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The Ripple Effect of Poor Maintenance on Manufacturing Productivity and Profitability: Impact on Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and Beyond


In a large-scale manufacturing ecosystem, every process, system, and behavior is interwoven to create the final output and satisfy customers. At the center of this intricate web is Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (MRO).

MRO isn’t merely about fixing what’s broken—it’s about proactively optimizing every asset, from tools to equipment to expansive infrastructure. Yet, it’s often relegated to the sidelines until something goes wrong.

The consequences of neglecting maintenance touch every part of a manufacturing business, affecting essential metrics such as downtime, quality, scheduling, and more.

Let’s dive deep into the top 10 ways poor maintenance processes, standards, and behaviors can lead to these detrimental outcomes in large-scale manufacturing.

1 Impact on Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

One of the most significant metrics impacted by poor maintenance is Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

OEE is a comprehensive metric combining equipment availability, performance efficiency, and product quality to present a holistic view of production efficiency.

Each component of the OEE is directly influenced by maintenance:

Given its comprehensive nature, a dip in OEE due to inadequate maintenance can have a profound impact on a manufacturer’s bottom line..

2 Compromised Production Quality

Beyond OEE, equipment not operating optimally can lead to more frequent product defects. Reworks, recalls, and wasted materials all contribute to direct losses, while the long-term effects can include tarnished brand reputation and reduced customer loyalty.

3 Unpredictable Production Schedules

When equipment breaks down unexpectedly, sticking to production timelines becomes a challenge. This unpredictability can result in late orders, contractual penalties, and lost business opportunities.

4 Strained Supply Chain Dynamics

Every bottleneck in production, often a consequence of poor maintenance, sends a ripple effect across the supply chain. It can lead to inventory build-ups, increased warehousing costs, or missed opportunities in fast-paced markets.

5 Lower Return on Assets (ROA)

Each piece of equipment is an investment. When its lifespan is shortened due to inadequate maintenance, the return on that investment diminishes. Effective maintenance not only extends the life of assets but optimizes their operation, directly enhancing ROA.

6 Increased Operational Costs

Emergency repairs, especially those needed during off-hours, can be significantly costlier than scheduled maintenance. Furthermore, the ripple effects of unplanned downtimes—like rushed deliveries and overtime wages—add to operational costs.

7 Safety and Compliance Risks

A manufacturing floor with poorly maintained equipment is a breeding ground for accidents. This not only jeopardizes the safety of the workforce but can also lead to regulatory fines and increased insurance premiums.

8 Management’s Strategic Oversights

A singular focus on production numbers without accounting for equipment health can backfire. This oversight reflects a gap in management’s strategic planning, emphasizing a more integrated approach where maintenance is part of the broader business strategy.

9 The Inevitability of Technological Evolution

The fourth industrial revolution brings with it tools like the Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), IIoT, and Digital Twins. Not adapting to these technologies means manufacturers miss out on data-driven insights and predictive maintenance capabilities, which are fast becoming industry standards.

10 The ‘Reactive’ Pitfall

Many organizations fall into the trap of a reactive approach—addressing issues as they arise. This shortsightedness often leads to more extended downtime, higher costs, and compromised product quality. Shifting the mindset from reactive to proactive can be transformational.

To truly appreciate the importance of maintenance, it’s essential to recognize its ripple effect. Just as a tiny pebble can create expansive ripples in a pond, so too can poor maintenance touch every facet of manufacturing.

A proactive, data-driven, and strategic approach to maintenance doesn’t just prevent losses—it can catalyze unprecedented growth. In an industry that’s constantly evolving, it’s those who prioritize and innovate in the realm of maintenance that will emerge as leaders.

Unlocking Maintenance Excellence with POWERS’ AMP Program

In the demanding realm of manufacturing, maintenance is the cornerstone of sustainable productivity. Recognizing gaps in your maintenance processes is just the beginning.

For genuine optimization, manufacturers need a comprehensive approach. Enter POWERS and its innovative AMP (Advanced Maintenance Performance) program.

POWERS’ 3-Step Maintenance Discovery Process provides a robust approach to enhance maintenance:

1 Maintenance Performance Assessment:

POWERS conducts a detailed OEE analysis, scrutinizing equipment maintenance effectiveness. Along with this, the current maintenance management systems and processes are evaluated, and the maintenance team’s training and proficiency undergo an in-depth review.

2 Action Plan Development:

With the understanding that unplanned downtime costs the manufacturing industry billions annually, POWERS formulates actionable strategies tailored to the organization’s unique challenges. The goal? Seamless integration of new protocols and best practices to boost productivity.

3 MMOS and Technology Update:

Emphasizing the need to move away from outdated tracking methods, POWERS advocates for upgrading your Maintenance Management Operating System (MMOS). Integration of systems like the Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is advised, streamlining maintenance processes, and reducing downtime.

The journey to enhanced maintenance practices is transformative. POWERS, leveraging its vast experience in manufacturing maintenance, offers a holistic solution with the AMP program. From in-depth analysis to providing improvement blueprints, the AMP program stands unparalleled.

Dive into the POWERS difference. Embark on a journey of maintenance excellence with a detailed OEE analysis, address skill and training gaps, create an actionable plan, and seamlessly implement it. Elevate your maintenance workforce and boost performance.

For a deeper understanding, download the FREE Maintenance Assessment Guide. Jumpstart your journey to optimized maintenance by contacting the POWERS team at +1 678-971-4711 or email info@thepowerscompany.com.

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About the Author

Dr. Donte Vaughn, DM, MSM, Culture Performance Management Advisor
Dr. Donte Vaughn, DM, MSM

Chief Culture Officer

Dr. Donte Vaughn is CEO of CultureWorx and Culture Performance Management Advisor to POWERS.

Randall Powers, Founder, Managing Partner
Randall Powers

Managing Partner

Randall Powers concentrates on Operational and Financial Due Diligence, Strategic Development,, and Business Development.