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A lot is written about performing maintenance with in-house staff using a computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) system. This is because their is a significant financial advantage to using a CMMS solution as well as a competitive advantage in today’s economy.

In-House Maintenance and Outsourced Maintenance

On the other hand, not all maintenance can be performed by in-house maintenance teams. For some assets, maintenance must be outsourced either because of a lack of skilled in-house staff or because, a lack of resources to support an employee or because the asset requires specialized equipment for proper care.

For example; it doesn’t make much sense to hire a full time elevator mechanic if your facility only has 1-2 elevators and requires sporadic care. Other examples include; outsourcing carpet/mat cleaning, roofing, general contractors and maintenance service for highly specialized assets.

Guidelines for Making In-house or Outsourced Maintenance Decisions

Because it is practically impossible to have the expertise or resources necessary to maintain every asset with in-house maintenance staff, vendor management is a crucial part of maintenance operations. Sometimes the decision is easy and in other situations maintenance management must evaluate the cost versus benefits more closely. The following can be used as rough guidelines for making a decision to outsource maintenance.

In-House Maintenance Considerations

In general, organizations should try to keep maintenance in-house on critical assets when possible. The ability to have proactive maintenance such as preventive maintenance or inspections is essential to asset efficiency and effectiveness.

Five reasons organizations to keep maintenance in-house are listed below.

  • Core business: If the asset is critical to your core business operations maintenance should be kept in-house.
  • Control: Maintenance management will have more control on in-house maintenance and is not subject to vendor availability or reliability problems.
  • Response time: Faster response time to problems is handled through the CMMS versus a telephone call to a vendor. All in-house work (including unplanned work) is scheduled with a CMMS.
  • Standard operating procedures (SOP): This is especially effective if similar assets are spread out over multiple locations. A CMMS system enables maintenance management to establish SOPs for work management.
  • Maintenance planning: Assets maintained in-house can be set up for regular scheduled preventive maintenance, inspections and repairs based upon the historical data collected using a CMMS solution. Better maintenance planning results in lower capital budget requirements, lower labor costs and lower energy bills.

If you are not sure what skill levels you have available in your organization, just have click the button at the bottom to download typical checklists used for inspections and preventive maintenance. If your staff can perform these functions you may not need to outsource some maintenance.

Outsourced Maintenance Considerations

Outsourced maintenance does not mean a total loss of control. Tools for vendor, contract and document management are part of a quality CMMS which is used to schedule vendor work.

  • Non-core business: If asset uptime is non-essential to your organization’s core business functions outsourcing may be a maintenance option.
  • Cleaning: many assets just need to be cleaned on a periodic basis, specialty cleaners exist for carpets, mats, floors, upholstered furniture etc.
  • Specialized assets: This would include assets that require maintenance expertise beyond current staff abilities.
  • Predictive technology: Infrared thermography, ultrasound analysis, vibration analysis and laser shaft alignments for motors can either be performed in-house or with the use of specialized vendors.
  • Ancillary services: This would include, landscaping, payroll, general contractors, resurfacing, security services, software vendors, cleaning services etc.
Vendor and Contract Management

As previously mentioned, managing vendors, contracts and documents can all be done with a CMMS system. The key to successful management is knowing who your vendors are, what are their terms of engagement and what services they offer.

It is also helpful to have a basic understanding and how to find a quality vendor. To help you obtain all your maintenance needs we have put together a PowerPoint presentation of frequently used vendor services, things to consider when hiring them and links to associations that can provide you additional information.