I know of manufacturers who have paid six figure sums for emergency maintenance and had specific parts delivered cross-country in a taxi, just because the consequences of downtime on their production line can be millions of pounds per hour to them. In fact across many industries unplanned downtime can often be up to six times more expensive than planned maintenance and also ensures that valuable time and resources are wasted during repair.
Maintenance is a key part of any business, no matter how big or small. In this modern competitive world it is more vital than ever to maximise the useful lifetime of any given asset and to ensure that cost is kept to a minimum. In short, effective maintenance has the ability to increase profit and reduce downtime.
Just think of the cost when you call an emergency plumber if you have a leak in your bathroom at home, it’s very much the same concept. The shorter the notice and the higher the urgency, the more you will have to pay. Add in to that equation that these things rarely happen at a convenient time, planning and prevention are certainly the way forward.
That is why it is so important to implement a planned maintenance programme in industry, to take place when all of the required resources are readily available and at a time that will cause the least disruption to operations and customers. This then allows key decisions to also be made in advance, such as whether it should be carried out by an internal maintenance team or out-sourced to contractors. You can also factor in the time, budget, equipment and expertise required for each job. Those luxuries are not afforded when something goes unexpectedly wrong.
The bottom line is that well planned maintenance allows for increased production through the reduction of wasteful or unnecessary downtime and reduces costs through higher productivity. Cost reductions can also be achieved via improved efficiency and upgrades to your assets.
Often the best guidance for regular maintenance timings and requirements comes from the manufacturer’s own recommendations, and whilst in an ideal world they would be consulted or even assist with each organisation’s maintenance plan, in real life that is rarely possible or cost effective.
It is for this reason that the recently partnership between RS Components and Schneider Electric drew my interest, as it could signal the ability to enable just that scenario for organisations across the UK. They have recently launched an off the shelf ‘Service in a Box’ package, which is designed to complement the planned maintenance programme of any company, no matter how big or small for a fixed price.
Basically, for a cost of £1,375 any company can access two key tools for a 12 month period.
The first is a dedicated 24/7 telephone technical support line, which is available 365 days per year. In other words you would have a direct telephone number to speak with an application based product expert from the manufacturer at any time of the day or night. This even comes with a guarantee that you will receive fast and efficient service during the busiest call periods.
However, in truth it was the second part that really caught my attention. Included in the ‘Service in a Box’ is one full engineer day on your plant or site for a Schneider Electric engineer. That is eight hours with the manufacturer’s own engineer on site. What’s more, there is a choice of services that they are able to carry out during the visit, providing it is previously agreed in a scope of work and fits within the allotted time.
Maybe you have recently ordered Schneider Electric products from RS Components, but need them installed or commissioned? The Schneider engineer could complete this for a number of automation applications, including panels, motors or PLC-based applications.
Alternatively they can compile a complete Health Check of your Schneider application covering product and system visual inspection, diagnostics and interrogation. Once complete they will then send a thorough Health Check report outlining findings, advising on obsolescence, optional upgrade paths and any possible cautions or warnings to help reduce downtime. After receiving this report, you can then organise a free of charge follow up visit from an RS Account Manager to discuss any ongoing requirements if necessary.
Or maybe your business would benefit more from training for your maintenance employees? Again this could be utilized as part of the one engineer day.
It certainly seems like it could be a great asset for companies big and small who have Schneider products installed.