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Industry urged to resume preventative maintenance ahead of breakdown backlog

With the early impact of the pandemic restricting most of industry’s maintenance activities in 2020, leading engineering company, Alfa Laval warns of a potential breakdown backlog if routine repairs and servicing are not prioritised. 

The pandemic has left many businesses with dwindling budgets, so cutbacks are inevitable, and the first solution reached by some is to reduce equipment maintenance spending. Alfa Laval, operators of one of the largest industrial servicing facilities in the UK, warns that this is a more expensive route than companies may first realise and explains how they have overcome the challenges posed by Covid-19.

“Businesses might think they’re making the best decision by saving money on maintenance,” says John Smith, Service Operations Divisional Manager UK & Ireland at Alfa Laval, “but time and time again, we have seen what can happen when companies don’t implement a serious preventative maintenance strategy. Keeping your machinery in good condition costs a lot less than unplanned downtime or replacing broken equipment.”

The idea of preventative maintenance is not a new one, but has been gaining momentum as of late. Until lockdown was imposed the servicing industry was growing and more businesses were taking their equipment maintenance seriously. However, with Covid-19 restrictions in place, it became more difficult for companies to plan for their servicing and maintenance.

Alfa Laval, like many businesses, has had to modify its operations to function efficiently within the new parameters that Covid-19 has forced upon the world. To combat these challenges, the business has shifted its focus to increasing the efficiency of its service centre in Camberley while things return to normal.

John explains: “We’ve had to adapt our workflow to guarantee clients a quick turnaround while ensuring our customers and staff remain safe. We have upgraded some of our machinery to improve our quality and efficiency, and replaced all of our light fittings with energy-efficient LED bulbs.”

It is still uncertain how long restrictions will last and for how long companies will be feeling the effects of the pandemic, so future-proofing business operations will aid in being more resilient to whatever comes next. It is harder than ever for businesses to remain productive, so great care must be taken to maximise productivity while having contingency plans in place. 

John concludes: “Businesses must adapt to remain competitive in these harsh times, but cutting preventative maintenance out of the equation is just asking for trouble as it is one of the best ways to safeguard against problems that occur down the road. We’d be happy to talk to anyone concerned about the potential breakdown backlog.”

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