By Jaco Richards, PD Service and Business Development Manager at Eaton South Africa

With economic uncertainty levels reaching an all-time high, it’s necessary to find creative and resilient ways to reduce budgets while boosting the bottom line. Preventive maintenance is often one of the most tempting to trim, however, doing so could end up costing a business significantly more in the long term.

Preventive maintenance is often considered an unnecessary operational expenditure that incurs significant costs, with many businesses choosing to focus on emergency maintenance when they arise rather than investing in ways to avoid them. While this is common practice in certain businesses, preventive maintenance can save both time and money by avoiding expensive down-time and ensuring that operations run smoothly.

Lessons learned should be shared, so it’s important to distinguish that implementing preventive maintenance is not about fixing problems that already exist, but rather focusing on preventing them from happening at all, or early detection at the very least  before they cause an actual fault.

Good maintenance proves its worth on a day-to-day basis, and preventive maintenance can help keep costs down in a number of ways.

Reduce unplanned equipment downtime

Equipment downtime isn’t just frustrating, it’s also extremely expensive. Every time equipment breaks down, it causes business process and production interruption, resulting in lost money and wasted time. Emergency repairs may also be delayed if parts or technicians are not immediately available.

Increase operational efficiency 
With a preventive maintenance regime in place, equipment is always running in optimal condition. This means that it uses less energy and other fuel sources, reducing running costs and the businesses impact on the environment. 

Minimise the risk of costly reactive maintenance

Reactive maintenance addresses problems as they arise. Unplanned breakdowns can cause serious production losses and potentially even workplace health and safety issues. Production time lost to maintenance or workplace stoppages should be avoided as much as possible.

Avoid unexpected expenses

Preventive maintenance costs are planned and budgeted for (rather than an unpleasant surprise when budgets are already under pressure), and can be done by well-trained technicians on site. In many circumstances, preventive maintenance costs are less than the outright expense of repairing a massive machinery breakage that may also require the input of expensive experts possibly travelling from far afield.

Extend equipment lifespan
Preventive maintenance will also increase equipment lifespan. When everything is up to date and working properly, equipment lifespan is maximised, increasing long-term return on investment.

Preventive maintenance can be one of the most cost-effective measures a business can take to ensure the ongoing health and optimal performance of its critical equipment, and its bottom line by recognising and repairing potential problems before they become significant and costly issues, and minimising the risk and costs of unplanned downtime.

Eaton’s team of experienced service engineers have tried and tested preventive maintenance protocols in place that have proved to prevent faults that would have otherwise had catastrophic consequences for its customers’ business operations. Doing so prevented business interruption, halts to production, and injury to workers, as well as enhancing their overall return on investment by extending the lifespan of critical power equipment.