How important is Maintenance?

It’s quite funny. I often find myself trying to explain to others what I do for a living. Well, I say, “I provide asset maintenance software and related services to my customers who deliver maintenance services.” Sounds simple, right? Not really, they rarely get it. Well, have you ever really considered what maintenance means to us? Have you ever considered the fact that almost EVERY man made item on earth needs maintenance? The office building you’re probably reading this article from, requires a great deal of planned maintenance to make it a warm, clean, safe place to work in. It’s all around us, every day.

There’s really no end to the examples one can find related to maintenance and our everyday living and sometimes our health. The air we breathe, the roads we travel on, the schools we send our children to, are all dependent on good sound maintenance practices. Try driving to work and finding all the infrastructure on the way that requires maintenance.

 

To list some:

 

  • The car you drive
  • The road use drive on
  • The signal lights at the corner
  • The street lights on a dark day
  • The bridge to cross the river
  • The train track crossing
  • The street drains

The list is endless and the maintenance practice on these items is critical to your ability to move about and get on with life as we know it. 

One of the biggest challenges I see in the future will be maintaining government assets. As we grow as a society, we demand more government assets and infrastructure to satisfy the public’s requirements. More roads, more bridges, more buildings. Our politicians are constantly building new projects and having ribbon cutting ceremonies. There’s all sorts of kudos for politicians when they unveil new public infrastructure. How often have you seen a Politician hand out an award or have a ribbon cutting ceremony for maintaining the assets? It’s rare.

As our society becomes more dependent on computers and robotics, the maintenance of those items will become more critical to keeping our community running. When people are replaced with robots, we won’t be able to “replace” a sick person at work with another person, we will have to fix and maintain the robot that does the person’s job. This all means more dependence on maintenance people, to perform preventive maintenance – in an attempt to avoid failure and more corrective maintenance – when failures occur.

So in conclusion, I think it’s safe to say, that there will be maintenance jobs available far into the future. I think it’s also true that, as maintenance professionals, we should continue to improve our maintenance practices and find new and innovative ways to deliver it. So the next time someone asks you what maintenance is, what will you tell them?