ENTOUCH Smart Building Solutions

What Is Deferred Maintenance & Why Should Facilities Managers Care?

Deferred maintenance is a communal problem for all Facilities Managers. Waiting to complete a repair might seem like an easy decision for those with budget restrictions and decaying facilities. However, deferred maintenance can do much more damage to your department, inflating costs, time delays, and risks to your business. Facilities Managers facing deferred maintenance issues should consider these key problems.

Deferred Maintenance Only Postpones Inevitable Maintenance Activities and Costs

Deferred maintenance might seem like a clever idea in facilities management for keeping costs down, but it only delays inevitable maintenance costs and delays. If the piece of equipment breaks, it will need to be replaced, and other systems can only compensate for asset failure for a limited time. For instance, a malfunctioning HVAC system will result in a greater workload placed on other HVAC units. As time progresses, the workload on other systems becomes unbearable, and other HVAC units may malfunction as well.

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It May Lead to Increased Risk

Depending on the specific maintenance need in question, deferred maintenance does increase risk to your business. As noted above, deferred maintenance increases the likelihood of like-asset failures, resulting from overloaded systems. Other assets, such as electrical systems, could have a more disastrous outlook, resulting in increased risk of fire, injury to employees or customers, and tarnishing the value of your brand.

Deferred Maintenance Decreases Brand Image and Value

Deferred maintenance needs may also affect items that are not necessarily going to cause immediate harm to people in your facility, but their impact on your brand’s image and value can be irreparable. Unclean facilities, out-of-service toilets, and other seemingly minor issues can diminish the customer experience, and customers will be less likely to return to your business for products or services. As a result, overall brand value decreases, and some consumers may even share their displeasure via social media. If this occurs, the damage to your brand may spiral exponentially, resulting in significant losses for the business.

Any Cases of Deferred Maintenance Must Be Prioritized

Deferred maintenance is not always avoidable. If a Facility Manager reaches a maintenance or budget threshold for a given month, it may be necessary to defer low-priority needs to the next tracking period, such as the next month. However, the ability to defer maintenance needs must involve a prioritization schedule, ensuring maintenance needs do not go overlooked and unaddressed. Furthermore, any cases of deferred maintenance based on prioritization must not increase the risk to the business unnecessarily. If deferring a maintenance need would increase fire risk or risk to consumers or employees, it is acceptable to address the need, provided it falls within the remaining available budget. Therefore, QSI Facilities has an 85-percent facility spend threshold for all maintenance activities within a given month.

Modern Systems Make It Easier to Plan for and Manage Maintenance Needs

Modern systems are intuitive, and they can help identify potential failures before they cause a disruption to your operation. This makes it much easier to plan and allocate resources to address maintenance needs, reducing the amount of deferred maintenance in the first place. In addition, modern systems can self-optimize, allowing for short-term remedy of potential problems to avoid disruption to customer experiences as well.

Maintenance Metrics Reduce the Deferred Maintenance Backlog

Prioritization of maintenance needs demands performance measurement of facility assets, also known as maintenance metrics. Maintenance metrics give Facilities Managers a quick review of overall maintenance needs, facilities spend, and instances of deferred maintenance. Depending on the amount of deferred maintenance in your facility, the so-called maintenance backlog, maintenance metrics help Facilities Managers curb the amount of deferred maintenance by gradually addressing deferred items when within existing budget. As a result, the deferred maintenance backlog gradually shrinks over time.

Reduce Deferred Maintenance in Your Organization Now

Deferred maintenance is nothing more than a money pit and time-suck in any facilities management department. It will cost more. It will take longer to fix, and it will increase the risk of catastrophe. Stop throwing money away with deferred maintenance, and implement a strong, strategic, and robust facilities management program.