Asset Management Dilemma – To Repair or To Replace?

by | Mar 26, 2019

Managing a successful facility is all about eliminating costs while maximising production. Oftentimes there are periods of high-productivity, where it feels like nothing can go wrong with machinery and there’s little to nothing to worry about. But what happens when one of your principal assets breaks down, and your production slows to a halt?

You have a choice to make: repair or replace? This decision is based on many variables such as the type of asset, your reliance on it, the age or wear and tear it has endured, or even something you are planning for like a production deadline.

Below we will lay out a few key things to consider when making this very important decision to repair or replace.

What Condition is your Asset Currently In?

The most important place to start when making a good decision is having the ability to discern the overall condition of your asset. But how do you go about doing that?

Condition-based Monitoring, or CBM, is a form of maintenance that predicts the overall status of an asset through the use of sensors built into a machine while in operation. This type of monitoring allows for continuous access to the asset’s performance, making it easy to identify when sudden rates of production are on the unfortunate decline.

Often a decrease in performance suggests an impending machinery failure. By knowing the condition of your asset at all times, your facility will be a much safer place to work in and you’ll be able to discern more easily if the asset is worth repairing.

How integral is the asset to your facility’s success?

This question might seem obvious, but you will probably be shocked as to how valuable it is to take a step back and view your production from a macro point of view. By understanding where this asset fits in overall production, right away you will see whether a repair might be worth it or not.

If your facility leans heavily on a particular machine that has a serious problem with it, more often than not the cheaper and more secure route in the long run is to outright replace it. This will save you from frequent breakdowns and repairs, which not only delays production – costing you money – but the price of replacing parts and repairs combined might already be near the full investment of buying the machine.

Consider both your asset’s underlined issue and weigh this against the overall reliance it might have in getting the job done at your facility. If you find you’re unsure a repair will allow your machine to perform at its highest level, it’s probably time to replace it.

Safety First

The safety of your workers is always a priority. If you are considering repairs on an old asset that is likely to breakdown or cause dangerous problems in other foreseeable ways, it’s time to replace.

However, the inverse works too. If you are dealing with a particular issue with your asset that is isolated, allowing for a clean fix, then a repair is probably the better option.

It is vital that the safety of your facility is in your mind when you are making the right decision with your asset.

Do Not Be Emotional

When something goes wrong in any facility, one’s reactions can often be emotional and not thought through completely. While it might seem one’s initial decision is best when in the moment, more often than not in hindsight, quick and emotional decisions lead towards an increase in costs.

This is why seeking data is always the safest bet when making the decision to repair an asset. Consider the following points, and ask yourself how they apply to your decision:

  • How old is your asset and is the repair worth the remaining lifespan?
  • How much will your production be affected by a repaired machine?
  • Could future repairs and the added downtime cost you more than replacing outright?
  • Is the cost of installation something you need to consider when replacing?
  • If you replace your asset with newer technology, will there be a learning curve that might slow production?

One great way to track all of this data is to employ a preventive maintenance software because it can let you track a lot of useful metrics – how much time you are spending repairing an asset and how much is that costing you being the most important one in the context of this article.

So before you make a firm decision, be sure you can answer the questions above, along with any others that might be specific to your issue. That will give you a pretty clear idea which route you need to take because you will have both a macro and micro view of the asset at hand and how it fits in the overall puzzle of your facility.

Make a Decision

By analysing your asset from many different angles, you will be able to better see what pros and cons go along with your decision on replacing or repairing. The key is to consider every possible outcome. Only then will you know which decision is the right one for you.

So then, what’s it going to be: repair or replace?

Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO at Limble CMMS. Limble is a modern, easy to use mobile CMMS software that takes the stress and chaos out of maintenance by helping managers organise, automate, and streamline their maintenance operations.

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