Breakdown Cycle

This is a light-hearted humorous breakdown flow chart but I can relate some live practical experiences from it. The Maintenance management breakdown Cycle. Over the years I have visited many plants and spoken to many maintenance people. When phoning to try and make an appointment to go to visit them at their plant, the following sequence has not been too far from the truth on several occasions.

  1. Can I come and see you?
    1. No, I am too busy
  2. Why
    1. I am Fixing a breakdown
  1. Why
    1. Because I have no Preventive Maintenance System
  2. Why
    1. Because I am too busy


Reactive Maintenance

That is sadly quite often the situation where maintenance is under constant pressure at just fixing things.

Never given enough time to do the job properly or to have the machine to conduct a routine maintenance activity.


Proactive Maintenance

It needs a visionary engineer to formulate a plan to implement a project to move towards a Proactive Maintenance Function and to get a Maintenance Management System in place, otherwise, it will constantly be reactive work, which is essentially work in a crisis mode.


Computerised Maintenance Management System – CMMS

To move out of the Reactive crisis maintenance mode, we need to move to be Proactive, and to do this there will need to be a maintenance management system in place.

This could be a manual or preferably a computerised system, often referred to as a CMMS (Computerised Maintenance Management System).

This type of system takes time to set up and will involve an implementation project, to assemble all the required information and structure it correctly.


Essentials would be information such as

And a host of other information, all of which will enable us to be proactive and to plan ahead.

One further vital area of importance is to document all of the work procedures dealing with every aspect of the maintenance function. Implementing a CMMS without any documented work procedures is courting disaster before you even get going.

Proactive – Planning Ahead

Implementing a successful CMMS ensures that you will have the necessary tools to be able to plan ahead, with the objective being to ensure that maintenance will be conducted at the required regular intervals, with the spares and skills having been prepared and available.

A timeline for the maintenance will also have been agreed, to make sure the maintenance is done thoroughly and a quick fix has been avoided.

All of this will have been detailed on a work order together with an instruction list, generated from the CMMS.

All actions and materials used will be recorded for updating to the central database to formulate the historical information required, which will make future maintenance actions easier to conduct.

It is vital to record all information and one of the huge advantages of a CMMS is that it provides a huge central database repository for every aspect of detail regarding the company assets and correct maintenance procedures.

The end result is to optimise maintenance activities and minimise costs.

We don’t have to live with that breakdown cycle impact, we can move forward towards a more organised, structured, planned, and progressive maintenance operation.

Our next article in this series will be discussing the importance of needing to understand the different levels of maintenance and the impact these levels can have on our maintenance function.


Barry Wood