Are Planned Maintenance Programs Worth the Upfront Cost?

When it comes to maintenance, many warehouses choose to do their own on a regularly scheduled basis.

They plan on taking care of their docks, doors, forklifts, loading dock ramps, and other equipment themselves. But, the reality is that even those warehouse managers with the best of intentions will end up skipping some maintenance.

It’s not because they don’t want to do it—usually it’s some other factor such as the amount of work that has to be done at the time or the budget. Sometimes, of course, it’s simply because the maintenance didn’t get put on the schedule and was forgotten.

A Planned Maintenance Program

One way of avoiding this and making sure that all maintenance is done according to schedule is to pay for a planned maintenance program.

This type of program involves hiring an outside maintenance provider to come into your warehouse on a regular basis and perform maintenance on equipment, the facility itself, and any other warehouse-related maintenance that is required. Most third-party companies offer different levels of maintenance so you can customize the plan to your budget and needs. For example, some warehouses hire these companies to do annual maintenance, while others have them come out several times a year to do maintenance on everything.

Some warehouse managers take a look at the cost of these planned maintenance programs and immediately say that hiring a company to perform maintenance is incredibly expensive and not worth the upfront cost at all.

However, these warehouses are likely spending that amount of money or more in doing their own maintenance and in replacing or repairing equipment and items that break due to not being maintained. Many warehouse managers add up the money they spend doing their own maintenance and for replacing tools only to discover they’re spending much more than they would on a planned maintenance program.

Getting with the Program

A study done on warehouses that use planned maintenance programs revealed more than just a savings of money. One study was done on a Fortune 500 company located in Minnesota. The company had 32 different loading docks at their facilities. Most of the equipment being used was at least 15 years old, and much of it was in very good to outstanding condition.

An analysis of the company’s expenses showed that besides the upfront cost paid to the maintenance company every year, very little was spent on maintenance. In fact, the second largest cost following the maintenance company fee was on weather sealing, which is a standard cost because no amount of maintenance can stop weather seals from routinely wearing out. The company didn’t even have to replace many common items like rollers or leveler springs.

Overall, the company had been previously spending as much as four times the money on maintenance than they were on the cost of a twice a year planned maintenance program that achieved better results.

Is a Planned Program Worth the Investment?

The short answer is yes. A large number of companies that already use planned maintenance programs say yes, it absolutely is. These programs provide a great amount of maintenance at what is actually a much lower cost.

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