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How to pick a reactive maintenance contractor
There a number of things to consider when choosing a reactive maintenance contractor. Here we look at some of the ways to evaluate performance.
All assets require efficient maintenance or repair to remain in top condition, and it's best to employ professional maintenance contractors. However, with hundreds of contractors in the industry, it is often a difficult decision for managers to select the best maintenance contractors for their assets. In this article, you will find useful guides in choosing the best reactive maintenance contractor.
First, let's look at what reactive maintenance entails, its benefits, and implementation challenges.
It is also commonly referred to as breakdown or run-to-failure maintenance. In other words, you wait for your equipment to fail, and then you make necessary corrections.
Changing a piece of busted light bulb is an example of reactive maintenance. Other examples are fixing broken doors or sealing leaks or cracks in a piece of machinery. These failures are usually minor and are not expected to have grave consequences. They do not significantly impact smooth operations, and they can be easily fixed. However, one must take caution when implementing this strategy because the negative impact can be substantial if misapplied. Generally, this method is most suitable for equipment that is not essential for operations or is easy to replace.
Reactive maintenance ensures maximum utilisation of equipment since they are only fixed when broken. Other benefits include lower initial maintenance costs, fewer workforce required, and little or no planning is needed. The drawbacks are increased asset deterioration due to a lack of preventive measures and inaccurate budget since failures are unpredictable and require longer equipment downtime.
Assessing your requirements
When deciding on a reactive maintenance contractor, considerations regarding the nature of equipment and facilities under maintenance should take centre stage. For example, contracting equipment maintenance needs in the petroleum industry to a contractor specialising in healthcare equipment might not be a rational decision. Additionally, highly sophisticated equipment requires a specific skill set, experience, and technology. So one must evaluate and determine whether the contractors under consideration have the resources and the experience that matches the requirements of the equipment to be maintained.
If an asset breaks down, how fast do you expect the maintenance team to be on-site and fix it? Reactive maintenance comes with significant equipment downtime. Equipment downtime is the period that a piece of equipment is not working as a result of a defect or scheduled maintenance activities. Essential equipment is expected to be back up and running with little downtime for normal operations to continue. For this to happen, the proximity of the maintenance team must be favourable.
Before making a final decision on the choice of contractor, it is important to thoroughly review the type of service packages offered and compare them with your requirements. While some contractors might allow requests on short notice, others might not. Some might only be contracted to repair parts or components; others do a total and comprehensive repair. A service level agreement (SLA) that clearly defines the agreed services, performance metrics, remedies and penalties should be signed by both parties.
Another important criterion when choosing a suitable reactive maintenance contractor is the evaluation of current and potential maintenance costs. Before committing to a maintenance provider, you should have a clear knowledge of the provider's rates so that you can make comparisons with your company's budget. No doubt, getting a good bargain on maintenance costs is appealing, but you must also keep in mind that inexpensive services may equate to inefficient or low-quality services. In the same vein, expensive rates do not guarantee high quality, so one must strive to find a balance between quality and associated costs when choosing a contractor.
License and insurance
Before partnering with a maintenance contractor, ensure that they are fully licensed and insured. The insurance should cover for potential injuries to workers or damage to assets caused by the maintenance team.
Contractors' reputation and customer review
Ensure that you check the contractor's reviews. The testimonials from current and previous clients can help you determine if the contractor will match your requirements or needs. You should also pay attention to how they respond to complaints and the efforts made towards fixing them.
Evaluation of Performance
Performance evaluation of maintenance activities is crucial. Employing key performance indicators (KPIs) can be a valuable means of measuring the performance of reactive maintenance activities. KPIs vary from company to company and from equipment to equipment. However, some KPIs are regarded as general metrics and can be useful in determining the performance level of maintenance activities carried out on an asset. They include:
Downtime measures the total amount of time a piece of equipment is unavailable, whether due to defects or maintenance activities. Efficient reactive maintenance will cause only a little downtime.
Downtime can be expressed in percentages. For a reactive maintenance service to be deemed effective, the assets should be fully operational 90% (or greater) of the time, i.e. downtime should be 10% or less. This is to ensure normal operations are not hampered significantly. The main objective of this indicator is to measure, monitor, and evaluate the reliability of the assets under maintenance.
Mean time between failure (MTBF)
This key performance indicator measures the time difference between equipment failures and gives valuable information about asset health and reliability. The longer the MTBF, the more efficient the reactive maintenance and the more reliable the asset, and vice versa. It is calculated by subtracting the total breakdown time from the total working time and dividing it by the total number of breakdowns.
MTBF = (Total working time - Total breakdown time) / Number of breakdowns
Mean time to repair (MTTR)
MTTR measures the time it takes for the maintenance team to be on-site and fix an asset after failure has occurred. It can be applied to a component of the asset or the asset as a whole. An efficient contractor would facilitate the least possible MTTR. It is calculated by dividing the total amount spent on repair in a given period of time by the number of equipment failures during that period.
MTTR = Total maintenance time / Number of repairs
Backlog as a performance indicator refers to 'maintenance delays'. It is defined as the time required to perform reactive maintenance or other forms of maintenance. It gives useful information regarding the productivity of the maintenance team. An efficient maintenance team will have a shorter maintenance backlog.
Overall equipment efficiency (OEE)
OEE measures overall effectiveness. It helps determine whether the reactive maintenance put in place is working efficiently or not and gives credence to asset availability, performance, and quality.
Outsourcing the reactive maintenance needs of your assets can offer immense benefits, but only by partnering with a suitable contractor.
Here at Homyze, we are a licensed and fully insured maintenance company with a track record of delivering quality and safe services to our clients. Our team consists of highly skilled and experienced individuals equipped with the necessary resources to cater to your organisation’s reactive maintenance needs. We have vast experience as we have been privileged to work with companies from different industries, and our reviews speak volumes of our capabilities. We are happy to help you with your assets maintenance needs.
If you would like to discuss reactive maintenance or any other forms of maintenance, get in touch.