If you've been in the maintenance game for long, you've probably learned more about what to do than what not to do. For example, our previous five issues presented a series on simple ways to improve maintenance. The collective knowledge about good maintenance often gets expressed as "best practices." No maintenance operation deliberately follows "worst practices," but many inadvertently follow practices that are, at the very least, bad practices. We'll look at what some of these are, starting with one in this issue.

Bad Practice #1 — Treating Maintenance as a Spare-Time Activity

Too often, the maintenance department is overwhelmed with emergency repairs and special projects. Maintenance and training get deferred, because there’s no time for either. This sets up a vicious cycle of more breakdowns resulting in less time for maintenance work and required training.

Solution: It's a maintenance department; not a special projects department. Outsource or refuse special projects. To get out from under emergency repair overload, hire contractors to help eliminate root causes. For example, hire a maintenance firm to perform one-time in-depth maintenance on high-breakdown equipment.