According to a survey conducted by Intentia, many companies still question whether preventive maintenance is worth the cost and effort. Nearly 68 percent of the respondents say they allocate less than half of their maintenance budgets for preventive activities that reduce equipment failure and plant shutdown.

The survey investigated maintenance practices within the food and beverage, power, infrastructure and utilities, manufacturing and pharmaceutical sectors. According to the findings, more than 85 percent of the respondents agreed that preventive maintenance increases production and operations capacity, with almost two-thirds reporting that preventive maintenance gives them a competitive advantage.

"These findings suggest disparity between the value of preventive maintenance and the actual commitment of sufficient resources to these needs," said Brian Dunks, enterprise asset management industry solutions director at Intentia. "As a result, many businesses are failing to take advantage of one of the few remaining untapped areas that can directly benefit bottom line performance."

Half of the respondents said they could limit their average annual cost for lost production to $50,000 as a result of plant or equipment failure. Almost seven percent of the companies reported an annual loss of production in excess of $1 million. These losses do not reflect downtime which can include scrap, lost customers, higher unit costs and additional labor and utility overheads.

For many businesses, a planned maintenance strategy is critical to reducing equipment failure and downtime, meeting industry safety requirements and ensuring business continuity and plant availability in order to maximize productivity and profitability.

Many organizations experience challenges to successful maintenance operations. For example, 33 percent of respondents indicated that poor comprehension of maintenance problems by line managers is a key issue. Sixteen percent of respondents indicated lack of funding as a major issue. Poor capital purchasing, management techniques and staff shortages were also contributing factors in getting changes to maintenance practices in place.

For more information about Intentia's 2004 global enterprise asset management benchmarking survey, visit