Deferred maintenance can be described as postponing maintenance activities such as repairs on both real property and personal property in order to save costs, meet budget funding levels, or realign available budget monies.

Facility managers try to be the facilitator between the facility owner and engineer as to what needs to be repaired, what money needs to be allocated towards what assets, and how facility managers can monitor these repairs while still keeping costs low. Unfortunately, the process doesn’t always move so smoothly and issues arise.

Let’s take a look at the most common issues with deferred maintenance in facilities management.

Top 5 Challenges in Deferred Maintenance

There are several obstacles that can arise when it comes to deferred maintenance, but the following are some of the common hurdles facility managers and engineers experience.

  1. Lack of expertise – A knowledge gap can appear in new hires during on-boarding without proper documentation and also lack of training for veterans learning new technology and how to report asset issues.
  2. Lack of understanding of cost – Lack of knowledge on where current funds are going or what they need to go to starting from engineers to the facility managers up to the facility owner.
  3. Lack of communication – A lack of communication can result in a lack of understanding starting from the facility owner to the engineer on what needs to be completed.
  4. Overall lack of available funds – Funds aren’t available for older assets so they get put to the waste side and dealt with in a reactive instance.
  5. Funds are available but diverted to another use – Funds are set aside by facility owners however dispersed to other departments without considering maintenance mishaps and fixes needed.

These issues are common in facilities where again communication is not a priority from the top down and from the bottom up. If a facility owner is not aware of an issue engineers are experiencing then the issue will remain unsolved, unattended, and eventually cause a bigger asset malfunction. There is also the chance the issues have gotten to the top level and it gets pushed to a low priority based on its severity at the given time.

Also, if engineers are documenting work orders and work requests on a paper-based system this could also slow up the process on how fast this information is reaching the decision makers. The information could get lost on someone’s desk, be communicated improperly as opposed to an EAM CMMS system on a mobile device. An EAM CMMS can immediately send data to a facility manager and have an accurate record of the asset information and potential malfunctions.

Closing the Gap

When figuring out a solution to a problem, closing the gap is a good place to start. When hiring new employees, closing the knowledge gap is the best place to start to get the team ramped up and ready to go and provide accurate training. When it comes to planning and asset management, closing the communication gap can be the difference in getting something funded and fixed versus getting put to the waste side.

Here are the top solutions to getting deferred maintenance to the top of the priority list.

  1. Maximize efficiency through technology and communication
  2. Achieve effectiveness through data management and cost management
  3. Strem-line your organization
  4. Qualified management
  5. The use of outsourcing

These simple yet effective tools can be used to stream-line the process of how engineers communicate with their facility managers and how engineers record work orders and work requests. Advancements in technology allow engineers to accurately document asset issues and possible solutions, but also allows engineers to communicate quicker and more efficiently.

An EAM CMMS can also benefit data and cost management by keeping track of asset cost, management, life-span predictions, yearly cost to date, and monthly repair costs. This way facility owners can see where their money is being spent, saved, and where it can be shared.