Reactive Maintenance

Table of Contents

Reactive maintenance is a classic approach to maintenance where you wait for assets to fail before you fix them. Because it involves simple and cheap steps in addressing asset maintenance, it is easy to misuse and cause more negative effects than benefits. In this post, we discuss the several types of reactive maintenance and how to implement it and get more successful results.

What is Reactive Maintenance?

First, a short definition and description of reactive maintenance. From its name, reactive maintenance is a type of strategy where the tasks performed are a reaction to an asset failure or breakdown. Thus, this strategy is also called run-to-failure or breakdown maintenance.

Types of Reactive Maintenance

Emergency Maintenance

This is the most urgent, and often costly, type of reactive maintenance. Emergency maintenance involves critical and high-priority machines or equipment requiring immediate action to restore facility operations. Failures that endanger the lives of facility workers or issues that will cause irreparable damages to assets also require emergency maintenance.

Corrective Maintenance

This type of reactive maintenance involves making corrections or adjustments to any sign of failure or defect. Corrective maintenance tasks have less urgency, meaning you can schedule them later than emergency tasks. However, postponing corrective tasks may cause the failure or defect to escalate and cause more asset damage and related negative effects.

Failure Maintenance

This type of reactive maintenance happens when you execute maintenance tasks only upon complete failure. Failure maintenance is the most reactive type where once a failure happens, the only focus is to restore it or replace it to full operation. Failure maintenance doesn’t always involve critical assets and thus, does not always require emergency execution

Deferred Maintenance

This type includes all the reactive maintenance tasks that you defer or postpone to a later date. These tasks often involve non-critical or low-priority assets. Alternatively, you may defer some tasks due to a lack of resources. Postponing or deferring maintenance can make way for more critical tasks. Having too many deferred maintenance tasks, however, can lead to lower asset life and reliability, high maintenance workloads, high maintenance costs, and other negative effects.

Fault Maintenance

This reactive maintenance type involves the identification of the cause of the fault or failure before making the necessary repairs or fixes. These kinds of maintenance tasks are often mislabelled as preventive maintenance. These types of tasks are reactive because, unlike preventive tasks, fault maintenance is not scheduled and allows the fault to happen before taking action.

Planning for Reactive Maintenance

The successful execution of any type of reactive maintenance involves thorough and proper planning. Although you execute these tasks only when problems arise, this strategy still requires proper planning to be beneficial. Reactive maintenance planning involves:

Identifying the assets that need reactive maintenance.

The proper use of reactive maintenance starts with the proper application. Otherwise, you will have negative effects like reduced productivity, high maintenance costs, high asset turnover, high safety risks, and many more. Assets that require reactive maintenance include, but are not limited to, assets that are non-critical, low-cost, and nearing the end of their life.

Allocating the necessary resources for reactive maintenance.

Another critical step to the successful use and implementation of reactive maintenance is having the right resources available when the need arises. Being unprepared for maintenance is a common occurrence where reactive tasks are not done immediately and properly due to missing parts, unavailable tools, or other issues.

Monitoring and assessing reactive maintenance.

This part of planning is necessary for optimum results. When you monitor which assets require the most reactive maintenance, you can plan your tasks and allocate your resources better. You can also assess whether proactive or preventive maintenance is a better approach to minimize reactive maintenance and increase asset reliability and maintenance efficiency. 

Proper Implementation

The main challenge to the proper implementation of reactive maintenance is knowing when and on which asset to use it. The common industry practice is to aim for 20% of maintenance tasks to consist of reactive maintenance. In reality, however, the percentage is higher, with some facilities having reactive tasks closer to one-half or more of their total maintenance. Hence, the steps to proper implementation and use of this maintenance strategy cannot be generalized for all industry applications.

In addition to proper planning as discussed above, below are other ways to improve your implementation of reactive maintenance:

  • Be flexible. Asset performance changes as assets age, and so do their maintenance requirements. Your maintenance program must adapt to these changing requirements.
  • Gather data. Asset and maintenance data provide valuable information on how you implement all types of maintenance. A detailed record of parts replacements, for example, can help you anticipate future replacements or, if cost-effective, consider replacing these parts before they fail.
  • Manage inventory. One of the most common issues that negatively impacts reactive maintenance implementation is inventory management. The parts, tools, and other materials needed for maintenance must be made available at all times but at appropriate levels to prevent overstocking costs.
  • Invest in technology. High-tech tools are available to minimize or improve reactive maintenance. Such tools include asset probes that predict failure, digital monitoring forms, data analytics, work order scheduling and management, etc.

Implement Reactive Maintenance with CMMS

A CMMS (computerized maintenance management system) like Redlist can be the most useful tool to improve reactive maintenance implementation. This CMMS software is an all-in-one platform where you can plan, assign, and record work orders digitally.

With Redlist, records of reactive maintenance tasks and their essential details are accurately stored. These details and other relevant information can be accessed instantly and referenced to improve reactive maintenance and other programs. Redlist also helps monitor and track inventory usage and update levels in real time. It can also be integrated with asset monitoring and predictive tools for fast and seamless asset management.

For more information on Redlist and the many benefits it can provide to your maintenance strategies, schedule your free demo today!

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