The True Cost of Poor Maintenance

Equipment maintenance is a large and crucial industry that generates large amounts of income, but there are people that feel it is over-rated and is a good area to cut costs. Some feel that frequent preventative maintenance services are just a money grab, and shouldn’t be done. They seem to feel that “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

But they are wrong.

Now, I don’t like to pay more than I need to when I buy anything, and if I see a legitimate area to cut costs, I will. But not all costs are bad costs. You see, the big problem is that often true long term economy is sacrificed for immediate savings. Over time, these true costs start to show. Part failures and unexpected downtime are usually blamed on “junk” equipment or “bad mechanics”.

But I saved money by skipping oil changes…

More often though, the real cause is poor maintenance in the name of “savings”. Most managers can play the numbers game and shave off most repair costs for a short while, but then they either have to face the dragon of delayed expense or leave the job looking like a hero. The unfortunate person who takes over their spot then is perceived as a spendthrift when he tries to catch up on repairs. I’ve also run into this when I try to properly deal with repairs and get “the other mechanic didn’t cost me this much” vibe! They forgot that the other mechanic had not kept equipment running well, which is why I was there in the first place!

I have seen huge bills because somebody wanted to “save” on battery maintenance for an electric forklift, callouts that were completely avoidable if proper pm services were done, and major accidents that resulted from complete lack of maintenance( tipovers etc)Brake repairs are often put off because they “cost too much”.  Really? How much is that operator worth to his family?

Manufacturers have suggested service intervals for a reason: they want their equipment to last at least as long as the warranty period does. The equipment owner has another good reason, and that is to maximise the return on investment. Not only will properly maintained equipment cost less over the long term, but will have much less cost in the form of unscheduled downtime. Selling proper maintenance to your customer may feel self-serving to the service provider, but in reality it is just good business for both mechanic and owner.

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