Maintenance is part of our daily life: example of coronavirus

As you know, the world today is going through an unprecedented crisis with the coronavirus. Without wanting to repeat what the media keeps telling us all day long, I think it’s important to be proactive in this situation and to realise that we have things to learn. Among other things, the fact that the Maintenance of the human body is no different from that of equipment with consequences that can be just as dramatic.  

The real problem with the coronavirus is not so much the consequences of the coronavirus, although it is unfortunate that people die from it, but more importantly how it spreads and by what means.   

Indeed, the main reason for the spread of the coronavirus is the lack of hygiene in the population. One might think that nowadays, in our modern, civilised societies, hygiene has become part of everyday life and is therefore one of the basic reflexes that everyone has within them. Unfortunately, this is not the case.   

China was the best example of this, as well as other so-called civilized countries such as Italy and, even closer to us, France.  


Prevention vs. propagation  

All the specialists say that the best way to stop the coronavirus is prevention through hygiene, which consists of washing your hands regularly to protect yourself and others. If everyone follows this basic rule, the risk of coronavirus transmission will decrease and the spread of the virus will decrease. The proactivity of everyone is necessary, it comes down to very simple gestures of hygiene that we are supposed to control. It is therefore our responsibility to respect and apply these rules in order to set an example.  

Well know that in Maintenance it is the same. 

Simple rules exist and help prevent disasters that can be just as deadly, if not more so, than coronavirus, such as the explosion of the Bhopal factory in India.  

Indeed, if equipment is used without ever paying attention to it even by regular cleaning, a visual check or, in the case of a car, a simple oil change to replace the used oil, this equipment and this car may deteriorate prematurely until it is put out of service completely, certainly leading to other undesirable and uncontrolled consequences.  

Just as medical progress is useless without good hygiene, technological and industrial progress is also useless if we do not take care of our Production tools.  


The importance of balance  

An indispensable balance must be respected. This is the P/PC balance between Product (P) and Production Capacity (PC) – Stephen Covey. For this balance to be achieved, equal attention must be paid to both the Product and the Production Capacity. If one focuses only on the Product, ensuring that the quality of the Product is impeccable and that customers are satisfied, one risks neglecting Production Capacity, the tool that makes these Products possible. Without careful Maintenance, this tool risks deteriorating prematurely, resulting in lost Production and high costs.   

Even if in the short term the non-Maintenance leads to a reduction in costs, it is in the medium and long term that the consequences will be felt with certainly a cascade effect, one breakdown leading to another.  

Conversely, if all the attention is focused on the Production Capacity, i.e. the tool, by setting up Maintenance activities that are too time-consuming and sometimes superfluous, the effect will be a lack of productivity due to the immobilisation of the tool to carry out these Maintenance activities.  

This drop in productivity will of course lead to a reduction in the number of Products manufactured, and therefore to a financial loss resulting from the reduction in sales, in addition to the additional costs due to over-Maintenance.  

The right balance therefore consists of finding the appropriate ratio between the efforts made on the Product and the efforts made on the Production Capacity. Maintenance is thus one of the major factors in achieving this balance.  

However, I would like to add a third component to this balance, which I think is indispensable and unavoidable today, and that is the Environmental component. This component, once integrated, makes it possible to avoid waste, limit pollution and thus contribute to the respect of our Planet.   


When urgency causes awareness  

The global situation generated by the coronavirus and the consequences of it are there to make humanity aware that things have to change, and this goes through our way of consuming, our way of trading within our borders or even with other countries, it also concerns our ways of producing and what we produce.  

As far as Maintenance is concerned, it is the state of our Planet that must prompt us to change our vision of Maintenance, our ways of producing. Humanity must initiate a Paradigm shift in order to return to values that are closer to the Environment and to the well-being of our Planet in order to respect it, but also to return to values that are closer to human beings, because in all the problems generated, whether by the coronavirus or Production losses, humans are at the centre of everything, they are the key.   


Growth is not eternal and remains limited to the Resources that our Planet makes available to us. Growth is not an end in itself, especially as it only results in the depletion of Resources.  


Published by David Rizet-Blancher

Expert in Maintenance, Reliability and CMMS