What is the True Root Cause of Reactive Maintenance?

– Production
– Maintenance Management
– Site Management
– Corporate
– Lack of Discipline
– Variation in your Maintenance Processes
– Other

The Root Cause of Reactive Maintenance could be fear of the unknown. There are many examples of Known Best Maintenance Practices however must people are afraid to step forward and implement them. If you are stuck in Reactive Maintenance read on:

Example of Known Best Maintenance Practices;

1. Preventive Maintenance is focused on regulatory compliance and failure modes of on critical components/parts.

2. Maintenance Planning requires repeatable/effective procedures (Procedure Based Maintenance)    http://slidesha.re/MnlxcN

3. Parts must be located in a Kitted area by material management before the work can be released for scheduling. http://slidesha.re/podTEj

4. Maintenance Scheduling is work scheduled by day, by week, by person.

Please comment on any Known Best Practices you may know and share them with everyone.

Thanks, Ricky




11 Responses to What is the True Root Cause of Reactive Maintenance?

  1. Guy Leppin says:

    I believe the true root cause is a lack of knowledge. When the culture of the organization accepts equipment failures because they are believed to be unpredictable, or simply a great mystery, the organization will get stuck in a reactive maintenance cycle. If it is believed that you can’t plan for for maintenance issues then planning will not be supported. If resources are not given to planning then planning will not be done effectively. All of the reactive maintenance departments I have seen have poor planning skills. Unfortunately, due to their lack of knowledge believe they have planned each job as good as it possibly could be planned.

    • Dwegienka says:

      I agree with Guy. Also,I have noticed a huge lack of discipline and ownership in the equipment.
      As an example; I was in a building the other day and a piece of very expensive and critical equipment was vibrating severely. I walked up and immediately saw that bolts were missing in the base and one was spinning completely around.
      The maintenance personnel (3) on hand walked by several times and never acknowledged it. No one ever called and reported it nor turned in any reports.
      Any disciplined maintenance person would never let that happen.

      • Paul Stevens says:

        The disciplined maintenance person generally has a manager that cares.  If Management does not expect the best and give the people the tools and processes to succeed, they will do enough to get by, and nothing more.  It comes down to Leadership, then Training, then Discipline.  But it STARTS with LEADERSHIP

  2. Ricky Smith says:

    Guy, was always, you are right on. Thank you for such a great comment. You are a perfect example of why I ask people to comment. Plans again my friend.

  3. Ann Marie says:

    I believe there are several root causes such as lack of disciple, variation in maintenance processes and production. There are times when the maintenance process is not done in its entirety due to urgent need for equipment and some times maintenance schedule is changed due to production needs. Lack of disciple and culture of organization play a major role. Will we ever get to the point of preventative maintenance???

  4. Srdjan Krstelj says:

    It is combination of all causes. And lack of care. Nobody care too much. After 16.00 hrs everybody unscrew the heads together with helmets and leave
    them behind the refinery’s door. When you work in refinery whose owner is some Balcan state and “strategic partner” to whom is primary concern to suffocate production in this refinery, you just can image what chaos is happenig in maintenance dpt. They talk too much about proactive maintenance but truly they don’t know what they talking about. Just phrases empty phrases.. So, even a master of Maintence Mr. Smith can’t help in this situation because there no willingness to learn, to manage, to benchmark…just “I have spoken”…like Indian chief and afterwards nothing happens. Ciao raggazzi…

    • Ricky Smith says:

      I enjoy your targeted comments. I have never heard
      problems so eloquently and accurately described. Thank you for the great
      feedback. This is a new one for the record books.


  5. STEVE sedgewick says:

    Mgmt. is usually the main reason because of a short sighted point of view.
    Save money today and don’t worry about the future.
    If i save money today , I then get a bigger bonus later on , as well as a pay raise and a promotion.The next Mgr. can worry about it.

    • Byron says:

      Agree with you, and the main associated factor is culture, a great leadership in management makes the diference, we are called to change the culture, even if you are not in management you must first inmerse them into a new culture, the culture of pro active maintenance.

  6. Srdjan Krstelj says:

    Also lack of education. Education should be provided trough all management
    levels. Education should be on permanent basis. After kick off meeting and
    introducing the project of planning and scheduling practice (2009.) we still
    have a 30% of schedule breakers. Planners (they are just clerks actually, for
    “pushing” work orders trough SAP functionalities), are still fighting  with
    upper management who demands to decrease amount of schedulebreakers. They are in
    impossible situation because they are no true planners and can’t influence on
    schedulebreakers and the other hand they are blamed from upper levels of
    management for poor performance. The both planners and upper management don’t
    know what and how to manage backlog which growing up. But after 16.00 hrs
    everything are calm down till next meeting in the morning. Funny, but everybody
    got use to permanent quarrel and blaming each others. Everybody waits this hour
    and half to pass and after that meeting run into brunch queue. There no proper
    education and no one knows who should to perform it and what to teach. I have
    personally experienced when all of us got an E-mail from our managing director
    where he wants that all should be done in right manner, because there no reason
    for otherwise. Because there are planners, schedulers, supervisors and other
    roles were assigned already. (Like in kids game; “you are doctor”, “I am
    patient”, “She is mum”, “He is dad” and let play together). Believe me there was
    no proper education and training provided, just plug and play. We plugged a
    cable but there was no any appliances on the other end of this cable.It passed 16.00 hrs in Croatia, the Sun is mild now, the sea is warm and transparent like Votka. What can I do on my vacation? Swim just swim into the dusk.. Ciao…

  7. Paul Stevens says:

    It comes down to Management in general.  Whether it is the Maintenance Manager or Site Management, someone is happy with Reactive Maintenance.  It has little to do with the Technicians, they just “go with the flow”.  If Site Management wants to develop good Maintenance Proactive Practices, then the techs will fall in line as they see their work go for the good instead of perpetuating the cycle of destruction. 

    I call it a “cycle of destruction” because Reactive Maintenance ends up destroying the equipment and raises costs and increases downtime.  All of these end up destroying the process.

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