenance. A 2002 estimate published in School Business Affairs totaled the nation’s unmet needs for K-12 school infrastructure, including deferred maintenance, new construction, renovation, retrofits, additions and major grounds improvements.
The estimate: $226 billion. And that was six years ago.
Obama’s statement has raised the issue of deferred maintenance to the highest level it has ever reached in the public’s mind. And it might have given real hope to facility managers in K-12 public schools who battle this problem daily.
It might not be realistic to believe Obama or anyone else can eliminate deferred maintenance. But it will be important that he take measurable steps to at least try. For now, simply having a public discussion about one of the nation’s most urgent needs is a huge step.
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