7 steps your organization can take to prepare for a recall
Too Cheap to Prevent Pricey Breakdowns?
The harsh economic realities of recent years mean businesses of all kinds have been forced to make tough decisions - and often maintenance for equipment and heating and cooling systems is the first to go. Staffs are cut and routine cleaning and tune-ups are delayed. This is pound-wise and penny foolish, says Executive, Cass Kuhlke, senior vice president of Machinery Breakdown for Zurich Global Corporate in North America. "It's always a concern when maintenance budgets are cut," says Kuhlke, who has seen clients slash personnel, postpone routine cleaning and inspections, do not comply with manufacturers' maintenance recommendations and situations where the employees who were operating the equipment were inexperienced. "These things do break and they cost a lot of money to fix."
One case was detailed in The Washington Post a few years ago. After investing $80 million to replace Washington, D.C. school district's heating system in the early 1990s, the district spent $116 million between 2000 and 2007 on emergency repairs owing to a lapsed maintenance schedule which would have cost just $100,000 per year. Ouch.
To reduce chances of such a scenario, Kuhlke suggests these steps:
- Get management on board and cultivate a culture of dedication to maintenance and safety.
- Enlist executives to support a culture focused on proper maintenance and safety, including dedication to funding these efforts.
- Invite participation from all levels of the organization on board to create and execute a plan for both routine maintenance and response to emergencies. Front-line workers, managers of all levels and executives should be involved.
- Dedicate routine and thorough training.
- Assess employees' skills and determine what tasks should be outsourced, and what can be kept in-house with properly trained employees.
- Conduct maintenance audits regularly.
- Establish a schedule for routine maintenance that at least meets the manufacturer's recommendations and factors in use, age and importance of equipment.
- Maintain thorough documentation of all inspections, audits, maintenance and repairs, including personnel and parts involved with each process.
- Establish a lifespan for critical parts and replace them according to schedule.
- Develop an inventory and sourcing system for key parts.
Is your company cutting too many maintenance corners?