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November 13th, 2019

What Happens When Things Are Not Maintained?

Maintenance procedures are vitally important for the success of any business. The act of maintenance involves preparing, fixing, replenishing, and modifying anything that is used on a regular and consistent basis.

Maintenance is essential to any business that operates in an environment that owns assets that are susceptible to wear and tear. Assets can include equipment, tools, real estate, structures, inventory, biological agents, databases and more. Almost every business relies on some type of procedure that involves regular maintenance. Without the dedicated and hard-working people who work on maintenance crews, paint will peel, mold will grow, grass will die, and hinges will squeak.

Maintenance can be the simple act of maintaining a residential lawn to the complicated procedures to lubricating the hydraulics of a CNC machine.

Maintenance Costs

Maintenance costs are always a concern, and many variables can affect the ability of an establishment to perform proper maintenance. Recessions, cost of living, and energy costs can effect the ability of a business owner to properly maintain their equipment, property and staff. Resulting in cutbacks in their maintenance budget. Unforeseen events are also a concern, as weather events, wars and health issues can blindside companies and their efforts to conduct regular activities in their maintenance schedule.

In today's world, more business owners, as well as private home owners, are turning to smarter solutions in an attempt to conserve time, energy and resources. For example, heat waves and water shortages have affected U.S. cities in past years, resulting in property owners replacing real grass with fake grass. This results in conserving or most precious resource - water.

Maintenance Cutbacks

Obviously, maintenance cutbacks are better than no maintenance at all. Ultimately, it really depends on the industry. The airline industry can't afford to cutback on their vitally important procedures that keep their planes flying safely through the air. Consequently, the event of budget cutbacks for maintenance staff would directly result in either cutbacks in the number of scheduled flights or risk safety to passengers.

Cutbacks vs. Shutdowns

Managing shutdowns is the key to preventing cutbacks. Effective shutdowns will not consume the savings it is capable of generating, allowing a manufacturing plant to operate normally under it's historic conditions. Because of recent economic and health issues, effective shutdown management has become critical to the operation of most businesses, whether in manufacturing, milling or large workshops. Maintenance shutdowns are usually implemented to reduce costs, and an effective shutdown can reduce costs by 30-50 percent. By Using shutdown management techniques, savings and improvements can be made without sacrificing employee work and production.

Predictions

We can all take a note from Bill Gates who warned us about the possibility of a pandemic. In 2015, Bill Gates warned of the threat of an airborne virus that could catch us off guard and surprise us with great difficulty. "It's coming," he said. In a TED talk, the Microsoft co-founder highlighted Africa's 2014 Ebola virus scare, and said the U.S. and other countries were not prepared for future pandemics that are inevitable.

Before the spread of COVID-19, businesses in the U.S. were enjoying a strong economy and low unemployment. Aside from the next economic bubble, there didn't seem to be any major problems looming on the horizon. But when April of 2020 came around, the level of seriousness began to sink in as the shutdowns and restrictions took place. Since then, COVID has had a tremendous impact on businesses in the U.S., and around the world, especially in the area of maintenance.

Golf Courses

Golf course have been hit hard by the Corona pandemic, as many superintendents are operating with limited staff and facing resource constraints that could get worse over time. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of questions out there about what would happen to a golf course if maintenance was discontinued for various lengths of time. There are more than just a few basic procedures that keep a large plot of land looking presentable and playable. Aside from grass mowing and irrigation, there is also maintenance for sand bunkers, ponds, trees, barriers and security to consider.

The staff at the Green Section put their heads together to answer some of the common questions they we're hearing about..

Alaska Airlines Flight 261

Alaska Airlines Flight 261 was an international passenger flight from Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico, to Seattle Washington that crashed into the Pacific Ocean a few miles north of Anacapa Island, California. The accident killed all 88 on board.

The NTSB concluded that the crash was a result of inadequate maintenance that led to excessive wear of primary components of the flight control system. This caused a loss of airplane pitch control resulting from the horizontal stabilizer trim system jackscrew assembly. The thread failure was caused by excessive wear resulting from insufficient lubrication of the jackscrew assembly.

The investigation then found that scheduled maintenance had failed to adequately lubricate the jackscrew assembly, a procedure that took about four hours. In interviews with the Alaska Airlines mechanic revealed that the SFO mechanic who was responsible for lubricating the jackscrew assembly in September 1999 did not adequately perform the task.

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