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Resilience: Redefining Reactive Maintenance
The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. But enough time has elapsed to provide maintenance and engineering managers with perspective and the opportunity to learn from the events of the last 18 months.
Before February 2020, managers plotting the long-term course of their departments focused on deploying workforces that were more efficient and effective. With ever-tighter budgets, managers embraced such strategies as preventive and predictive maintenance to maximize resources and streamline the efficiency, sustainability and safety of facilities.
Flash forward to the present. These strategies remain top priorities because collecting and analyzing data and spotting potential problems are essential steps in building workforces that can meet the maintenance and engineering needs of their facilities and organizations.
But if the pandemic has taught managers anything, it is to expect the unexpected. Planning is critical, but managers understand more than ever that responding to a crisis that comes out of left field is just as critical. And while they might lean on preventive and predictive maintenance to plan for the future, they can't see the future.
That brings us to reactive maintenance.
By establishing dedicated reactive or emergency maintenance crews, managers can prepare their departments for unforeseen events.
Traditionally, organizations allowed technicians to handle reactive work as needed. This strategy might work for a leaky roof, but in an actual crisis, it can cause chaos because technicians are not prepared. The key to successful reactive maintenance is ensuring technicians have quick access to essential tools, parts, and transportation.
Reactive maintenance isn’t sexy, and departments have been moving away from it for years. But in the age of resilience, managers have no more important strategy at their disposal than the ability to react efficiently to a very unforgiving future.